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Friday, September 28, 2012

RENEW participates in county announcement of Clean Lakes, Clean Energy initiative

Michael Vickerman, RENEW director of programs and policy, gestures toward Lake Monona during the announcement of a "Clean Lakes, Clean Energy" initiative by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (right in suit coat).


For Immediate Release
September 27, 2012

New technology to eliminate 100% of lake polluting phosphorus, expanded lake clean‐up partnership, “CNG by 2023,” and Solar Powered “Green Highway Garage” among highlights

Near the shores of Lake Monona today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced his comprehensive 2013 “Clean Lakes, Clean Energy” plan to be included in his 2013 county budget that will be introduced to the County Board on Monday.

“Cleaning up our lakes, preserving our lands, and investing in green energy like solar, wind, and alternative fuels are shared values that enhance our quality of life we enjoy in Dane County,” Parisi said. “My budget reflects a continued commitment to protecting and enhancing the resources that make our home such an attractive place to live, work, and visit,” he added.

One of the cornerstones of Parisi’s $4.5 million capital lakes clean‐up initiative, is brand new technology that successfully removes 100% of the pollutant phosphorus from animal waste.

Parisi’s budget will have $300,000 to install this cutting edge system as part of the new manure digester being built in the Town of Springfield in early 2013. “Technology is rapidly evolving and this system not only keeps our county on the cutting edge of lake clean‐up, it also could be the gateway to developing additional manure digesters in areas where we know phosphorus run‐off is a problem,” Parisi said.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

RENEW Raps We Energies’ Radical Proposal to Restrict Net Metering

Immediate release
September 27, 2012

More information
Michael Vickerman
Director, Program and Policy
608.255.4044, ext. 2
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

(Madison) -  In testimony submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) on Wednesday, RENEW Wisconsin objected to We Energies’ proposal to weaken its net-metering service to new customers seeking to generate electricity on-site using solar panels and other renewable energy systems.

In its current rate proceeding, We Energies proposes not to pay a new customer-generator for any electricity produced in excess of the amount consumed on site.

“We Energies’ proposal is a radical departure from its current practice paying the full retail rate for energy that’s fed back to the utility’s system,” said Michael Vickerman, director of programs and policy for RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.

“This proposal is the most extreme example yet of We Energies’ ongoing retreat from customer-sited renewables, and we urge the PSCW to reject it.

Net metering allows customers to sell the unused output from their solar electric or other renewable energy systems back to the utility at the full retail rate each month, so long as the total amount of electricity produced is less than or equal to the customers’ usage.

“Utilities routinely pay for all the energy supplied by non-utility generators to its system.

"By refusing to purchase the small amounts of electricity they may export to the utility, We Energies is abusing its monopoly power in a way that discriminates against its own customers.” Vickerman said.

In its proposal, We Energies would limit its net metering service to systems no larger than 20 kilowatts. In contrast, Madison Gas & Electric, Xcel Energy, and Wisconsin Public Service provide net metering to systems as large as 100 kilowatts.

“When you take into account what other in-state utilities are offering, it seems obvious that We Energies is asking for special treatment from the PSC.

Yet, it has provided nothing in its rate case to demonstrate that a higher net metering ceiling would cause it any more harm than to the other utilities,” said Vickerman.

Vickerman pointed to Michigan as a better model for setting net-metering service standards.

“Thanks to legislation passed in 2008, We Energies’ Michigan customers enjoy a much higher standard of service than what the utility proposes for its Wisconsin customers,” Vickerman said.

“Along with all other investor-owned utilities in Michigan, We Energies must provide full retail credit for all electricity produced by renewable energy systems up to 20 kW and must provide a reasonable net metering rate for systems up to 150 kW.”

In the most recent Freeing the Grid: Best Practices in State Metering Policies report prepared for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan rated an “A” for its net-metering policies. By comparison, Wisconsin earned a “C.” The report can be viewed here.

Earlier this month, RENEW issued a report card grading individual utility performance on renewable energy, in which We Energies received a “C” for its 2011 performance.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin.More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

RENEW Raps We Energies’ Radical Proposal to Restrict Net Metering

(Madison) -  In testimony submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) on Wednesday, RENEW Wisconsin objected to We Energies’ proposal to weaken its net-metering service to new customers seeking to generate electricity on-site using solar panels and other renewable energy systems.

