Resources

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Bioenergy

Tools

  • The Bioenergy Training Center provides training programs for Extension educators on issues associated with the bioeconomy including resources, educational training, and assessment materials.
  • Farming Energy, a collection from UW-Extension’s Learning Store, contains over twenty publications centered around energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation options for farmers and greenhouse owners.
  • UW Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resource, a website, contains a collection of information on energy conservation and utilization for agricultural enterprises. The site offers publications, spreadsheets, audit tools, and links to other sites and presentations.
  • The Bioeconomy Tool Shed, a portal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gears to help those in, interested in, or starting a bio-energy business. The Tool Shed offers users access to a complement of web-based tools and information, statistical data, and other resources related to the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into products and fuel, a process often referred to as the bioeconomy.
  • The Bioenergy Training Modular Course Series provides a blueprint for facilitating potentially controversial bioenergy issues. It offers suggestions for Extension educators focused on the technical feasibility of bioenergy generation and approaches to assist communities in understanding the comprehensive implications of bio-based alternative energy.

  • The Bioenergy and Renewable Energy Community Assessment Toolkit provides guidelines for community leaders and residents to discuss alternative energy options and community energy planning. It includes a discussion guidechecklist, and an overview of lessons learned from research on community-based energy projects.
  • Biomass Energy Resources Center Publications lists publications on biomass energy systems using wood fuels at the community scale and small commercial level from the Biomass Energy Resource Center, a nonprofit research organization. Includes studies on Fuels for Schools, Wood Chip and Wood Pellet Heating systems and technologies and case studies of community-scale systems.

Studies/Reports

  • The 3rd edition of AgSTAR’s Anaerobic Digester Project Development Handbook by US EPA is a comprehensive compilation of the latest best practices for  developing and implementing anaerobic digestion (AD)/ biogas systems.  The Handbook is intended for agriculture and livestock producers, farm owners, developers, financiers, policymakers, implementers, and others interested in learning more about AD/biogas systems. The 3rd edition includes updates about: co-digestion of various feedstocks on farms, as well as for AD in industrial, institutional, and commercial facilities; options for biogas utilization, including transportation fuels and biochemicals; and, opportunities to combine AD/biogas systems and nutrient recovery for generating alternative fertilizers made from the digestate.
  • Wisconsin Biogas Survey Report, a 2016 report from the Office of Energy Innovation, examines the status of the state’s anaerobic digester industry and identified primary operational challenges, key financial barriers to project development, and opportunities for future industry development.
  • Recycle, Bury, or Burn Wood Waste Biomass?: LCA Answer Depends on Carbon Accounting, Emissions Controls, Displaced Fuels, and Impact Costs, a 2016 study in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, extends existing life cycle assessment (LCA) literature by assessing seven environmental burdens and an overall monetized environmental score for eight recycle, bury, or burn options to manage clean wood wastes generated at construction and demolition activity.
  • Pellets – A Fast Growing Energy Carrier, a 2014 fact sheet by the World BioEnergy Association, provides an overview of wood pellets, their properties, economics, and production in large and small-scale technologies. Due to their high-energy content, high-density, and positive CO2 balance, pellet production and use for power generation is growing. They are being used residentially and in power plants to fully or partially replace coal.
  • Bioenergy: Biomass to Biofuels, a 2014 book published by the University of Vermont, provides an overview and in-depth technical information on solid, liquid, and gaseous bioenergy resources, including topics such as microbial fuels and biogas. The book details the trade-offs between various feedstocks, provides evaluation criteria for biofuel project proposals, and features case studies.
  • Wood Heating Appliances for Homes and Businesses, a 2014 guide from UW-Extension, provides guidance on how to choose clean burning wood heating equipment that maximize benefits while minimizing health effects to owners and their neighbors.

  • Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities: A Northern Minnesota Case Study, a 2013 paper by Dovetail Partners Inc., looks at two rural communities, Ely and Grand Marais, examining biomass to meet the 25 percent renewable energy consumption by 2025 Minnesota target. The study explores using timber harvest residues, sub-merchantable timber, and waste wood to heat homes, businesses, and government buildings, in either stand-alone or district energy systems.

Webinars/Videos

  • Biogas 101: Back to Basics, a 2017 webinar from Sustainable City Network, is a free, downloadable, 1-hour program to learn the basics of the biogas conditioning process. The download includes the presentation slides (PDF) and video recording (MP4).

  • Biodiesel Production, a 2015 five-part video series from Tennessee State University Extension, goes through the step-by-step production of biodiesel using their mobile demonstration. The steps include producing oil from oilseeds, the degumming process, the biodiesel conversion process, making biodiesel, and separating and cleaning the biodiesel.

Climate Change

Climate Change Wisconsin, The Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change website launched June 2020, includes information about the subcommittee meetings, public hearings and more.

