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Thursday, January 28, 2016

RENEW Wisconsin 2016 Summit - A Huge Success!

“Shaping the Utility of the Future,” our fifth Annual Renewable Energy Policy Summit, was another huge success for the organization.  Held January 21, 2016, it featured thought and action leaders from across the country and leaders from Wisconsin’s utilities and renewable energy industry

The event covered the gamut of opportunities and challenges for increasing renewable energy in Wisconsin. From both the number of attendees, and their feedback so far, we had the best Summit yet!

- 295 registered

- 265 attended

- 56 business and organizational sponsors

- 17 exhibitors

Following some opening remarks from RENEW’s Board President, Carl Siegrist, U.S. Congressman

Mark Pocan gave our audience a warm welcome to Madison, and spoke about the job creation potential of renewable energy and his leadership in Washington, D.C.RENEW’s Tyler Huebner gave a review of 2015’s renewable energy policy impacts and a brief look forward to 2016’s top priorities.  Then, we handed the stage over to our opening keynote speaker.

Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power: “The Energy Company of the Future”

Mary started her speech with her own personal story. She grew up thinking she would become an artist, with no thought that she would ever become an executive.  She then transitioned into the evolution that she brought to Green Mountain Power, first starting with a cultural change.  She moved the executives out of an office building and into a converted maintenance building next to the line workers. 

That lead to the transition in the electricity side of the business.  Mary’s business background outside of the utility industry taught her that the customer is king, and Green Mountain Power’s customer surveys showed customers wanted low cost energy, and more renewables.  Bucking the traditional thinking that low cost and renewables don’t go together, she challenged her team to figure out how to deliver what their customers want.

The GMP result is “stacking the benefits” as Mary calls it – finding ways to aggregate all the benefits of distributed generation in a way that can lower costs for everyone.  You can learn more about how Green Mountain Power is incorporating renewable and distributed energy, click here.

New Business Models & Policy Impacts: Wisconsin Utility Perspectives

Brian Rude of Dairyland Power, Deborah Erwin of Xcel Energy, and Kevin Westhuis of River Falls comprised representatives of cooperative, investor-owned, and municipal electricity providers for our utility panel.

Moderated by Eric Callisto of Michael Best & Friedrich law firm, the panelists discussed their community solar initiatives and additional renewable projects outlook.  They also discussed the key policy issues at hand:  the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, distributed generation, the future of the state’s renewable portfolio standard (or RPS).

Awards & Recognition Ceremony

Over lunch, RENEW’s Michael Vickerman lead the recognition of over 40 of 2015’s best renewable energy projects.  Three categories were recognized:

- Community solar, featuring five electricity providers who installed community solar programs in 2015

- 30 Largest projects, featuring 29 solar and 1 biogas project, the largest renewable energy systems installed in 2015

- “10 to Remember,” highlighting unique partnerships and stories of ten solar installations, from large businesses to community solar to non-profit donation-led models.

James Tong, Spruce Finance, “The Democratization of Energy and the Networked Grid”

James Tong came into the renewable energy space trying to figure out how to increase solar installations.  He came to the conclusion that working with utilities, and sharing both the utilities natural advantages and the solar industries advantages together, will lead to the most solar at the lowest cost.

After realizing that many utilities will have a hard time making the evolution into solar, for both business and regulatory reasons, he has set out to establish a more democratized electricity grid that would enable market-based transactions for distributed resources.    That grid would behave much like the Apple “App Store,” with the utility owning and maintaining the grid as a platform, where valuable third-party providers could provide services. View James’ PowerPoint here.

Driving Markets: Perspectives from the Renewable Energy Industry (presented by S.C. Johnson)

Our day’s final panel featured experts from three critical renewable energy technologies:

- Chris Kunkle, Wind on the Wires

- Steve Dvorak, DVO Digesters (biogas)

- Adam Gusse, H&H Solar

- Amy Heart, Sunrun & The Alliance for Solar Choice

These panelists discussed the market opportunity for their technology, the market barriers, and the policies in Wisconsin that would enable these technologies to grow.  The key policy for wind appears to be the Clean Power Plan, which Chris Kunkle said could lead to 2,000 MW or more of wind generation (Wisconsin currently has about 648 MW).   Solar has benefited from Focus on Energy and strong net metering policies, but these policies and programs need to be continued.  Also, Adam Gusse highlighted working together with utilities on interconnection as an area where time and cost can be saved.  Steve Dvorak of DVO highlighted the various countries and states his company is working in, and the need to re-focus on biogas development in Wisconsin as a win-win-win for renewable energy, our dairy farmers, and our lakes and air.

