By S. Janet Weyker
The burning of fossil fuel is a leading contributor to climate change and poor air quality. Last week’s announcement that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord was good news for the environment. However, a report just released by the Sierra Club noted that 75% of the U.S.’s most coal-dependent utilities plan to keep their fossil fuel-powered plants running for another decade. That is a threat to the environment and a hindrance to the new administration’s goal to decarbonize the power sector by 2035.
It is true that We Energies is investing in more solar and wind power, but their rate of investment is too low, making the transition to renewable energy, not fast enough. The Sierra Club’s recent findings show that utilities’ renewable efforts are less than one-fifth of the current coal and gas production.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. power utilities account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, second behind the transportation sector. If we are to meet the Paris Climate Accord goals and prevent further environments damage, we need to press We Energies to increase its renewable energy production and close the entire Oak Creek facility by 2030. Retraining for new jobs in the renewable energy field needs to be a part of that transition plan.