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Recent coverage of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project proposed for southwest Wisconsin overlooks a key argument central for project supporters: the climate crisis.

Scientists around the world agree we have just 12 years to dramatically cut carbon emissions or we face dire and irreversible consequences. The Midwest needs clean, low-cost renewable energy, and we need it quickly. Building the energy system of the future fundamentally depends on new transmission lines.

Wind and solar projects across the region are ready to go -- and they are counting on this project. Thousands of megawatts of future wind and solar development in the Midwest are in jeopardy without Cardinal-Hickory Creek. The Citizens Utility Board’s opposition discussed in a recent article unfortunately ignores this connection and fails to account for the carbon-reduction benefits of clean energy.

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Transmission lines are not a “1990s approach,” as opponents argue. Rather, they are an essential component of a complex energy network, vital for the delivery of massive amounts of renewable energy to our homes and businesses. Battery storage and localized solar arrays alone won’t get us there. Our region needs clean energy at scale and a robust transmission system capable of making that happen.

Our future is depending on it.

Allen Gleckner, Saint Paul, Minnesota, senior director of energy markets and regulatory affairs, Fresh Energy

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