We hope you will join us next year for another great Renewable Energy Policy Summit!

Check out media coverage of the Summit below:

"Solar Outlook Brightens in Wisconsin" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Content

"Vermont utility exec touts green power, lower electric bills," Wisconsin State Journal, Judy Newman

"Solar Energy Grows," Wheeler News Service (Radio), WHBL Sheboygan

"Utility Officials Say Shift Away from Coal Will Be Gradual" WisBusiness.com

"Renewable Energy Proponents Hope for A 'Revolution' in Wisconsin" Wisconsin Public Radio

Monday, January 18, 2016

2015’s Best Renewable Energy Projects to Receive Recognition This Week

Immediate release
January 18, 2016

More information
Tyler Huebner, Executive Director
608.255.4044 x 1
tyler.huebner@renewwisconsin.org

2015’s Best Renewable Energy Projects to Receive Recognition This Week


The biggest and best renewable energy installations in 2015 are set to be recognized at Renew Wisconsin's annual Renewable Energy Summit this Thursday, January 21st in Madison.  The recognition ceremony will take place at 12:45pm, during lunch.  The Summit will be held at the Monona Terrace in Madison; registration starts at 8am and the program runs from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM.

It was a breakout year for solar energy. Over three times as many solar panels were installed in 2015 as the prior year, and the most ever in the state: 7.5 megawatts worth, enough to supply over 900 Wisconsin homes’ annual electricity usage.

The recognition will be bestowed across three categories:

Community Solar, featuring five utility providers who instituted projects where customers can share in the solar production from one centrally located, larger solar array.



2015 Utility-Sponsored Community Solar
Projects in Wisconsin

Electric Provider
Location
Installation Contractor
Project Size (in kW DC)
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative
Fall River
Able Energy
865
River Falls Utilities and WPPI Energy
River Falls
H&H Solar
250
New Richmond Utilities and WPPI Energy
New Richmond
H&H Solar
250
Taylor Electric Cooperative
Medford
Unknown
100
Clark Electric Cooperative
Greenwood
Unknown
53
Total Capacity                                                                                                                      1,518 kW


Noteworthy Solar Collaborations, featuring ten solar projects where creative teams, financing, or customer marketing were utilized to make the projects happen. 



Wisconsin Renewable Energy Honor Roll
Class of 2015 Projects – Noteworthy Solar Collaborations

Project Participants (including installer)
Project Location(s)
Project Size(s)
(in kW)
Customer category
Central Storage Warehouse/ SunPeak
Madison
741
Food
New Richmond + River Falls Utilities/WPPI Energy/SunVest
New Richmond, River Falls
500 (2 250 kW arrays in each community)
Utility community solar
Blenker Building Systems/ Central Waters Brewery/Jensen Center/North Wind Renewable Energy
Amherst
220 (3 systems)
Food + manufacturing / non-profit
Fair Share Coalition/ H&H Solar
Across south central WI
197 (17 systems)
Farm/food
Infinity Retail Services/ Kettle View
Turtle Lake
50 in 2015 (+ 50 kW wind in 2012)
Manufacturing
City of Milwaukee/ MREA/Arch Electric
Milwaukee
  84 (26 systems)
Local govt.  (group buy)
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters/ VEDC/Ethos Green Power
Viroqua
  25
Food
Union Cab/ Legacy Solar Cooperative/ Midwest Solar Power
Madison
  19 (+5 in 2012)
Transportation
Northwest WI Renewable Energy  Learning Center/ Legacy Solar
Osceola
  10
Non-profit
Spring Hill Farm/ North Wind RE
Prairie Farm
    9
Farm/food (member donations)

Largest Installations, denoting the 31 projects with the largest power capacity that were installed in the year. (Note that some of these are also included in the above two categories.) This category features 30 solar projects alongside Statz B Dairy, where a “biogas digester” was installed which converts cow manure into usable biogas for electricity.