In its current rate proceeding, We Energies proposes not to pay a new customer-generator for any electricity produced in excess of the amount consumed on site.

“We Energies’ proposal is a radical departure from its current practice paying the full retail rate for energy that’s fed back to the utility’s system,” said Michael Vickerman, director of programs and policy for RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.

“This proposal is the most extreme example yet of We Energies’ ongoing retreat from customer-sited renewables, and we urge the PSCW to reject it.

Net metering allows customers to sell the unused output from their solar electric or other renewable energy systems back to the utility at the full retail rate each month, so long as the total amount of electricity produced is less than or equal to the customers’ usage.

“Utilities routinely pay for all the energy supplied by non-utility generators to its system.

"By refusing to purchase the small amounts of electricity they may export to the utility, We Energies is abusing its monopoly power in a way that discriminates against its own customers.” Vickerman said.

In its proposal, We Energies would limit its net metering service to systems no larger than 20 kilowatts. In contrast, Madison Gas & Electric, Xcel Energy, and Wisconsin Public Service provide net metering to systems as large as 100 kilowatts.

“When you take into account what other in-state utilities are offering, it seems obvious that We Energies is asking for special treatment from the PSC.

Yet, it has provided nothing in its rate case to demonstrate that a higher net metering ceiling would cause it any more harm than to the other utilities,” said Vickerman.

Vickerman pointed to Michigan as a better model for setting net-metering service standards.

“Thanks to legislation passed in 2008, We Energies’ Michigan customers enjoy a much higher standard of service than what the utility proposes for its Wisconsin customers,” Vickerman said.

“Along with all other investor-owned utilities in Michigan, We Energies must provide full retail credit for all electricity produced by renewable energy systems up to 20 kW and must provide a reasonable net metering rate for systems up to 150 kW.”

In the most recent Freeing the Grid: Best Practices in State Metering Policies report prepared for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan rated an “A” for its net-metering policies. By comparison, Wisconsin earned a “C.” The report can be viewed here.

Earlier this month, RENEW issued a report card grading individual utility performance on renewable energy, in which We Energies received a “C” for its 2011 performance.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin.More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

RENEW Raps We Energies’ Radical Proposal to Restrict Net Metering

(Madison) -  In testimony submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) on Wednesday, RENEW Wisconsin objected to We Energies’ proposal to weaken its net-metering service to new customers seeking to generate electricity on-site using solar panels and other renewable energy systems.

In its current rate proceeding, We Energies proposes not to pay a new customer-generator for any electricity produced in excess of the amount consumed on site.

“We Energies’ proposal is a radical departure from its current practice paying the full retail rate for energy that’s fed back to the utility’s system,” said Michael Vickerman, director of programs and policy for RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.

“This proposal is the most extreme example yet of We Energies’ ongoing retreat from customer-sited renewables, and we urge the PSCW to reject it.

Net metering allows customers to sell the unused output from their solar electric or other renewable energy systems back to the utility at the full retail rate each month, so long as the total amount of electricity produced is less than or equal to the customers’ usage.

“Utilities routinely pay for all the energy supplied by non-utility generators to its system.

"By refusing to purchase the small amounts of electricity they may export to the utility, We Energies is abusing its monopoly power in a way that discriminates against its own customers.” Vickerman said.

In its proposal, We Energies would limit its net metering service to systems no larger than 20 kilowatts. In contrast, Madison Gas & Electric, Xcel Energy, and Wisconsin Public Service provide net metering to systems as large as 100 kilowatts.

“When you take into account what other in-state utilities are offering, it seems obvious that We Energies is asking for special treatment from the PSC.

Yet, it has provided nothing in its rate case to demonstrate that a higher net metering ceiling would cause it any more harm than to the other utilities,” said Vickerman.

Vickerman pointed to Michigan as a better model for setting net-metering service standards.

“Thanks to legislation passed in 2008, We Energies’ Michigan customers enjoy a much higher standard of service than what the utility proposes for its Wisconsin customers,” Vickerman said.

