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Jessie Steckling: Wisconsin should double down on renewable energy to protect lakes

Jessie Steckling: Wisconsin should double down on renewable energy to protect lakes

Dear Editor: As warm weather returns, Wisconsin residents can expect to see their plans to spend time in natural wonders such as Lake Mendota interrupted by toxic algae blooms. Recent research from the UW Center for Limnology has shown that climate change is a prominent contributor to the surge in toxic lakes in recent decades. Warmer summers create an environment that encourages the growth of organisms that starve lakes of oxygen, killing fish and other important species. This leads to lake safety advisories that caution people and dogs not to swim.

Decaying lake safety adds to a list of concerning side effects of climate change: increasingly severe winter storms and winter and summer temperatures that continue to break records and create health risks. Wisconsin winters are getting shorter, cutting down on the revenue-generating winter sports industry.

Dane County has offered an encouraging counter-narrative to these gloomy trends by breaking ground on construction of a 16.5-megawatt solar grid, providing enough power to offset 100% of Dane County’s electricity. This impressive partnership by Dane County and Aliant Energy, a private energy provider, show that renewable energy infrastructure is very possible even when working with a profit-driven energy provider. Wisconsin must strive to follow this example, giving Wisconsin residents access to affordable power without the public health consequences of fossil fuel combustion.

Jessie Steckling 

Madison

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