Largest Ever Summit Shows Excitement, Bright FutureBy Katherine Klausing, Engagement Manager
On Thursday January 19, RENEW Wisconsin hosted its largest ever Renewable Energy Policy Summit, entitled “Clean Energy Goes Mainstream.”
Approximately 300 people and over 50 sponsoring organizations gathered for the sixth annual event in Madison to hear a diverse set of perspectives on the growing clean energy economy, from military leaders and farm cooperatives to utility executives and solar developers.
“This has been a great year for renewable energy in Wisconsin, with the most solar installed ever, increased attention on biogas and a new wind farm under construction. We’re really pleased that the Summit reflects that excitement,” said Executive Director Tyler Huebner.
of Dairyland Power Cooperative
On the morning panel, Amy Heart, director of public policy at SunRun, led a discussion about the economic and security benefits of mainstream clean energy. Department of Defense Engineer Gregg Herman explained what the US Army Reserve is doing to meet the DoD’s ambitious renewable energy goals, including building a 125 kilowatt solar array in Milwaukee. Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, spoke about his experience working with GOP lawmakers to pass a bill raising the state’s renewable portfolio standard and expanding energy efficiency. The energy independence and job creation benefits that clean energy brings align well with conservative principles, Ward said.
|Organic Valley Cooperative members take |
advantage of solar energy. Photo credit: Organic Valley.
of Vote Solar
Browning pointed to state policy as a critical driver for solar growth, in addition to efforts by industry leaders such as Apple, Facebook and Google who have all committed to using 100% renewable energy. These corporate renewable energy policies will produce downstream opportunities and benefits for individual families too: “what’s good for the Google is good for the gander,” he joked.
The afternoon presentations concluded with a panel discussion featuring Laura Caspari, of SoCore Energy, Jeanne Hoffman of the City of Madison, Jeff Ripp of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, and Teran Smith of EDP Renewables. SoCore Energy is building 14 solar arrays in Wisconsin for Dairyland Power, while EDP Renewables is responsible for the new Quilt Block Wind Farm being built in southwest Wisconsin, the state's first wind farm development since 2011. Ripp highlighted Wisconsin's $20 million RFP for new biogas initiatives, while Hoffman pointed to Madison’s recent efforts on solar, as well as a new 100% renewable energy resolution.
“This past year was great for clean energy in Wisconsin, and I’m honored to help RENEW celebrate its 25th Anniversary,” Huebner said. “I’m optimistic about what 2017 holds.”
For more information on the event, we invite you to view press coverage from:
Channel 3000: Renewable Energy Conference Focuses on Working with Agriculture
Wisconsin Public Radio: A Wisconsin Utility Executive Pledges Less Reliance on Coal
WisBusiness: Wisconsin Must Plan for Carbon-Restricted Future, Industry Experts Say
Wisconsin Public Radio: A Conservative Touts Renewable Energy
Midwest Energy News: Adam Browning Q+A - Bright Spots and Opportunities for Solar in Wisconsin