“Along with all other investor-owned utilities in Michigan, We Energies must provide full retail credit for all electricity produced by renewable energy systems up to 20 kW and must provide a reasonable net metering rate for systems up to 150 kW.”

In the most recent Freeing the Grid: Best Practices in State Metering Policies report prepared for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan rated an “A” for its net-metering policies. By comparison, Wisconsin earned a “C.” The report can be viewed here.

Earlier this month, RENEW issued a report card grading individual utility performance on renewable energy, in which We Energies received a “C” for its 2011 performance.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin.More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

Press Release from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

For Immediate Release - September 26, 2012
Contact: Kristin Ruesch or Matthew Pagel (608) 266-9600


PSC Upcoming Public Hearings

MADISON - The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) will hold two public hearings in Southeastern Wisconsinon regarding the Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Gas (WEPCO) request to adjust its electric and natural gas rates.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the hearings, which will be held at the following locations and times:


Monday, October 1, 2012
1:00 p.m.

Ambassador Inn
Marquette Room
2301 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Monday, October 1, 2012
6:00 p.m.

Best Western Plus Midway Hotel and Suites
Underwood I Room
1005 South Moorland Road
Brookfield, Wisconsin


Customers attending either hearing may provide written or oral comments. If customers cannot attend a public hearing, but would like to provide comments, an online participation option is available on the PSC's website at http://psc.wi.gov  through October 1st. Participants should click on the "Public Comments" button on the PSC's homepage and click on the case title.

The hearing locations are accessible to people in wheelchairs. Anyone requiring accommodations to participate should contact Docket Coordinator Candice Spanjar at 608-267-9537

Documents associated with WEPCO's application can be viewed on the PSC's Electronic Regulatory Filing System at http://psc.wi.gov/. Type case numbers 5-UR-106 in the boxes provided on the PSC homepage, or click on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System button.


-end-



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Northern Nevada wind power pioneers hit snag; vertical turbines not delivering savings as promised

An article by Brian Duggan in rgj.com. This article raises the question: Who is responsible - the producer, the consumer, or a third party - to ensure that small scale renewable projects are efficient and effective?:

Three years ago, Albert and Dena Sousa spent about $30,000 to install two vertical axis wind turbines at their Spanish Springs home after they were told the technology would cut their power bill in half.

The retired couple from California thought the turbines, produced by former Reno-based company Mariah Power, would generate enough electricity to pay for themselves in five years after a $7,000 rebate from NV Energy.

Today, the Sousas say the turbines have required several repairs, including a mechanical malfunction that’s stopped one turbine from spinning. Meanwhile, the windmills have generated only about 365 kilowatt hours of power over three years — a fraction of the energy they were hoping to generate — meaning there will be no payoff in their lifetimes.

“So, I’m out $23,000, and all they are is a yard decoration,” Albert Sousa said on Wednesday while standing beneath the 30-foot spires next to a backyard chicken coop. “They’re no good at all.”

Advocates of small-scale wind energy production say stories like the Sousas’ experience at their high-desert home highlight the challenge early adopters face when investing in a nascent industry.

That includes sorting through unsubstantiated claims made by some manufacturers of wind turbines meant for backyards or city parks as well as maintaining a realistic set of expectations for the technology.

Read more...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tax Credit in Doubt, Wind Power Industry Is Withering

From an article in the New York Times by Diane Cardwell:

Last month, Gamesa, a major maker of wind turbines, completed the first significant order of its latest innovation: a camper-size box that can capture the energy of slow winds, potentially opening new parts of the country to wind power.

But by the time the last of the devices, worth more than $1.25 million, was hitched to a rail car, Gamesa had furloughed 92 of the 115 workers who made them.

“We are all really sad,” said Miguel Orobiyi, 34, who worked as a mechanical assembler at the Gamesa plant for nearly five years. “I hope they call us back because they are really, really good jobs.”

Similar cuts are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs.

At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s principal trade group.

About 10,000 of those jobs have disappeared since, according to the association, as wind companies have been buffeted by weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and cheaper options from Asian competitors. Chinese manufacturers, who can often underprice goods because of generous state subsidies, have moved into the American market and have become an issue in the larger trade tensions between the countries. In July, the United States Commerce Department imposed tariffs on steel turbine towers from China after finding that manufacturers had been selling them for less than the cost of production.