Wisconsin Renewable Energy Honor Roll
Class of 2015 Projects


Thirty-one largest renewable generators installed this year

Customer
Location
Resource
Utility
Project Size (in kWDC)
Contractor (location)
Forest County Potawatomi
Crandon, Milwaukee (15 locations)
Solar
WPS, We Energies
922
SunVest Solar
(Pewaukee)
Eau Claire Energy Cooperative
Fall Creek
Solar
ECEC
863
Able Energy (River Falls)
Central Storage Warehouse
Madison
Solar
Madison Gas & Electric
741
SunPeak
(Madison)
Statz Brothers
Sun Prairie
Biogas (dairy)
Alliant-WPL
600
DVO (Chilton)
Letterhead Press
New Berlin
Solar
We Energies
337
SunPeak
Rockwell Automation
Mequon
Solar
We Energies
263
H&H Solar
(Madison)
River Falls Utilities
River Falls
Solar
RFU (muni)
250
H&H Solar
New Richmond Utilities
New Richmond
Solar
NRU (muni)
250
H&H Solar
Sisters of St. Agnes
Fond du Lac
Solar
Alliant-WPL
248
Eland Electric
(Green Bay)
Darlington School District
Darlington
Solar
Alliant-WPL
156
SunVest Solar
O&H Danish Bakery
Mt. Pleasant
Solar
We Energies
152
SunVest Solar
Crystal Ball Farms
Osceola
Solar
Xcel -NSPW
151
Next Energy Solution (Spooner)
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company
Neenah
Solar
We Energies
128.5
Energize, LLC (Winneconne)
Stieglitz Dairy
Greenwood
Solar
Clark Electric Cooperative
105.3
Next Energy Solution
Central Waters Brewery
Amherst
Solar
Alliant-WPL
100.8
North Wind RE (Stevens Point)
Blenker Building Systems
Amherst
Solar
Alliant-WPL
100.8
North Wind RE
Isthmus
 Engineering
Madison
Solar
MG&E
  99.5
H&H Solar
Precision Plus
Elkhorn
Solar
Elkhorn (muni)
  99
Kettle View RE (Silver Creek)
Animart
Beaver Dam
Solar
Alliant-WPL
  99
Kettle View RE
Organic Valley
Cashton
Solar
Cashton (muni)
  95
Full Spectrum Solar (Madison)
Corrim Company
Oshkosh
Solar
WI Public Service
  92
SunPeak
Components Company
Brookfield
Solar
We Energies
  78
Convergence Energy (Lake Geneva)
Parmenter Circle  Apts.
Middleton
Solar
MG&E
  72
Full Spectrum Solar
Oregon Middle School
Oregon
Solar
Alliant
  62
Full Spectrum Solar
Outpost Nat’l Foods
Mequon
Solar
We Energies
  56.3
SunVest Solar
Evergreen Credit Union
Neenah
Solar
We Energies
  56
Eland Electric
Clark Electric Cooperative
Greenwood
Solar
Clark Electric
  53.3
10K Solar/ Viking Electric (MN)
Excel Patterns
Bonduel
Solar
We Energies
  50.4
Eland Electric
Infinity Retail Services
Turtle Lake
Solar
Xcel-NSPW
  50
Kettle View RE
Borah Teamwear
Coon Valley
Solar
Xcel-NSPW
  50
Ethos Green Power (Viroqua)
Reynolds Storage and Transfer
Madison
Solar
MG&E
  48
SunPeak




"Solar energy is growing at exponential rates across the country and we are pleased that Wisconsin is sharing in this American success story with the many great projects installed in 2015," said Tyler Huebner, Renew Wisconsin's Executive Director. "However, our Honor Roll shows another stark fact: as a state, we need to prioritize the growth of wind, bioenergy, and hydro power as well as solar in 2016 and beyond. These homegrown energy sources will make Wisconsin better for future generations."

For more information on the 2016 summit program agenda, speakers, and registration, please visit http://renewwisconsin.org/2016_Summit/