Tools

  • WICCI) Interactive Mapping Tool Wisconsin Institute on Climate Change Impacts WICCI scientists have created a mapping tool that answers the question: “What climates today are most similar to the projected future climate of my location?” Also known as climate analogs, these maps show locations in the U.S. that currently resemble what the climate is projected to be like in Wisconsin in the future.
  • EPA’s State Inventory and Projection Tool has activity data from 1990 through 2017, wherever possible. The modules were updated February 2020 as part of EPA Energy Resources for State and Local Governments. The Projection Tool and the accompanying Energy Consumption Projection Tool have been significantly expanded. Most notably, users can now create a simple forecast of all emissions starting at 2018 through 2050 based on historical emissions from the 1990-2017 time frame.
  • Energy Resources for state, local, and tribal governments, a website designed by the Environmental Protection Agency for state and local officials, provides information about developing and implementing cost-effective climate and energy strategies that help further environmental goals and achieve public health and economic benefits.
  • Yale Climate Opinion Maps (September 2019) is a tool by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication that allows users to explore differences in US public opinion about global warming within a state by county and across states. For each county, it shows public opinions on numerous questions under the categories of beliefs, risk perceptions, policy support and behaviors.
  • ClearPath™, an ICLEI USA Local Governments for Sustainability tool, is a powerful, advanced web application for energy and emissions management. ClearPath is the online software platform for local governments and policy makers completing greenhouse gas inventories, forecasts, climate action plans, and monitoring at the community-wide or government-operations scales.
  • ICLEI’s GHG Protocols are the national standards for local-scale accounting of emissions that contribute to climate change. There are four protocols for different emissions areas and needs:
  • eGRID, the 2018 Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) from the Environmental Protection Agency, is a comprehensive source of data on the environmental characteristics of almost all electric power generated in the United States. The new edition, eGRID2018 contains year 2018 data on emissions rates for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases, electric generation, emissions, resource mix information, and power plant attributes. It can be used to help calculate greenhouse gas registries and inventories, carbon footprints, consumer information disclosure, emission inventories and standards, power market changes, and avoided emission estimates.
  • Just Energy Policies and Practices Action Toolkit and presentation by the NAACP environmental Justice and Climate Program, February 2018, calls for clean energy progress. The toolkit is 8 modules of practical, user-friendly guidance on how a community can begin to phase out coal, nuclear, and oil facilities and bring in clean energy like wind and solar.
  • Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments, a 2012 toolkit from the Georgetown Law Center, can help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. The toolkit includes an analytical tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing criteria for selecting among these approaches. The toolkit examines the roles that governments can play in pursuing these changes: shaping their own operations, mandating or providing incentives for private choices, and engaging in public education.
  • Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers, a tool by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) from 2012, is an adaptive management process enabling land managers to consider climate change adaptation in their land management and conservation practices. This workbook is a decision support tool that enables land managers to develop actions that will help cope with climate change impacts specific to their location and circumstances. It includes menus of adaptation strategies for urban ecosystems as well as for forested watersheds. The Adaptation Workbook can be used by a diverse range of people working in forestry, natural resources, and agriculture, including biologists, foresters, planners, soil conservationists, and consultants.
  • The Association of Climate Change Officials (ACCO) administers the Certified Climate Change Professional® (CC-P®) credential for mid-level practitioners. It is geared toward the experienced manager or executive responsible for driving climate change, resilience, sustainability or environmental initiatives, and professionals working extensively on climate preparedness, energy efficiency & continuity, renewable energy, resilience, adaptation or supply chain sustainability. The designation reflects competency in the fundamentals of climate change preparedness and strategic planning. A combination of related work experience and completion of all core curriculum courses and elective requirements is required for this designation.
  • Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework provides guidance to initiate systemic changes in planning, design, and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. It sets standards for what defines sustainable infrastructure across wastewater treatment, landfills, road and bridges, airports, green spaces, and more. It credentials leaders, provides third-party project verification, recognizes projects, and incentivizes higher performance.
  • Climate Access Resource Hub, a collection of resources from Climate Access, describes how from allergies and asthma to heat stroke and vector-borne diseases, the public health impacts of climate change are an increasing concern. The collection provides background information and recommendations for communicating a public health message within a climate context.
  • Climate Modeling 101, a website from the National Academy of Sciences, explains the basics of climate modeling. The six-part primer starts by describing the differences between weather and climate and then provides an overview of computer models, the process of constructing a climate model, the steps involved in validating climate models, examples of individuals and companies that use climate models, and links to key developers of climate models.
  • 53 Sources for Climate Change News, published in 2017 by George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, shares 53 outlets that provide breakings news, research, reports, and expert analysis of topics related to climate change.
  • Top 10 Things You Can do About Climate Change The David Suzuki Foundation suggests 10 things ways people can help fight climate change. From assisting with the renewable energy transformation, greening your commute and, using energy wisely, to eating to reduce climate impacts, and divesting from fossil fuels, this resource provides ideas and links to help people combat climate change in their everyday lives.

Studies/Reports

Wisconsin Climate Resources

  • Dane County Climate Action Plan: Today’s Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow, April 2020 by the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change presents the top program, policy, and project recommendations that will enable Dane County to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and put Dane County on a path to deep decarbonization.
  • Solve Climate by 2030: Solar Dominance + Civic Actions, a presentation to UW-Madison college of Engineering by Dr. Eban Goodstein, Bard College, January 30, 2020. Learn how to solve climate change in 10 years locally where everyone has access to clean energy, jobs and transportation.
  • Presentation by Dan Vimont, Co-chair of Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) to the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change from WisEye, December 19, 2019.
  • Climate Fast Forward Conference Report, January 2020 is a recap by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters of the primary findings and overarching themes developed by experts and stakeholders in facilitated break-out sessions at a working conference held in Madison in November 2019.
  • Climate Forward: A new Road Map for Wisconsin’s Climate and Energy Future, released June 2014, updated 2017 , by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, is a report that identifies five “pathways to progress” to reduce Wisconsin’s dependence on fossil fuels and support sustainable energy sources. These solutions focus on energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, improving transportation systems, carbon storage, and developing sustainable business models. The goal of the report is to shine a light on current conditions, barriers to progress, and opportunities—if Wisconsin chooses to engage and lead in the climate arena.
  • The Climate Crisis: Why Local Governments Matter, a public issues forum of the League of Women Voters of Dane County, November 2019 features four speakers from NOAA, UW-Madison Extension, Dane County and the City of Madison. Links to the presentations are included as well as a voice recording of the presentations and panel.
  • Wisconsin Local Governments and School Districts in a New Energy Economy: Budgeting for the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 National Law Review article by Von Briesen & Roper, focuses on potential impacts of the Clean Power Plan on local government and school district budgets and reviews measures that can be taken to lessen or even neutralize the future increases in energy costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted the Clean Power Plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which calls for a 32 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2030.

Global Climate Change Resources

  • A Letter from the Coronavirus YouTube video from Italy (press settings, subtitles) illustrates through imagery the COVID-19 pandemic as a messenger for climate change. Video by: Darinka Montico – Written by Kristin Flyntz – Music ‘Cold Isolation’ · David Fesliyan – fesliyanstudios.com
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, issued a series of special assessment reports based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels:
  • Paris Climate Agreement: 1st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention, known as COP 21 was adopted in Paris in 2015. It is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
  • Drawdown 2020 presents climate solutions by sectors: electricity, transportation, food ag and land use, buildings, industry, health and education, land sinks, coastal and ocean sinks, and engineered sinks. Within each of these sectors are solutions to climate change with actions that can be taken today.
  • Project Drawdown, a 2017 comprehensive proposal from a diverse group of researchers around the world, seeks to reverse global warming. It offers a comprehensive analysis of climate solutions and their financial, social, and environmental impacts over the next 30 years. Of the 100 solutions provided, wind turbines (onshore) ranked 2nd, solar farms 8th, rooftop solar 10th, geothermal 18th, nuclear 20th, wind turbines (offshore) 22nd, and concentrated solar 25th. Some other solutions in the top 25 included refrigerant management, reduced food waste, tropical forests, and clean cookstoves, among others. Ninety-nine of the 100 solutions result in regenerative development creating jobs, meaningful work, and an economy that works for the people and the planet. See YouTube video – The Years Project 2019
  • The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), is a collaborative global initiative to explore how individual countries can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to levels consistent with limiting the anthropogenic increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C). Limiting warming to 2°C or less, an objective agreed upon by the international community, will require that global net GHG emissions approach zero by the second half of the 21st century. This, in turn, will require steep reductions in energy-related CO2 emissions through a transformation of energy systems, a transition referred to by the DDPP as “deep decarbonization.” DDPP includes 15 research teams from countries representing more than 70% of global GHG emissions.
  • Climate-friendly heating: How to stay warm without fossil fuels, January 2020. Many countries have heating systems that still run on coal, oil and gas. But relying on these fossil fuels to keep us warm through winter adds to CO2 emissions. This paper examines some of the climate-friendly alternatives.
  • Financing Emissions Reductions for the Future – State of Voluntary Carbon Markets Report 2019. From Ecosystem Marketplace, this report provides all market participants – from small project developers to large corporate buyers to policymakers – a comprehensive view of voluntary carbon credits market conditions.
  • Greta Thunberg Does the Math, a video of a 5 minute presentation to the US Congress by Greta Thunberg, Swedish Climate activist and NY Times Person of the Year 2019, by The Years Project, in which she makes the science and mathematical realities of the climate crisis understandable and compelling.
  • Playing hooky to save the climate: why students are striking on March 15, a 2019 article in Vox, describes the strike by students across the globe on March 15, 2019 to protest government inaction on climate change. Climate strikes, including the Fridays For Future movement, are increasing among youth. The movement’s website provides resources and contact information for youth climate change activism.
  • Causes and Effects of Climate Change | National Geographic YouTube 2017
  • Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change, a 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, examines the current state of science of extreme weather attribution and identifies ways to move the science forward to improve attribution capabilities. Event attribution can answer questions about how much climate change influenced the probability or intensity of a specific type of weather event. As event attribution capabilities improve, they could help inform choices about assessing and managing risk and in guiding climate adaptation strategies.
  • Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye | National Geographic 2015 In this video Bill Nye, the Science Guy, explains what causes climate change, how it affects our planet, why we need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and how each of us can contribute to a solution.

