Contact: Sarah Peterson, Wisconsin’s Green Fire Science Director, [email protected]  

Rhinelander, WI – Wisconsin needs an updated energy policy to reduce our dependence on a century-old and inefficient system built around large fossil-fueled power plants that use a regional transmission and distribution grid. Costs for solar and wind projects continue to fall, coal-fired power plants continue to close across the state, and distributed energy resources (DERs) hold great promise and an opportunity for Wisconsin to remake its outdated 20th century energy system.

In their new Opportunities Now report, Wisconsin’s Green Fire lays out a clear set of recommendations to tackle these issues. These recommendations can help Wisconsin chart a path towards an energy system that is cleaner, more reliable, equitable, and increasingly decentralized with local generation and local ownership of power sources.

Key recommendations include:

  • Establish greater energy efficiency standards for utilities to better control power demand and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Establish incentives for performance-based ratemaking or a similar system to prod investor-owned utilities to comply with clean energy goals. Performance-based ratemaking is a policy option that links electric utility revenue to specific performance goals.
  • Include the pubic in Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) encompassing long-term resource generation, transmission, and distribution.
  • Identify the public and other stakeholders as equal partners in Wisconsin’s energy future.
  • Include local government in planning electricity generation, transmission, and distribution currently controlled by utilities.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire is pleased to see proposed investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Governor Tony Evers’ fiscal year 2021-2023 state budget. Noteworthy proposals include:

  • Requiring the Wisconsin PSC to reevaluate the social cost of carbon on a biennial basis.
  • Establishing an Innovative Technologies Pilot Program aimed at implementing cutting-edge storage solutions and microgrid expansion.
  • Doubling the required utility contribution for the Focus on Energy program to generate additional funding for the program.

There are ample opportunities for Wisconsin to capitalize on investments in renewable energy technologies, improve energy efficiency, and better manage energy demand. “Now is the time to support these approaches in Wisconsin,” says Gary Radloff, co-chair of Wisconsin’s Green Fire Energy Policy Work Group. “Customer-driven distributed generation, third-party financing, and DERs show enormous potential in reducing climate change harms, improving grid resiliency, and providing valuable cost savings to energy consumers.”

The full report is available at: https://wigreenfire.org/creating-a-21st-century-energy-policy/.

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