There is an issue in the mid-section of the 59th Assembly District, through the Eden and Mt. Calvary area, that has been causing consternation for many constituents over the past few weeks. The topic relates to wind energy and my philosophy regarding government subsidies. This must be addressed.
Last fall, while I was still running for office, I made it perfectly clear that I believe in the free market, devoid of government intervention. This included minimum wage and energy subsidies. My personal belief is that we all suffer when the government sticks its nose where it does not belong by falsely manipulating the marketplace.
Do I appreciate windmills dotting the skyline? You can most assuredly ask my family when we roll into the Town of Marshfield or down Highway 33 in Dodge County that the answer is a resounding “no.”
That being said, if the market supports them as a viable source of energy, then by all means, let’s consider using them. I have no problem with private energy companies working closely with energy consumers to erect windmills, bio-digesters or solar panels on their land – but that must not be at the expense of the taxpayers or at any risk to the utility’s neighbors.
Unfortunately, this is not what has been occurring. In 2013, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA), government subsidies per megawatt hour for coal and natural gas were well under $1.00; nuclear was $2.10, wind $35.33 and solar a whopping $231.22! It is no wonder that politicians have sold out their constituents when they have a personal and financial conflict of interest regarding renewable energy.
This may be hard to believe, but because of the federal crackdown on coal, rather than improving and upgrading existing coal plants, Wisconsin power companies have been shuttering them so that we can purchase more renewables from other states and Canada. What is even more disconcerting is that the generators used in those power plants are being dismantled and shipped to China so that they can install them in their own, less ecologically friendly power plants. This will allow China to produce cheaper energy than Wisconsin and the rest of the U.S. so that they can slash costs and compete directly with Wisconsin manufacturers and hard-working Wisconsin laborers. If President Obama’s philosophy is to level the playing field worldwide, then he is doing one outstanding job of dismantling the nation piece by piece.
In summary, I believe wholeheartedly that if the energy source cannot stand on its own and if it is not an efficient and economical source of power, then we should not be using it. At the same time, we should not let Washington dictate the types of energy that we as a state are required to utilize in our homes and places of employment.