National Climate Resources

  • Sierra Club Ready for 100 is a national movement, currently made up of 100 U.S. cities, working to inspire our leaders to embrace a vision of healthier communities powered with 100% clean, renewable energy. Ready for 100 is a distributed campaign, creating networks of local leaders who support each other in building a powerful, well-organized movement from the ground up. Local volunteers are working city-by-city pursuing equity through transitions to 100% clean renewable energy that center the needs of affected communities and nationally are building a movement amplifying the stories to demonstrate that 100% is not only possible, but it is happening now.
  • National Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community to foster knowledge exchange, innovation and mutual support for a better tomorrow. The goal of the National Adaptation Forum convening is to provide guidance through the steps of the adaptation process, as well as across the spectrum of adaptation activities in the United States and around the world today. Training sessions and symposiums aim to be cross-sectoral in an effort to demonstrate the integrated nature of successful adaptation. As such they should engage multiple perspectives, either across sectors, geographies or stakeholders.
  • Predictors of global warming risk perceptions among Latino and non-Latino White Americans in the journal Climatic Change by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, May 2020, is a follow-up to their Yale Program on Climate Change Communication research note, listed below.
  • Yale Program on Climate Change Communication research note (January 2020), For the first time, the Alarmed are now the largest of Global Warming’s Six Americas is based on survey results from November 2019. Global Warming’s Six Americas, 2014 Yale report, categorized Americans into six groups based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The “Alarmed” are the most worried about global warming and the most supportive of strong action to reduce carbon pollution. In contrast, the “Dismissive” do not think global warming is happening or human-caused and strongly oppose climate action. The November 2019 survey found that the Alarmed segment is at an all-time high (31%). Nearly six in ten (58%) Americans are now either “Alarmed” or “Concerned” about global warming, which is nearly tripled since 2014. Conversely, the Dismissive (10%) and Doubtful (10%) segments have each decreased by 5 percent over the past five years.
  • Global Warming’s Six Americas, first published in 2009 by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, identified six unique audiences within the American public that understand and respond to climate change in a distinct way. The six America’s included Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged and Doubtful. These range from highest belief in global warming risks and most motivated to lowest belief and least concerned and motivated. This framework has been the basis of numerous studies of these audiences since and is a seminal basis of climate change public engagement.
  • How Cities Are Paying for Climate Resilience: Playbook 1.0, July 2019
    The experiences of eight and other US cities that have begun to pay for large-scale climate-resilience projects, mostly to address sea level rise and flooding, amount to an initial approach—Playbook 1.0—for deciding who will pay for what and how city governments will generate the needed revenue. The Playbook contains eight distinct strategies. It is the foundation of an emerging financial capacity that cities are building in response to climate change.
  • An Introduction to Forest Carbon Offset Markets, North Carolina State Extension, July 2019 is a fact sheet that examines the opportunity that forest carbon sequestration provides in mitigating the impacts of climate change and the source of income it might provide forest landowners as a forest product in the carbon market.
  • Database of Road Transportation Emissions by Boston University provides the most detailed estimates available of local on-road CO2 over the past three decades. The New York Times did an analysis base on BU’s data in The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions in America, October 10, 2019. This article contains emissions information for the Milwaukee and Madison metro areas.
  • The Economics of Electrifying Buildings: How Electric Space and Water Heating Supports Decarbonisation of Residential Buildings, a 2018 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, analyzes the economics and carbon impacts of electrifying residential space and water heating both with and without demand flexibility—the ability to shift energy consumption in time to support grid needs. The study compares the life-cycle costs of cold climate air source heat pumps (ASHPs) with conventional heating with and without air conditioners under various electric rate structures in Oakland, Houston, Providence, and Chicago.
  • These kids want to clear something up…, by the Weather Channel is a 2016 YouTube video of kids talking about climate science and appealing to their parents to take climate change action.
  • Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, a 2015 report that summarizes the results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. It shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.
  • Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States US 250 Report, November 2015, is published by Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3), in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is a collaborative global initiative to explore how individual countries can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to levels consistent with limiting the anthropogenic increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C).
  • Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, a 2013 report from the Environmental Protection Agency, provides evidence that certain kinds of land use and transportation strategies – where and how we build our communities – can reduce the environmental and human health impacts of development.
  • Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, a 2011 report from the University of Michigan and US Green Building Council, looks at the likely impacts of climate change on the built environment and the adaptation strategies, codes, standards, and practices to adopt at the regional, neighborhood, and building scale so that environments designed and built today will be suitable for a range of uncertain futures.
  • Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments, a 2007 guidebook by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, presents a detailed, easy-to-understand process for climate change preparedness based on familiar resources and tools. ICLEI’s website also provides links to a number of other free adaptation resources.

