From a guest editorial by State Senator Kathleen Vinehout in The Tomah Journal:

In my home neighborhood a wind energy development firm is writing to encourage local farmers and other land owners to contact me in support of wind-power.

Renewable energy is on nearly every legislators “to do” list. Although challenges vary across the state, there is almost universal agreement that we need to move beyond our current fossil fuel based economy. Wisconsin is moving forward with leadership from the Office of Energy Independence, the Global Warming Task Force and state agencies.

Last week I met with the Director of the Office on Energy Independence and learned a bit more about the opportunities and challenges Wisconsin faces as we move toward a green economy.

The diversity of our state provides incredible opportunities for the development of renewable energy. Technology is making new options viable. Investors and local entrepreneurs are supplying capital and ideas that could put Wisconsin on the cutting edge of the green revolution.

Liabilities, like manure or waste from landfills, could power our home and industry. Natural resources, like the sun, the wind and the earth (through geo-thermal energy) could provide the jobs we need to grow our economy and the power to run our televisions.

Unfortunately, just when it seems we are on the edge of learning how to work together and embrace the diversity of renewable energy sources, I learned of some competition between those who would profit from wind development and those who would like to invest in other forms of renewable energy. While competition is healthy and often spurs innovation, efforts to shut down competitive alternatives may not be in the public’s best interest.