September 4, 2018 Read More →

Editorial: Alliant’s forward-looking coal phase-out plan is commendable

Wisconsin State Journal:

One of Wisconsin’s largest utilities has set a date for giving up coal.

Congratulations to Alliant Energy for helping to lead our state and nation into a clean-energy future, despite a president who would rather ignore science and steer America’s power supply backward.

Alliant, a Madison utility company serving customers in parts of Wisconsin and Iowa, announced plans this month to stop burning coal for electricity generation by 2050. That’s more than three decades from now, and some environmentalists complain the timeline isn’t fast enough. But setting a date for giving up this dirty fuel that is filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses and warming the planet definitely represents progress.

Alliant also has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and to double its use of renewable energy sources by 2030. Alliant now fuels 33 percent of its power supply with coal. That will fall to 23 percent by 2024, and disappear by 2050, according to the utility. Alliant plans to supplant coal mostly with solar power — the cost of which has fallen by 70 percent in recent years. By 2030, Alliant plans to increase its use of renewable energy sources from 16 percent to 33 percent.

Like Trump, Gov. Scott Walker has done little to position Wisconsin for a clean-energy future. Instead, these Republican leaders have ceded leadership — along with the economic benefits that come from innovation — to other states and countries, including China.

The good news is that the private sector and the public is ahead of the politicians on this issue. And increasingly, those leaders who resist a smarter and more efficient power system will pay a price at the polls, especially with younger voters.

More: No-coal goal is impressive, imperative

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