Health Impacts

Economic Development

Tools

  • Energy Efficiency and Corporate Sustainability: Saving Money While Meeting Climate Goals, an ACEEE topic brief of November 2019,  reviews the opportunities for reducing corporate carbon emissions through energy savings and efficiency targets. An ACEEE analysis of 30 corporate sustainability reports finds that all of them mention efficiency, but few deal with it throughout the value chain (in facilities and operations, transportation and distribution, supplier engagement, and product end-use).  ACEEE examines the key role of energy savings in each of these areas and makes recommendations for companies and investors.
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), a tool from the U.S. Department of Energy, provides state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Farm Energy, a website sponsored by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), provides information on the Federal Farm Bill, including summaries of new energy programs, REAP application assistance, and energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that benefit farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
  • Selling the Sun: Establishing Value for Solar Homes, an online course from the U.S. Department of Energy and Elevate Energy, will provide real estate agents and appraisers information and tools to assess the market value of solar.
  • PV Value, a free, online solar valuation tool, calculates the energy production value for a residential or commercial photovoltaic (PV) system, calculating both the cost and income approach to value. It answers the question “How much is solar PV worth?”. The tool is Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice compliant and has been endorsed by the Appraisal Institute for the income approach method.
  • Energy Zones Mapping Tool (EZMT)
    The Energy Zones Mapping Tool by Argonne National Lab is a free online mapping tool to identify potential energy resource areas suitable for power generation and energy corridors in the United States. Features include: Nine energy resources: Biomass, Coal, Geothermal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Solar, Storage, Water, and Wind; flexible modeling of power plant and corridor siting factors such as slope and land protections; tools to generate and analyze potential corridor routes; searchable database of policies and regulations.
  • The Energy Aware Planning Guide, developed by the California Energy Commission, presents a menu of strategies and best management practices to help local governments improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption through transportation and land use and enhance renewable sources of energy. Each strategy section contains general plan language ideas; implementation ideas; case studies; and resources. It also contains supporting information and references to help local governments organize strategies into an Energy Action Plan and estimate the likely energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction impacts of their strategies.
  • Energy Self Assessment, created by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), aids farmers and others in identifying ways to reduce energy consumption or produce renewable energy for various agricultural enterprises. It provides information on equipment and methods that can reduce energy usage as well as the cost savings associated with installing equipment.
  • A climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, EPAs Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs provides information about energy sources that generate no greenhouse gas emissions.    This guide is part of EPA’s Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.
  • Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals Project, a collaboration between the US DOE and NREL, provides tools and resources to support the development of an effective and highly skilled workforce in the residential energy upgrade industry. The project defines quality work through a standard work specifications tool, creates accredited training programs and advances professional certification for workers.
  • NREL’s Renewable Energy Optimization (REopt) early screening tool identifies and prioritizes renewable energy projects at a single site or across a portfolio of sites in multiple cities, states, or countries. Once the REopt analysis is complete, the tool provides a ranked list of renewable energy projects for different potential scenarios and identifies the technology sizes that meet the defined goals at minimum cost, along with the optimal deployment strategies. For more information about REopt, read the fact sheet.
  • The Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Shared Renewable Energy For Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions report from 2016 provides information and tools for policymakers, regulators, utilities, shared renewable energy  developers, program administrators, and others to support the adoption and implementation of shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to low- and moderate-income individuals and households.
  • Energy Strategy for the C-Suite: From Cost Center to Competitive Advantage, An Introduction to the Unified Approach to Energy Transformation“, a brief by EnerNOC, PwC, and Winston Eco-Strategies provides the value proposition for businesses to manage energy strategically and a roadmap for building an energy strategy that will take business performance to a new level.
  • Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report is a comprehensive assessment of advanced energy markets by revenue worldwide and in the US, the Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report found that the advanced energy revenue grew by 8% in 2014 globally or more than 3 times the rate of the global economy.  It is a $200 billion market in the US.  The report was prepared by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy business Leaders.
  • Got Moola, a last updated in 2015 resource from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Division of Agribusiness compiled for small agricultural businesses in Wisconsin, provides links to banks, technical assistance, funding opportunities, and many programs and organizations to help grow their businesses.
  • Transforming the Grid from the Distribution System Out: The Potential for Dynamic Distribution Systems to Create a New Energy Marketplace, released July 2014 by the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI), is a report in which WEI researchers propose a new dynamic distribution system that has the responsibility of tracking load fluctuations, firming intermittent renewables and providing a distribution-level marketplace.
  • Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development” a report by EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program identifies dozens of infrastructure financing options for transit-oriented development. The report provides examples of how some communities are using specific tools for individual infrastructure components, as well as strategies for combining and bundling tools to create plans that address construction phasing and market growth over time.
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists report of May 2013 titled ‘How Renewable Electricity Standards Deliver Economic Benefits‘ details the many economic benefits of Renewable Energy Standards known as Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS).  29 U.S. states, including Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, have each passed an RPS.  The renewable energy market in the U.S. has grown significantly as a result, and the economic benefits have been far-reaching.
  • EPA’s On-Site Renewable Energy Generation guide describes a variety of approaches that local governments can use to advance climate and energy goals by meeting some or all of their electricity needs through on-site renewable energy generation. As a part of EPA’s Local Government and Climate and Energy Strategy Series, it this guide is designed to be used by municipal energy coordinators, local energy and environmental agency staff, environmental and energy advisors to elected officials, utility staff, and community groups.

