WEC Energy Group is proposing to charge customers $370 million plus interest, totaling more than $460 million, to build storage tanks, (known as liquified natural gas or LNG storage tanks) to store extra fossil gas in Ixonia (Jefferson County) and Bluff Creek (Walworth County), Wisconsin.
Why does WEC want to spend $460 million of their customers’ money? In case it gets too cold ten days a year and they need extra gas. Their proposal assumes increasing use of fossil gas, year over year, infinitely and they want more storage to ensure they never run out.
Sierra Club submitted expert analysis showing that WEC’s assumptions contradict what science tells us is needed to avoid the worst climate disasters and what Governor Evers and President Biden have committed us to. Governor Evers and President Biden have made commitments to reduce carbon emissions, in accordance with the Paris Accord. Moreover, Governor’s Task Force On Climate Change Report listed ‘Avoid new fossil fuel infrastructure' as a necessary tool to avoiding a climate catastrophe. WEC’s proposal is a direct contradiction to the Climate Task Force recommendations and Governor Evers’ and President Biden’s commitments.
Instead of building these worrisome tanks, we’ve found there are much cheaper, cleaner, and better alternatives to building these storage tanks. An energy efficiency program could eliminate the need for this additional fossil fuel infrastructure, provide a more cost-effective solution, and benefit our climate as well as the people who experience high energy costs.
Sierra Club’s analysis also showed that a combination of energy efficiency (making homes more efficient and less costly to heat) and demand response (rates that reward large customers for reducing usage during cold days) would avoid the need for the storage facility and lower cost to ratepayers. (Read our press release here)
Not only is this more cost-effective than more fossil fuel infrastructure, but it also is better for the climate and for people. If targeted appropriately, this could also help reduce the high energy burdensome are experiencing.
A recent report released by Sierra Club and our partners found that majority Black and Latinx neighborhoods in redlined areas of Milwaukee face extremely high energy burden, with between 7% and 10% of income going to energy bills. Energy efficiency programs can help address these issues while reducing the amount of energy production needed.
We know that Wisconsin needs to move off of fossil fuels, reduce carbon pollution, and address the high energy burden disparities in Milwaukee and other cities.