And now, on top of the business challenges, the industry is facing a big political problem in Washington: the Dec. 31 expiration of a federal tax credit that makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity.

The tax break, which costs about $1 billion a year, has been periodically renewed by Congress with support from both parties. This year, however, it has become a wedge issue in the presidential contest. President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has said he opposes the wind credit, and that has galvanized Republicans in Congress against it, perhaps dooming any extension or at least delaying it until after the election despite a last-ditch lobbying effort from proponents this week.

Read more

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Two wind farm open houses, Sept. 25 & 27

Learn more about two proposed wind farms in northeast Wisconsin. Ask questions of the development teams. Refreshments!

Beautiful Hill Wind Farm Open House
Tuesday, September 25
4:30-7:30 PM
Fox Hills Resort
250 Church Street
Mishicot, WI 54228

Windy Acres Wind Farm
Thursday, September 27
4:30-7:30 PM
Silver Creek Fire Department
W6566 Wisconsin 144
Random Lake, WI 53075

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dairyland Power Purchasing Energy from New Solar Operation


From a Dairyland Power Cooperative news release:

LA CROSSE, WI— Dairyland Power Cooperative is purchasing the excess energy output from a new 368 kW solar photovoltaic installation at the City of Galena (Ill.) Wastewater Treatment Plant. The facility is interconnected with Jo-Carroll Energy (Elizabeth, Ill.), a Dairyland member cooperative.

The solar units’ production at the wastewater treatment plant is expected to produce sufficient power to satisfy the facility’s energy needs. Dairyland has a power purchase agreement in place with the City of Galena for all energy produced beyond that required to power the wastewater treatment plant.

Eagle Point Solar, based in Dubuque, Iowa, installed the photovoltaic system. The project installation was partially funded by an Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant. “Jo-Carroll Energy is pleased to be collaborating on a local renewable energy project that serves a critical facility in our area, and provides benefits to the environment,” said Michael Hastings, Jo-Carroll Energy CEO.

With headquarters in La Crosse, Wis., Dairyland provides wholesale electricity to Jo-Carroll Energy and 24 other member distribution cooperatives and 15 municipal utilities in four states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois). Dairyland’s generation resources include coal, natural gas, hydro, wind, landfill gas, biomass, solar and animal waste. For more information about Dairyland, visit www.dairynet.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Update on RENEW Initiatives

In a presentation by Don Wichert, RENEW executive director, reported on the following RENEW programs at an informational meeting and social gathering in Stevens Point, September 13, 2012:
  • Evaluation of utility performance on renewable energy; 
  • Clean Energy Choice, which would allow third parties to sell heat and power to customers on premise; 
  • Net metering; 
  • Focus on Energy; 
  • Interconnection streamlining; 
  • Restoration of We Energies' renewable development fund; 
  • Wind initiatives.

Utility's renewables program judged 'average,' We Energies disputes 'C' grade


From a blog post by Tom Content on JSOnline:

We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities are getting average grades from a renewable energy advocacy group in ratings released this week.

Renew Wisconsin announced a renewable energy performance report card that judges how utilities have performed on a variety of levels, including the compliance with the state’s renewable energy mandate as well as a variety of other policies.

Most of the utilities in the state, including Milwaukee-based We Energies, received “C” grades from Renew Wisconsin, said Don Wichert, executive director of the non-profit organization that seeks to expand development of solar, wind and other types of renewable energy.

We Energies was praised for its construction of wind farms within the state, creating jobs and providing a local source of green power. But the Milwaukee utility was faulted in part for its decision last year to cancel funding for a renewable energy commitment it gave to Renew 10 years ago.

At that time, We Energies committed to spending $6 million a year for 10 years on a variety of renewable energy programs. In return, the renewable energy advocacy group agreed not to oppose We Energies’ bid to build its coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek.

The shift away from helping customers finance renewable systems is one reason We Energies was graded as a “C” on the group’s report card, said Wichert.

Read More...

Utility's renewables program judged 'average,' We Energies disputes 'C' grade

From a blog post by Tom Content on JSOnline: 

We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities are getting average grades from a renewable energy advocacy group in ratings released this week. 

