Racine, WI – The Clean Power Coalition of Southeast Wisconsin continues to call attention to the imminent need to shift from coal power to clean energy leading into WEC Energy Group’s annual shareholder meeting tomorrow, May 6, 2020. WEC executives will present on the company’s economic viability and projected growth in a virtual meeting due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“Investors, including WEC’s second-largest shareholder BlackRock, are moving away from fossil fuels in a significant way,” said Natalie Chulew, a WEC Energy Group shareholder and Clean Power Coalition member from Racine. “If WEC doesn’t seize the moment to fully embrace clean, renewable energy, including an announcement to completely phase out coal, they run the risk of losing their competitive edge and turning away long-term investors.”
Sr. Janet Weyker, Caledonia resident and Clean Power Coalition member who lives at the Eco-Justice Center states, “A Harvard study found that those of us exposed to high levels of air pollution–like that generated by coal plants–are at a higher risk of death by COVID-19. In the midst of this pandemic, we demand that WEC step up. The American Lung Association grades Southeast Wisconsin with an F on their State of the Air report card. WEC’s operations at the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant, which burns about 6,000 tons of coal per day, is a big contributor. It is irresponsible and downright harmful to Wisconsin residents to continue to burn coal – the time is now to retire that plant.”
“This is an opportunity for bigger, bolder investment in clean energy. The goals WEC has outlined in their 2019 annual and climate reports are not enough. WEC is already behind other utilities when it comes to clean energy and now more than ever we need investment in a growing workforce ready to meet the demands of customers increasingly impacted by the health, economic, and climate crises exacerbated by WEC’s overreliance on dirty coal.” said Kesha Patel of Milwaukee, co-founder of the Gaia Coalition and Clean Power Coalition member.
“We are at the crossroads of economic, climate, and public health disasters,” says Susan Modder, Global Climate Reality volunteer and Clean Power Coalition member from Milwaukee. “Dirty fossil fuels make all three worse. They are devastating to our health and environment and are a path to financial failure as clean energy becomes more and more cost-competitive. The We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant is a good example of this. It’s costing $75 million more per year to operate than the value of its output. It’s time that WEC Energy Group retire the We Energies Oak Creek coal plant and invest in our healthy, renewable energy future.”