January 2019 Director’s Note

2018 was the year Wisconsin reached 100 MW of renewable energy generation. Renewable energy systems were installed by homeowners, farmers, businesses large and small, tribes, local governments, schools, not-for-profits, places of worship and higher education. Wisconsin solar installers are hiring. Thirty-four counties offer PACE financing. Philanthropists are generously funding projects. There are more than 75,000 people in Wisconsin’s clean energy industry. There are so many rich stories around this.

Yet, the transition to a clean energy economy in Wisconsin (and in many states) is getting messy. Wisconsin does not have an energy plan and Wisconsin policies do not address the new landscape of a changing utility model, free market forces that provide competing services, large scale renewables development, and customers looking for clean energy choice and financing options.  This is being played out at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, in the press, at county board meetings, and in the courts. lacrossetribune,dailyunionenergynewsWSJ,

Wisconsin can look to neighboring states of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois and the policies they have crafted that fuel their superior clean energy economies. Policy-makers can decide to act decisively to change Wisconsin’s status as 12th in the US for the carbon-intensity of our electricity.  Wisconsin can choose to grow our clean energy workforce and financing options. The favorable economics of renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue to drive the transformation to clean energy. Wisconsin can shape that transformation to benefit all.

Sherrie Gruder