U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    -31.16 (-0.72%)
  • Dow 30

    -171.69 (-0.50%)
  • Nasdaq

    -164.43 (-1.25%)
  • Russell 2000

    -33.22 (-1.64%)
  • Crude Oil

    +0.76 (+0.88%)
  • Gold

    -13.40 (-0.75%)
  • Silver

    -0.35 (-1.74%)

    +0.0009 (+0.09%)
  • 10-Yr Bond

    +0.0690 (+2.44%)

    -0.0044 (-0.36%)

    +0.8430 (+0.63%)

    -610.21 (-2.55%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    -15.58 (-2.72%)
  • FTSE 100

    -20.31 (-0.27%)
  • Nikkei 225

    +353.86 (+1.23%)

Wisconsin manufacturers say they are concerned about energy shortages, rolling blackouts but 'not hitting the panic button'

·2 min read

The state's largest business lobbying group says the possibility of rolling electricity blackouts is causing alarm among Wisconsin's manufacturers.

Scott Manley, vice president of government relations for business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said his organization has been asked repeatedly by members how potential energy shortages could interfere with business.

More: Hotter weather, growing demand could mean rolling blackouts across the Midwest this summer, according to reports

Earlier this month, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator also known as MISO, which oversees the electricity grid across Wisconsin and all or part of 14 other states and the Canadian province of Manitoba, released a study forecasting the area it covers could see electricity shortages in summer 2023.

That report came on the heels of another report that warned of potential rolling blackouts this summer

Based on this, as well as global supply chain and economic challenges, We Energies and Alliant Energy have postponed closing coal plants in Oak Creek, Sheboygan and Portage by 12 to 18 months.

WMC held a webinar Tuesday, that featured state Public Service Commission member Ellen Nowak regarding the situation. Nowak was appointed to the PSC in 2011 by former Gov. Scott Walker.

Nowak, the only Republican on the PSC, said recent energy reports are a reality check about how the grid actually works. But she downplayed the risks.

"I'm not hitting the panic button, but it is a wake-up call, perhaps what the political rhetoric would like to be and where the reality really does lie," Nowak said.

Nowak said there would have to be many variables to happen for the rolling blackouts to hit Wisconsin.

The MISO region is projected to have 43% renewable energy by 2040.

Wisconsin's electric provider capacity by resource, as of December 2020. 
Source: Wisconsin Public Service Commission
Wisconsin's electric provider capacity by resource, as of December 2020. Source: Wisconsin Public Service Commission

Nowak said no one wants to abandon renewables, but "political rhetoric and platitudes" don't match up with how the energy grid works.

"Now is a good time to think not just about plan A, but also plan B and C," Nowak said. "This is not just planning now and the future, it's walking with 70,000 flaming, burning, spinning plates and trying to keep them in the air all at the same time and hoping none of them fall."

In April, Gov. Tony Evers released his Clean Energy Proposal. It includes a goal to reach 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.

Manley has been outspoken about his opposition to the plan.

Corrinne Hess can be reached at chess@gannett.com. Follow her @corrihess

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.

DOWNLOAD THE APP: Get the latest news, sports and more

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin manufacturers concerned about possible energy shortages