Energy companies receptive to carbon-free executive order

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(WKOW) — Both Madison Gas and Electric and Alliant Energy say they support Governor Evers’ executive order setting a carbon-free electricity goal for 2050.

Annemarie Newman with Alliant Energy says the company is encouraged by the order. Alliant had previously set a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

“The question now is, how can we do more sooner?” she said.

With the announcement happening so recently, those details are still being hammered out.

Madison Gas and Electric already had a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

They, too, welcomed the executive order, saying in a statement to 27 News,

We share the vision of a cleaner energy future and look forward to working with the Governor and state regulators to advance strategies to achieve MGE’s goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.

While lawmakers and energy companies have the environment in mind, there’s still the question of the cost.

“There is a cost to going carbon-free,” Newman said. “There’s also a cost to doing nothing because the cost of coal is continuing to rise.”

Newman says there’s an upfront cost to wind turbines and solar panels, but after that, the wind and the sun are free.

“Those are tending to come in very cost effectively, and they’re starting to beat out some of our traditional fuels that used to be the cheapest fuels we had,” she said.

So what does it mean for your bill? Energy companies say it’s hard to tell right now, and the 100 percent carbon-free goal is still 30 years away.

Eventually, it will come down to a decision between rising coal prices and investment in renewable infrastructure — the cost likely going up at least a little bit either way.

Andrew Merica

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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