Wisconsin Public Radio

Conservatives Discover Renewable Energy

Republican-leaning groups who like solar and wind power, who knew?

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jun 20th, 2018 08:46 pm
Wind turbines.

Wind turbines.

More Republicans in Wisconsin say they’re getting excited about renewable energy.

While Democrats have traditionally led the fight for harvesting electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar, a few Republicans say they’re coming on board to the idea.

State Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, told attendees of the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer during the weekend that he looks at solar and wind installation companies as job creators.

“I see this as a big opportunity not only for the state, but for rural economic development. As this technology becomes more affordable, we’re gonna have the ability to become less dependent on foreign oil and other fossil fuels. So, I’m excited,” Testin said.

Joining Testin at the fair were representatives from two recently-formed groups in the state, the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum and the Conservative Energy Network.

Tyler Huebner, of the longtime, pro-renewables group RENEW Wisconsin, said that he hopes the potential GOP allies can help remove economic barriers faced by some customers to wind and solar. He also said he hopes Republicans can help electric utilities retire more coal-fired power plants without socking it to ratepayers.

“If indeed the wind and the solar are cost competitive, then we don’t want the change out of the fleet to make customers have to pay more, ” Huebner said.

He said his group is looking at how other states are helping utilities deal with so-called “stranded assets,” which are past investments no longer able to turn a profit.

Listen to the discussion here.

GOP Lawmaker, Conservative Groups Express Interesting In Renewable Energy Businesses was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

5 thoughts on “Conservatives Discover Renewable Energy”

  1. snowbeer says:

    This is not unheard of for the GOP but represents a turn from the hyper partisan non data/science based Wisconsin GOP.

    One of Walker’s early accomplishments was changing wind turbine siting laws to make it extremely difficult to put any more up in the state.

    His appointments to the public service commission have made it less and less economical for a business or homeowner to invest in solar due to dual metering and other problems.

  2. Jim says:


    Democrats like jobs, prosperity, and low taxes. Who knew?

    This comment brought to you by the Foundation for Backhanded Compliments.


  3. Mini Me says:

    Stranded assets? Let shareholders and corporate management eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  4. DK says:

    So now the Koch brothers are allowing their Republican minions to get on board with what the rest of us have known for decades is good policy? Glory be.

  5. Bill Heller says:

    Forbes: If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/
    “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s
    the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
    Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, May 6, 2014

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