Studies/Reports

  • An overview of actions local governments can take to create a trained, equity- focused workforce  is provided in Cities and Clean Energy Workforce Development, a topic brief by ACEEE published in January 2020. The brief identifies 37 US cities with energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce development strategies and programs. Milwaukee is among them. Their workforce policy is identified in the ReFresh Milwaukee sustainability plan complemented by energy efficiency policy. One goal is to grow their cluster of energy-efficient and clean tech companies to create local jobs and energy expertise. This is being done in partnership with M-WERC.
  • How Cities Are Paying for Climate Resilience: Playbook 1.0, by Innovation Network for Communities, July 2019 explores the strategies that reflect the leading-edge of urban climate-resilience financing practices. It reviews 8 distinct strategies to obtain public and private financial resources that pay for large-scale climate-resilience. These strategies amount to an initial approach—”Playbook 1.0″—for deciding who will pay what and how city governments will generate the needed revenue.
  • They Grew Up Around Fossil Fuels. Now, Their Jobs Are in Renewables is NYT article March 26, 2019 that explores the stories of people from towns or families across America with roots in the fossil fuel industry who took a career path in renewable energy.
  • Renewables 2019 Global Status Report This report on the global status of solar in 2019 from REN21, an alliance of governments, NGOs, industry groups and more, highlights the current status of the global solar and clean energy market. The report contains eight big ideas: a global overview, policy landscape, market and industry trends, distributed renewables for energy access, investment flows, energy systems integration and enabling technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy in cities. It points out that while renewables are surpassing fossil fuels in the power sector, energy systems need to be rapidly electrified and integrated everywhere. This will require policy support at all levels. Additionally, renewables have the largest growing job market along with economic and environmental improvement potential.
  • Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America, a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council in December 2018 (18 pg),  analyses the clean energy deployment expansion across the Midwest and the jobs, infrastructure development and economic gains created in rural areas as a result.
  • The Wisconsin Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Sensors & Controls for Advanced Energy, a 2018 report from the Wisconsin Energy Institute, Midwest Energy Research Consortium, and American Jobs Project, shows that Wisconsin’s sensors and control industry could potentially support an annual average of 44,000 jobs through 2030. Sensors and controls allow systems to respond to changing conditions (weather, changes in input, changes in demand). Wisconsin is poised to tap into the $287 billion global advanced energy systems market due to its strong existing sensor and controls industry, university research expertise, and potential demand for biodigester technology by agricultural businesses. The report outlines a range of policy recommendations that could encourage the development of this growing industry.
  • The Economics of Electrifying Buildings: How Electric Space and Water Heating Supports Decarbonisation of Residential Buildings, a 2018 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, analyzes the economics and carbon impacts of electrifying residential space and water heating both with and without demand flexibility—the ability to shift energy consumption in time to support grid needs. The study compared the life-cycle costs of cold climate air source heat pumps (ASHPs) with conventional heating with and without air conditioners under various electric rate structures in Oakland, Houston, Providence, and Chicago.
  • Wisconsin State Profile and Energy Estimates, an updated in 2018 resource from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, focuses on energy industry statistics for the state of Wisconsin and compares these to other states.
  • 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, a 2018 publication by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas such as battery storage and sustainable transportation.
  • From Power to Empowerment: Plugging Low Income Communities Into the Clean Energy Economy, a 2017 white paper from Groundswell, Sabol, Patrick, a community power nonprofit, details the critical relationship between energy and economic opportunity in the United States, and the case for making renewable energy accessible to low income households, for expanding and supporting energy efficiency programs that align with community solar, and for driving consumer adoption of these programs through place-based community organizations.
  • Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, presents key findings related to the continued decline in the cost of renewable power generation globally in 2017. Topics include cost reduction drivers for renewable power, power generation industry trends, and the outlook for renewable energy costs.
  • 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, the second annual employment analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy, finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14 percent of all those created in the country.
  • The National Solar Jobs Census, an annual report, last published for 2017, by the Solar Foundation, reviews current employment and projected growth in the United States solar industry. The reports includes factors likely to impact the solar industry, as well as information on research and development, production, sale, installation, and use of all solar technologies.
  • Bringing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Low-Income Communities, a 2016 resource from the Environmental Protection Agency, offers informational resources to help state and local energy, environmental, housing, social services agencies, non-profits, and utilities understand successful models that they can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by bringing energy efficiency and renewable energy to low-income communities.
  • 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows that “the U.S. economy has now grown by 10% since 2007, while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%.”
  • The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuels, a last revised in 2016 resource from the Union of Concerned Scientists, examines the hidden health and environmental costs, or externalities, resulting from the extraction, transportation, and consumption of fossil fuels. Externalities including global warming, air pollution, water use, and fossil fuel waste are presented and explained alongside real world examples and the latest research.
  • Integrating Community Values into the Full Cost of Electricity, a 2016 white paper by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas, examines movement toward community or values-based energy systems and asks if these values should be considered as one of the inputs into a model for the cost of electric service. Traditional cost modeling assumes individuals and communities will choose the lowest cost source for electricity; however, the marketplace is increasingly showing otherwise. The study looks at community energy systems including: District energy utilities, community-owned renewable generation, community approved use of eminent domain, and community choice aggregation. This paper is part of a series of white papers on the full cost of electricity.
  • Strategic Roadmap on the Energy Water Nexus, a 2015 report from the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and The Water Council (TWC), projects that the EWN market will grow dramatically from the current $240 billion to nearly $500 billion by 2025. The EWN roadmapping report significantly expands the baseline EWN opportunity set to include many large water and energy embedded consuming applications in agriculture, industry, buildings, and residences outside of the traditional water and energy cycles. The report also defines and classifies six market segments and numerous products that make up the industry, focusing on the most potentially impactful EWN applications. Market projections, by market segment, from both top-down and bottom-up projections are contained in the report.
  • Empowered: A Tale of Three Cities Taking Charge of Their Energy Future, a 2015 book by Midwest Energy News and author Bentham Paulos, examines the current clash between regulated utilities and cities and their citizens over clean energy sources, energy pricing, and market choice in Boulder, CO, Minneapolis, MN, and Madison, WI.
  • Spatial patterns of solar photvoltaic system adoption: The influence of neighbors and the built environment, a 2014 article in the Journal of Economic Geography, examines the main drivers influencing the spread of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system adoption. The analysis may be useful to marketers and policymakers interested in promoting PV systems.
  • Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies, a 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, focuses on four technology revolutions that are here today: Onshore wind power, polysilicon photovoltaic modules, LED lighting, and electric vehicles. Since 2008 they have achieved dramatic reductions in cost accompanied by a surge in consumer, industrial, and commercial deployment. This analysis explains both the magnitude of and mechanisms behind these nascent revolutions. Each of the sectors examined has also become a major opportunity for America’s clean energy economy.
  • City Power Play – 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy, a 2013 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, shows local government officials how to boost their local economies with clean energy policies that address key economic and environmental problems. A case study is provided for each policy.
  • The Solarize Guidebook: A community guide to collective purchasing of residential PV systems, a 2012 guidebook by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the City of Portland, provides a roadmap for project planners and solar advocates who want to create their own successful Solarize campaigns. It describes the key elements of the Solarize Portland campaigns and variations from projects across the country, along with lessons learned and planning templates. The guidebook is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
  • Keeping it in the Community: Sustainable Funding for Local Energy Initiatives, a 2012 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, outlines local funding options for community energy efficiency projects including utility partnerships, energy or carbon taxes, systems benefit funds, bonds, and revolving loan funds. Case studies of city programs using each funding strategy are presented.
  • Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), a 2012 factsheet from the Solar Energy Industries Association, describes what a PPA is, how they benefit consumers, and key points interested consumers should consider before entering into a PPA.
  • Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal, a 2011 paper published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, presents a life cycle study that analyzes the full range of monetized, external ecological and public health costs resulting from using coal for electricity generation. The authors “estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually … Accounting for the many external costs over the life cycle for coal-derived electricity conservatively doubles to triples the price of coal per kWh of electricity generated” [beyond the prices we pay for electricity]. Amounts and costs of each of the health, social, employment, and environmental impacts are provided.
  • Solar PV Project Financing: Regulatory and Legislative Challenges for Third-Party PPA System Owners, a 2010 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, details five challenges that Third-Party PPA system owners are facing: (1) definition of electric utility as seller of electricity; (2) power generation equipment included in definition of electric utility; (3) defintion of provider of electric services; (4) municipal utilities’ and rural cooperatives’ concerns over opting into deregulation of electricity generation, and; (5) determining whether third-party owned systems may net meter.

