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We Energies’ executives are afraid of the future, just not the same future that concerns most Americans — a world with more forest fires and more intense heat, drought and flooding. Instead, they fear a future that offers at least part of the solution to that world of weather extremes, a world where households and businesses produce energy on their own rooftops in a way that, unlike the burning of coal, emits no pollutants — no asthma-causing ozone and particulates, no climate changing greenhouse gas.

This world of distributed, clean energy poses a threat to We Energies’ monopoly power and profit and promises to create a more democratic way to produce electricity.

Shortly after their request to release more mercury into Lake Michigan, We Energies executives are asking Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission, for a second time, to impose what amounts to a solar tax as a way to kill the competition posed by a quickly growing solar industry. In addition, We Energies seeks to raise fixed rates, a move that reduces incentives for both energy efficiency and ownership of solar electric panels.

The temperatures and the seas are rising. We need to deploy renewable energy as quickly and widely as possible and to use a variety of strategies to do so, including widespread residential and commercial solar installations. We need a utility that can more quickly adapt to new possibilities and technologies and use its great resources to promote rather than obstruct the many forms of a clean energy transition.

Tom Rutkowski

Southeast Gateway Sierra Club

Racine

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