Renew Wisconsin announced a renewable energy performance report card that judges how utilities have performed on a variety of levels, including the compliance with the state’s renewable energy mandate as well as a variety of other policies. 

Most of the utilities in the state, including Milwaukee-based We Energies, received “C” grades from Renew Wisconsin, said Don Wichert, executive director of the non-profit organization that seeks to expand development of solar, wind and other types of renewable energy. 

We Energies was praised for its construction of wind farms within the state, creating jobs and providing a local source of green power. But the Milwaukee utility was faulted in part for its decision last year to cancel funding for a renewable energy commitment it gave to Renew 10 years ago. 

At that time, We Energies committed to spending $6 million a year for 10 years on a variety of renewable energy programs. In return, the renewable energy advocacy group agreed not to oppose We Energies’ bid to build its coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek. 

The shift away from helping customers finance renewable systems is one reason We Energies was graded as a “C” on the group’s report card, said Wichert.

Read More...

Utility's renewables program judged 'average'. We Energies disputes 'C' grade

From a blog post by Tom Content on JSOnline: 

We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities are getting average grades from a renewable energy advocacy group in ratings released this week. 

Renew Wisconsin announced a renewable energy performance report card that judges how utilities have performed on a variety of levels, including the compliance with the state’s renewable energy mandate as well as a variety of other policies. 

Most of the utilities in the state, including Milwaukee-based We Energies, received “C” grades from Renew Wisconsin, said Don Wichert, executive director of the non-profit organization that seeks to expand development of solar, wind and other types of renewable energy. 

We Energies was praised for its construction of wind farms within the state, creating jobs and providing a local source of green power. But the Milwaukee utility was faulted in part for its decision last year to cancel funding for a renewable energy commitment it gave to Renew 10 years ago. 

At that time, We Energies committed to spending $6 million a year for 10 years on a variety of renewable energy programs. In return, the renewable energy advocacy group agreed not to oppose We Energies’ bid to build its coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek. 

The shift away from helping customers finance renewable systems is one reason We Energies was graded as a “C” on the group’s report card, said Wichert.

Read More...

Utility's renewables program judge 'average,' We Energies disputes 'C' grade

From a blog post by Tom Content on JSOnline: 

We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities are getting average grades from a renewable energy advocacy group in ratings released this week. 

Renew Wisconsin announced a renewable energy performance report card that judges how utilities have performed on a variety of levels, including the compliance with the state’s renewable energy mandate as well as a variety of other policies. 

Most of the utilities in the state, including Milwaukee-based We Energies, received “C” grades from Renew Wisconsin, said Don Wichert, executive director of the non-profit organization that seeks to expand development of solar, wind and other types of renewable energy. 

We Energies was praised for its construction of wind farms within the state, creating jobs and providing a local source of green power. But the Milwaukee utility was faulted in part for its decision last year to cancel funding for a renewable energy commitment it gave to Renew 10 years ago. 

At that time, We Energies committed to spending $6 million a year for 10 years on a variety of renewable energy programs. In return, the renewable energy advocacy group agreed not to oppose We Energies’ bid to build its coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek. 

The shift away from helping customers finance renewable systems is one reason We Energies was graded as a “C” on the group’s report card, said Wichert.

Read More...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Utility's renewables program judged 'average,' We Energies disputes 'C' grade

From a blog post by Tom Content on JSOnline:

We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities are getting average grades from a renewable energy advocacy group in ratings released this week.

Renew Wisconsin announced a renewable energy performance report card that judges how utilities have performed on a variety of levels, including the compliance with the state’s renewable energy mandate as well as a variety of other policies.

Most of the utilities in the state, including Milwaukee-based We Energies, received “C” grades from Renew Wisconsin, said Don Wichert, executive director of the non-profit organization that seeks to expand development of solar, wind and other types of renewable energy.

We Energies was praised for its construction of wind farms within the state, creating jobs and providing a local source of green power. But the Milwaukee utility was faulted in part for its decision last year to cancel funding for a renewable energy commitment it gave to Renew 10 years ago.