Webinars/Videos

Educator Resources

  • The Center for Green Schools, Building Learners program empowers k-12 students to use their buildings as learning laboratories and master STEM concepts. Students use Arc to collect and analyze data, and they conduct real-world investigations that inform sustainability improvements at their school. Working with their school’s facility manager and a volunteer green building professional serving as a mentor, students get exposure to sustainability careers and build positive relationships with members of their community.

    Piloted for two years, in fall 2019, the two-year Building Learners program was purchased by six schools, to become the inaugural class. A program of the US Green Building Council, Green Schools is rooted in the idea that all students deserve sustainable schools that improve their health and prepare them for 21st century careers.

  • CLEAN Teaching Climate and Energy Science provides a guide for educators built off the original climate and energy literacy frameworks. Educators can find summaries of each principle, possible challenges when teaching the principle, suggested pedagogic approaches for each grade level for grades 6-16, and relevant teaching materials from the CLEAN reviewed collection.
  • Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education is intended for formal and informal energy education, standards development, curriculum design, assessment development, and educator trainings. The guide is for anyone involved in energy education and focuses on areas of energy understanding, essential for all citizens that will help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions.
  • Spanish-language version of the USDOE Get Current coloring book is part of an ongoing effort to expand educational resources for the growing Spanish-speaking population in the United States.
  • The NRES 730-Energy Education in the Classroom KEEP course can be adapted for 4H face-to-face training; speak with Susan Schuller (susan.schuller@uwsp.edu).
  • KEEP, The Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program, provides resources geared to educators to increase their own knowledge about energy and to provide resources for students.
  • KEEP Energy Resources, fact sheets and activities that can be downloaded on energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.
  • NRES 733 Energy Education: Concepts and Practices, the course overview includes resources and activities and basic energy facts – free.
  • Renewable Energy Education Online Course NRES 735 (content is free; credit option is available through the Unviersity of Wisconsin-Stevens Point).

Energy Efficiency

Tools

  • Mayor’s Toolkit for Energy Efficiency by ACEEE, June 2020, describes seven strategies mayors can implement to improve the energy efficiency of their cities. It includes foundational policies, current city best practices, and many useful resources for policy and program development.
  • Focus on Energy’s new Small Business Online Assessment tool helps businesses create a customized action plan by asking questions about your current equipment and operations and then recommending areas where you can make energy-efficient upgrades and realize great savings. Customers who complete an online assessment will have the opportunity to receive a FREE energy-saving pack to help kick-start their savings.To learn more about making improvements your small business’ energy efficiency, visit focusonenergy.com/smallbusiness.
  • ACEEE’s updated Local Clean Energy Self-Scoring Tool lets you score any community’s energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts using the metrics from ACEE’s 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard. The tool can be used to evaluate community-wide initiatives, government operations, and buildings, utility, and transportation policies.
  • End-Use Load Profiles for the U.S. Building Stock  Lawrence Berkley National Lab (LBNL)  and Argonne National Lab LBNL are collaborating on a multiyear study to develop a database of end-use load profiles that quantify how and when energy is used for all major end uses, building types, and climate regions in the U.S. commercial and residential building stock. End-use load profiles are critically important to understanding the time-sensitive value of energy efficiency, demand response, and other distributed energy resources. This foundational data set will help electric utilities, grid operators, manufacturers, government entities, and research organizations make critical decisions about prioritizing research and development, utility resource and distribution system planning, and state and local energy planning and regulation. To view the End Use Load Profile Inventory, September 2019.

  • The Potential for Battery Energy Storage to Provide Peaking Capacity in the United States, a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, examines the potential for utility-scale energy storage to provide peak capacity in the national grid. Energy storage is crucial to making the most out of our energy sources, and lithium-ion batteries are one way to do it. The researchers looked at how much peak capacity could be served by storage with different durations, and how this could change using solar and wind.
  • The Flip Your Fridge Calculator, a tool from ENERGY STAR, shows how much your old (10 years and older) refrigerator or freezer costs to operate and how much you can save by flipping it to ENERGY STAR. Carbon pollution savings are shown as well.
  • EnergyBoom, a website, helps consumers identify the most energy efficient products from laptops and waterheaters to LED lights, cars, and trucks. They use data and analysis from independent and government sources and report the basis for each listing.
  • The purpose of the policy tool for new buildings, an interactive tool by the Global Building Performance Network (GBPN), shows how 25 of the “world’s best” energy codes (loosely defined) compare across 12 metrics, including their holistic approach to addressing all energy loads in a building, the technical revision process, the establishment of future EE targets, enforcement standards, and integration with other related policy packages. The tool is designed to help identify the combination of elements to move the building stock in a particular region towards zero energy.
  • The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), a tool from the Green Electronics Council, uses the standard from a global rating system for greener computers and other imaging equipment. The EPEAT system combines strict, comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use, and recycling with ongoing independent verification of manufacturer claims. EPEAT can be specified as a requirement in purchasing proposals. Model contract language is provided on the website for PCs/displays, imaging equipment, and televisions. Anyone can look up products and see the level of certification different brands and models have achieved.
  • Municipal Energy Planning: An Energy Efficiency Workbook, a step-by-step guide prepared by University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension faculty serving on statewide Energy Conservation and Sustainability Teams, provides information for developing an energy efficiency (or energy conservation) plan for municipal governments. This guide seeks to address an educational need of elected officials and municipal staff to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and operations.
  • Smart Location Database version 2.0, published by EPA’s Smart Growth Program, is a consistent nationwide GIS data resource for measuring location efficiency. The Smart Location Database may be appropriate for use in local and regional planning studies when local data is unavailable. The database includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale. Users can download data for their selected region, view data online in an interactive map, or access data through a variety of web services.
  • SmarterHouse, a website by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Enervee, helps consumers find quality products that reduce their energy bills. Consumers can visit the website to find energy-saving tips and buying guidance for purchasing new products like refrigerators and TVs, rated by the 0 – 100 Enervee Score. Shoppers can visit Enervee’s portal to find product information, pricing, and incentives offered by their utility.
  • EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager allows users to track and assess energy and water consumption across a portfolio of buildings by entering energy consumption and cost data into a Portfolio Manager account. Users can benchmark building energy performance, assess energy management goals, and identify strategic opportunities for energy savings.
  • ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient 2019 List recognizes the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.
  • 2018 Energy Star Top Cities, an annual list from EPA, shows which metro areas were home to the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year. These regions continue to make impressive strides in cutting American energy bills and pollution through energy efficiency. More than 32,000 buildings have earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR since 1999!
  • The 10 Tactics of Successful Energy Managers, a 2015 eBook by EnergyCAP, Inc. 2015 shows how the value of energy information is on the rise, how energy performance mandates, both public and private, are proliferating, and how energy management tools are becoming more powerful and complex.  This concise eBook provides useful information in a clear, simple, stepwise format to assist energy managers in effectively and efficiently tracking and managing their organization’s energy use and communicating energy savings and performance internally and externally.

