The state’s manufacturing resources could be key to creating new clean energy jobs, according to Wisconsin Environmental Initiative Director John Imes.


Speaking yesterday at a Wisconsin Technology Council event in Madison, Imes said Wisconsin has fallen “a little behind” on developing clean energy industries.


“This is a competitive issue,” he said. “We were always a low-cost island in terms of our energy costs; we’re kind of a high-cost island now.”


He chalked up that difference to other Midwest states pursuing renewable energy sources more aggressively.


Still, even in Wisconsin, optimism surrounding solar in particular is at an all-time high according to Scott Coenen, executive director of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum.


As head of a lobbying group that largely appeals to Republicans, Coenen says he often speaks to groups that are downright hostile to renewable energy. In those discussions, he highlights the “incredible cost decline” for solar and wind energy seen in the past decade.


“The market moving in this direction is really tremendous,” Coenen said yesterday. “The plummet of the solar industry’s cost is almost unprecedented.”


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