At that time, We Energies committed to spending $6 million a year for 10 years on a variety of renewable energy programs. In return, the renewable energy advocacy group agreed not to oppose We Energies’ bid to build its coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek.

The shift away from helping customers finance renewable systems is one reason We Energies was graded as a “C” on the group’s report card, said Wichert.

“That’s nothing to shout about,” he said. “We don’t want to be average. There is no reason that Wisconsin utilities should be performing at average levels in clean energy.”

But the Milwaukee utility said it’s spent heavily on development of renewable energy, tallying up nearly $1 billion in investments in its two wind farms as well as the biomass power plant under construction in north-central Wisconsin. As a result, the utility is in position to be in compliance with the state's renewable mandate through 2018.

Firms unite to showcase Wisconsin solar sector

From an article in the Journal Sentinel by Thomas Content:

A coalition of Wisconsin firms involved in the solar power and solar hot water industry are joining together to market the state at the solar sector's major annual conference.

 "We want to raise awareness of what Wisconsin has to offer the solar industry," said Amy Heart of Milwaukee Shines, the city's solar program. "In Milwaukee, we are known for making things, and making things well. We are taking that tradition and reputation to the solar supply chain."

Milwaukee Shines previously launched a business council focused on the solar hot water industry, including Johnson Controls Inc. and Caleffi Solar, based in the Menomonee Valley .

 The new partnership, the Wisconsin Solar Initiative, is broader, focusing on the solar sector as a whole, and includes Helios Solar Works and Ingeteam, both located in the Menomonee Valley, as well as Eaton Corp., which makes solar inverters at its plant in Menomonee Falls.

The initiative, and the appearance at this week's Solar Power International conference in Orlando, Fla., aims to spotlight the state's solar efforts much as Wisconsin Wind Works has done for wind energy components suppliers.

Read more...

Firms unite to showcase Wisconsin solar sector

From an article in the Journal Sentinel by Thomas Content:

A coalition of Wisconsin firms involved in the solar power and solar hot water industry are joining together to market the state at the solar sector's major annual conference.

 "We want to raise awareness of what Wisconsin has to offer the solar industry," said Amy Heart of Milwaukee Shines, the city's solar program. "In Milwaukee, we are known for making things, and making things well. We are taking that tradition and reputation to the solar supply chain."

Milwaukee Shines previously launched a business council focused on the solar hot water industry, including Johnson Controls Inc. and Caleffi Solar, based in the Menomonee Valley .

 The new partnership, the Wisconsin Solar Initiative, is broader, focusing on the solar sector as a whole, and includes Helios Solar Works and Ingeteam, both located in the Menomonee Valley, as well as Eaton Corp., which makes solar inverters at its plant in Menomonee Falls.

The initiative, and the appearance at this week's Solar Power International conference in Orlando, Fla., aims to spotlight the state's solar efforts much as Wisconsin Wind Works has done for wind energy components suppliers.

Read more...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

GOP lawmaker wants to freeze state's renewable energy mandate


More on the Grothman saga... RENEW's own Don Wichert is quoted in this article from Thomas Content in the Journal Sentinel.

"A legislator who represents a part of Sheboygan County where a small wind farm has been proposed wants to freeze the state's renewable energy mandate.

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said he plans to introduce legislation that would freeze the state's renewable energy mandate at 2012 levels.

The renewable mandate requires that 10% of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2015. Utilities have already complied with the 2010 mandate, which required that 6% of the state's power come from renewable sources, such as wind farms, landfill gas projects and biomass.

Grothman called the 10% requirement a mistake that is raising electricity prices and "tearing at the fabric of Wisconsin communities when new windmills are proposed."

...

Wichert, of Renew Wisconsin, said the state is behind other states when it comes to renewable energy. Iowa already has 20% of its electricity from renewable sources, and Minnesota and Illinois both have 25% renewable power standards on the books."


Senior policy director of Clean Wisconsin, Keith Reopelle, said Grothman's proposal is "out of touch with reality."  Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

News Release: Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org
 

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

News Release: Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org
 

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

News Release: Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org


Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

News Release: Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org
 

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org
 
Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

We Energies Gets Lowest Score on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org

We Energies Gets Lowest Score on Renewable Energy Report Card

Churches and other nonprofits in We Energies’ service area will have difficulty following the renewable-energy example of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, because the utility unilaterally ended the incentive program which helped the church absorb the cost of a solar system installed in 2008.

