Taking the lead on clean energy

Wisconsin relies almost entirely on fossil fuels, particularly coal, for its electricity. Since it has no reserves of fossil fuels, each year Wisconsin imports millions of dollars of coal and other fossil fuels. (1)

Reduced corn harvests, unprecedented flooding, disrupted wildlife migration, toxic algae blooms in our lakes, degradation of water quality in the Great Lakes, even increased mosquito hatches – climate change is already having serious detrimental effects in Wisconsin. (2)


Meanwhile, many of our Midwestern neighbors have invested in clean energy. Wisconsin ranks behind states like Kansas, Nebraska, and South and North Dakota in the creation of renewable energy jobs. (3)

In the last several years, local communities have proven they can lead the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. From Madison and Dane County to Eau Claire and Green Bay, local elected bodies are making strong commitments that can result in real change. Rather than waiting for state or federal leaders to do something, real change can happen at the local level – right now. Some recent examples include:

  • The Eau Claire City Council pledged to work toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
  • The Green Bay City Council recently approved a sustainability commission that will work to find local clean energy solutions.
  • Dane County has invested heavily in clean energy programs like methane capture from its landfill to run its snowplow fleet and solar panels to save millions on energy costs.
  • The City of La Crosse has made energy efficiency a priority, taking such steps as installing sensors on lights in city buildings and converting to new technologies like LED light bulbs and fuel-efficient city vehicles. (4)
  • The City of Madison became the first city in Wisconsin to commit to a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and also to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero across all municipal sectors including electricity, heating, and transportation.

View or download a fact sheet about local efforts on clean energy here.

The consensus from the global scientific community is clear, we need to transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources. While Gov. Evers has pledged to have our state powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, the transition to a clean energy future will require local efforts.

As a candidate for local office, Wisconsin's conservation voters are looking to you to lead the way. We are asking local candidates and officials, like you, to commit to being a clean energy champion. You can show your commitment to a clean energy future by taking the clean energy pledge. With this pledge, we can begin the work of building a clean energy future together.

Local municipalities and counties have opportunities to make significant contributions to reduce carbon emissions. Dane County is a leader in renewable energy.


Candidate for office? Sign the pledge to commit to clean energy.

As a candidate for local office you can help steer Wisconsin to a 100 percent clean energy future. Will you commit to making your community reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050?


“Protecting our waters, lands, and citizens requires that decision-making be informed by science. Period.”

scientist. dad. voter.

Jake Vander Zanden, Madison


With more than 90 percent of Wisconsin’s energy coming from dirty coal power plants or dangerous and expensive nuclear plants, it was high time to make a commitment to clean energy. On March 17th, 2006, Gov. Doyle signed Senate Bill 459 into law. The bill required Wisconsin to produce 10 percent of energy generated in Wisconsin from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar. In addition, it protects the Focus on Energy Fund, which promotes energy conservation and efficiency and explores renewable energy technologies. During the months leading up to the vote, thousands of voters called or wrote their legislators, submitted letters to their local newspapers, and signed statements of support for clean energy. In addition, 250 citizens representing 100 organizations converged on the Capitol for Conservation Lobby Day to call for passage of a strong clean energy bill.


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