Studies/Reports

  • ACEEE’s Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard assesses the 52 largest US electric utilities, including Xcel Energy and We Energies on their energy efficiency program performance, program offerings and enabling mechanisms for efficiency.  The Scorecard provides utilities, regulators, and others, benchmarking data and a roadmap they can use to track performance and strengthen utility-sector energy efficiency.There is a one page analysis of Midwest utilities as well that scores 12 utility companies in the region. The page offers more detail on the top performers in the 3 assessment categories along with those that underperform. Xcel MN is highlighted for its above average performance in all three categories, while We Energies is highlighted in program offerings and enabling mechanisms for efficiency.
  • Efficiency Standards for Rentals, by Rocky Mountain Institute, is part of an action guide website that helps cities make housing more affordable while reducing emissions by establishing minimum efficiency standards for rental housing.
  • Breakthrough Batteries: Powering an Era of Clean Electrification, a report by  Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), October 2019, shows that the global green energy transition is happening faster than predicted due to massive investments in new battery technologies and applications. The cost of battery manufacturing capacity is expected drop more than half between 2018 and 2023 and will contribute to replacing natural gas plants and other infrastructure across the fossil fuel value chain. RMI examines what this means for industry players and identifies six emerging battery technologies with significant market potential for commercialization. The report identifies ramifications for investors, regulators, policymakers, and other in the industry as well as strategies that can reduce potential stranded asset risks.
  • Here Come the Wedding Bells: The Surprise Engagement of Energy Efficiency and Electrification, a 2018 Whitepaper by the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp (WECC), discusses what makes electrification beneficial, how the value of beneficial electrification can be assessed, best practices for implementation, and more.
  • ​ The High Cost of Energy in Rural America: Household Energy Burdens and Opportunities for Energy Efficiency, a 2018 coalition report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), focuses on the energy burdens shouldered by those living in rural America. It finds that rural households across the United States spend a disproportionately high share of their income on energy bills – for air conditioning, heating, lighting, appliances, etc. – of about 40% more than their metropolitan counterparts. Energy efficiency upgrades can lessen these burdens by as much as 25%, resulting in up to $400 in annual energy bill savings while also reducing indoor health risks that can contribute to asthma, respiratory problems, heart disease, arthritis, and rheumatism for some households.
  • Quantifying the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: A Guide for State and Local Governments, a 2018 report by EPA, discusses how state and local energy efficiency and renewable energy investments can produce significant benefits, including lower fuel and electricity costs, increased grid reliability, better air quality and public health, and more job opportunities. While the costs of clean energy initiatives get the most attention, less is devoted to the many benefits of clean energy, often because there isn’t a clear understanding of the benefits and how to estimate them. Analysts can use EPA’s this updated edition to learn how to quantify these benefits so that they can compare costs and benefits and comprehensively assess the value of energy policy and program choices.
  • Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing: A Guide for Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs, a 2018 report by EPA, helps readers understand energy efficiency in terms of benefits, step-by-step approaches to green, affordable housing, key stakeholders, supportive policy mechanisms, implementation strategies, and investment and financing opportunities. It includes case studies from communities across the United States and links to resources, tools, and sources of funding.
  • Energy Savings, Consumer Economics, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions from Replacing Oil and Propane Furnaces, Boilers, and Water Heaters with Air-Source Heat Pumps, a 2018 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), found that when it is time to replace heating or cooling equipment or in new construction, high-efficiency electric heat pumps or water heaters can often provide an attractive alternative to homeowners looking for a cost-effective solution. This strategy is part of the clean energy transformation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and electrification using carbon-free electricity.
  • Lifting the High Energy Burden in America’s Largest Cities: How Energy Efficiency Can Improve Low-Income and Underserved Communities, a 2016 coalition report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), contains measurements of the energy burden of households in 48 of the largest American cities, including Milwaukee. It finds that low-income, African-American, Latino, low-income multifamily, and renter households all spend a greater proportion of their income on utilities than the average family. The report identifies energy efficiency as an underutilized strategy that can help reduce high energy burdens by as much as 30% and the policies and programs to ramp up energy efficiency investments in low-income and underserved communities.
  • Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan: Steps to Success and Best Practices in Developing State Lead-by-Example Programs and Considerations for Clean Power Plan Compliance, two 2016 white papers by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, guide states as they embark upon the path to meeting Clean Power Plan emission reduction targets. Even with the Supreme Court stay, energy efficiency is a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable, and a strategy for reducing pollution.
  • Energy Efficiency in Separate Tenant Spaces – A Feasibility Study, a 2016 report by the US Department of Energy, finds significant potential to improve energy efficiency during the design and construction of tenant spaces and describes several possible steps to encourage owners and tenants to improve the efficiency of those spaces.
  • The Greatest Energy Story You Haven’t Heard: How Investing in Energy Efficiency Changed the US Power Sector and Gave Us a Tool to Tackle Climate Change, a 2016 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), quantitatively discusses the importance of energy efficiency in the US power sector.
  • Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan: Steps to Success and Best Practices in Developing State Lead-by-Example Programs and Considerations for Clean Power Plan Compliance, two 2016 white papers from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), provide a “how-to” guide for states as they embark upon the path to meeting Clean Power Plan emission reduction targets. Even with the Supreme Court stay, energy efficiency is a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable, as well as a strategy for reducing pollution.
  • The 2015 State Energy Scorecard, a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), shows Wisconsin ranked 22nd in energy efficiency. With a score of 18 out of 50, criteria included items like financial incentives, public building requirements, fleets, performance contracting, and research and development.  Massachusetts ranked first scoring 44, followed by California scoring 43.5. Illinois and Minnesota both ranked 10th. Iowa ranked 12th and Michigan 14th. Wisconsin’s rank fell from 17th in 2014.
  • Clean Energy Champions, a 2015 report by CleanEnergy States Alliance, shows the importance of state programs and policies. States have pursued many paths to the robust clean energy expansion underway today. The report provides a comprehensive review of all the significant ways in which states have advanced clean energy in the last 15 years with 31 case studies. The study finds four lessons for state effectiveness in advancing clean energy: innovation, consumer protection, distributed generation policies, and broad-based, nonpartisan, or bi-partisan involvement by both parties.
  • New Horizons for Energy Efficiency, a 2015 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), found that 22 percent of the total projected electricity use in the year 2030 could be saved by the use of certain energy efficient practices.
  • Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities, a 2013 guide released by the EPA as part of the Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, describes how water and wastewater facilities can achieve multiple benefits by improving energy efficiency of their buildings and day-to-day operations. It includes steps and considerations for developing and implementing these improvements to energy efficiency.
  • Saving Water and Energy through Clothes Washer Replacement in the Great Lakes Region, a 2013 white paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), profiles various opportunities for energy and water savings in the residential and commercial sectors.
  • Army Net Zero: Energy Roadmap and Project Summary, a 2013 report by the US Army partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), assesses opportunities to increase energy security through improved energy efficiency and optimized renew­able energy strategies at nine of its installations. The Army tasked NREL to help develop roadmaps and recommend energy projects to meet the Army’s Net Zero goals. This report provides summary information, sample projects, and examples.
  • Beyond the Tip of the Energy Iceberg: Why Retrofits Create More Value Than You Think, an 2013 article by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), discusses the value beyond energy cost savings (VBECs) of deep energy efficient retrofits, including saved energy costs, health and productivity benefits, reputation and leadership, and risk reduction. RMI developed a retrofit value model for assessing VBECs and shows how value knowledge will expand energy investment.
  • The 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), ranks 34 of the most populous U.S. cities on policies to advance energy efficiency. The report includes recommendations and strategies for all cities to lower energy use. The report ranks cities exclusively on energy efficiency efforts. Cities are evaluated on what actions they are taking to reduce energy use in five key areas: buildings; transportation; energy and water utility efforts; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives.
  • Bright Future Seen for LED Streetlights, a 2012 article from Sustainable City Network, describes several factors to ask about in purchasing LED streetlights to ensure maximum performance and ultimate payback.
  • Keeping it in the Community: Sustainable Funding for Local Energy Initiatives, a 2012 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), outlines local funding options for community energy efficiency projects including utility partnerships, energy or carbon taxes, systems benefit funds, bonds, and revolving loan funds. Case studies of city programs using each funding strategy are presented.
  • Energy Efficiency in K-12 Schools, a 2011 report by EPA, discusses how energy costs are second only to personnel costs as the leading draw on K-12 school district operating budgets. The report describes how to achieve energy savings and is designed for school district energy program managers, school districts and school boards, local government agencies, and mayors and city councils. The report is part of the Local Government Strategy Series.
  • The 2011 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), is a comprehensive ranking of the states based on leadership in energy efficiency policy, energy program implementation, and best practices to advance energy efficiency in residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors.
  • Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, a 2009 report from Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory

