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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Governor to push renewable energy agenda

From an article by Giles Morris in The Daily News (Rhinelander):

As Governor Jim Doyle continues his northern tour, he is promoting a policy agenda that will serve as his legacy when he leaves office next year.

One of the most ambitious pieces of legislation Doyle is pushing for is a law that would create a new renewable energy benchmark for the state.

On Monday, Eric Callisto, chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), spoke about how the new goals would change the way the state looks at its energy policy.

“The governor is not running for re-election and as he announced that he talked about some of the priorities for the state going forward,” Callisto said. “Among those are environmental protection and sustainable energy.”

Callisto, who heads the agency charged with overseeing the state’s energy utilities, said the governor’s energy plan involves a three-pronged approach consisting of strengthening the state’s standards for renewable energy consumption, expanding the state’s market share of clean energy production and ramping up clean energy research programs throughout the UW system.

The first piece of legislation that could emerge from the governor’s energy platform could reach the Legislature this fall. The bill — which would likely come through Sen. Mark Miller’s committee on the environment and Rep. Spencer Black’s natural resources committee — would entail a modification of the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The current RPS requires that the state’s utility companies produce 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. Under the revamped bill, the deadline for the 10 percent renewable mark would be moved up to 2013 and two new benchmarks would be added to create a “25 by 25” agenda — 25 percent renewable by 2025 with at least 10 percent produced in Wisconsin.

“I think it’s a realistic goal,” Callisto said. “It’s a goal in which Wisconsin utilities, businesses and rate payers are all going to have to play a major role.”

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