The end of the utility program resulted in WE receiving a C on a renewable energy report card issued by RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.

“We Energies agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems.

In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Don Wichert, RENEW’s executive director and the report card director, at a news conference in front of the church.

“The money was critically important to our ability to install a solar system and was needed because nonprofits are not eligible for the federal tax credits” said Amy Taivalkoski, a congregation member who headed up the project along with Dennis Briley, another member. “The grant of $27,500 covered about a third of the total cost.”

“We were very thankful to receive the grant, which allowed us to show other congregations how to fulfill a vision for a just, sustainable world. It’s unfortunate that the WE program won’t be there to help them as it helped us,” added Rev. Suzelle Lynch, minister of the more than 700-person congregation.

WE earned a C (2.4 out of 5) overall on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011, but had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities’ grades ranged from C to B/C -- Alliant, C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Wichert. “At this point in 2012 it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising and disappointing because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

RENEW scored gave WE the following grades for 2011:
B Amount of renewable electricity sold (also called renewable energy standard)
B Green energy purchasing program for customers
B Ease of interconnecting to the utility system
F Price paid for electricity purchased from renewable energy systems
F Legislative activities on renewable energy policy
C- Other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin utilities should be performing at average levels in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1
dwichert@renewwisconsin.org
 

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.

-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

We Energies Gets Lowest Score on Renewable Energy Report Card

           Churches and other nonprofits in We Energies’ service area will have difficulty following the renewable-energy example of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, because the utility unilaterally ended the incentive program which helped the church absorb the cost of a solar system installed in 2008.
The end of the utility program resulted in WE receiving a C on a renewable energy report card issued by RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.
“We Energies agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area.  As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems.  In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Don Wichert, RENEW’s executive director and the report card director, at a news conference in front of the church.  
“The money was critically important to our ability to install a solar system and was needed because nonprofits are not eligible for the federal tax credits” said Amy Taivalkoski, a congregation member who headed up the project along with Dennis Briley, another member.  “The grant of $27,500 covered about a third of the total cost.”

We Energies Gets Lowest Score on Renewable Energy Report Card



RENEW Wisconsin announces the following for immediate release:

Churches and other nonprofits in We Energies’ service area will have difficulty following the renewable-energy example of the Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, because the utility unilaterally ended the incentive program which helped the church absorb the cost of a solar system installed in 2008.
The end of the utility program resulted in WE receiving a C on a renewable energy report card issued by RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.
“We Energies agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area.  As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems.  In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Don Wichert, RENEW’s executive director and the report card director, at a news conference in front of the church.  
“The money was critically important to our ability to install a solar system and was needed because nonprofits are not eligible for the federal tax credits” said Amy Taivalkoski, a congregation member who headed up the project along with Dennis Briley, another member.  “The grant of $27,500 covered about a third of the total cost.”
“We were very thankful to receive the grant, which allowed us to show other congregations how to fulfill a vision for a just, sustainable world.  It’s unfortunate that the WE program won’t be there to help them as it helped us,” added Rev. Suzelle Lynch, minister of the more than 700-person congregation.
WE earned a C (2.4 out of 5) overall on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011, but had the lowest score of all utilities graded.  The state’s other major utilities’ grades ranged from C to B/C -- Alliant, C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel, B/C (3.0).
 “2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Wichert.  “At this point in 2012 it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”
 “It’s surprising and disappointing because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.
            RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.
Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard.  All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.
RENEW scored gave WE the following grades for 2011:
     B     Amount of renewable electricity sold (also called renewable energy standard)
B    Green energy purchasing program for customers
B    Ease of interconnecting to the utility system
F    Price paid for electricity purchased from renewable energy systems
F    Legislative activities on renewable energy policy
C-  Other programs offered voluntarily to customers.
This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy. 
“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are
lacking and how they can improve their grades.  Adoption of renewable energy supports local
jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security.  These are attributes everybody wants.  There is no reason that Wisconsin utilities should be performing at average levels in clean energy,” said Wichert.


-END-

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin.  More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.