Webinars/Videos

  • Understanding and managing power quality issues with LED lighting, a 2018 webinar by Seventhwave, discusses LED lighting power quality specifications that should be considered before purchasing and installing LED systems. Also discussed are several current voluntary and mandatory government and industry standards that offer guidance and present minimum recommended values to avoid common issues that arise with LED lighting systems. Viewers can learn about strategies to troubleshoot LED lighting issues on their own, as well.
  • Public Procurement of Energy Efficient Products: Lessons from Around the World, a 2013 webinar from the Responsible Purchasing Network, features discussion by representatives of the World Bank, US EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program, and the District of Columbia’s procurement office about key elements of a successful program for procuring energy-efficient products, including product testing and labeling systems; policy drivers; educational strategies; incentives to bring about behavior change; tracking and reporting systems; and more.

Energy Organizations

Wisconsin Organizations

  • Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
  • Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)
  • Focus on Energy operates out of the Office of Energy Innovation and functions as a public benefits program, funded through utility partners. Focus on Energy’s programs address businesses, industry, residents, local governments, and schools in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Groundswell develops community solar projects and programs that connect solar power with economic empowerment.
  • (KEEP) Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program
  • Mid-West Energy Research Consortium 
  • North Central Region Water Network The North Central Region Water Network is a 12-state collaboration designed to enhance connectivity across regional and state water projects, develop and carry out integrated outreach and education efforts, and coordinate projects with measurable short and long-term environmental and social impacts.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy, PACE Wisconsin, enables commercial property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements. Projects financed using PACE can generate positive cash flow upon completion with no up-front, out-of-pocket cost to property owners—eliminating the financial barriers that typically prevent investment in revitalizing aging properties. PACE Financing is sourced from an open lending market and secured through a voluntary PACE Special Charge, repaid directly to the lender. Like property taxes, PACE Financings may be transferred to the next property owner if the property is sold.Eligible commercial properties include multifamily buildings of five units or more, as well as industrial, non-profit, agriculture, and hospitality properties. PACE financing is available to businesses in counties that have signed onto the PACE Wisconsin program.  A list of participating counties is found here.
  • Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC)
  • RENEW Wisconsin (RENEW), an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, advances state renewable energy policies through advocacy, education, and collaborative initiatives.
  • Slipstream is a nonprofit that creates, tests, delivers and scales the next generation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that move us farther, faster toward a clean energy economy. They partner with utilities, local and state governments, regulatory agencies and other organizations to inspire new solutions to big energy challenges.
  • The Customers First Coalition (CFC) is an issue advocacy non-profit organization dedicated to the interests of power customers of all sizes in Wisconsin. Since coming together over twenty years ago, Customers First has advanced a balanced approach to shaping energy policy that promotes consensus among Wisconsin’s energy stakeholders and produces sensible solutions to the State’s energy challenges.
  • The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. MREA education ranges from the technical, like trainings and certifications for solar and wind installation, to the broad via its annual Energy Fair for the public.
  • The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a website from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers cost-share grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency improvement or renewable energy development projects.
  • The Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) researches electricity systems, transportation and fuels, and sustainability and society, focusing on the transition to new, clean energy systems and solutions . WEI fosters interdisciplinary projects, educates and prepares the energy leaders of today and tomorrow, and enhances public understanding of energy issues.
  • The Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation (OEI) promotes innovative and effective energy policies and programs for the benefit of Wisconsin’s citizens and businesses.
  • US Green Building Council Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
  • Wisconsin Clean Cities
  • Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WisCEF)
  • Wisconsin Counties Association
  • Wisconsin Green Muslims
  • Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action
  • Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts – WICCI …WICCI’s Mission is to generate and share information that can limit vulnerability to climate change in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. WICCI was formed in 2007  by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. WICCI engages citizens; private and public decision-makers; and scientists from Wisconsin and the region in a collaborative network to
    • Develop scientific understanding of climate impacts;
    • Identify vulnerability to climate change and climatic variability; and
    • Enable better planning, investment, and other adaptation activities.
  • Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), through the Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI), works with state manufacturers to identify and implement projects targeting energy and environmental improvements including energy upgrade audits. PSI Services involve three phases—diagnostic, assessment, and implementation—focused on realizing the highest ROI that can be achieved through profitable sustainability solutions.
  • Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council

Federal Organizations

National Organizations

  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  • American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
  • American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
  • Electric Utility Consultants Inc. (EUCI)
  • Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR)
  • Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) Formed in 2013, the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) is a non-profit organization comprised of owners, operators, developers, suppliers and investors in the microgrid industry working together to advocate for policies and regulations that support microgrid deployment. The MRC promotes widespread implementation of microgrids through laws, regulations, and tariffs that support microgrid access to the market, compensation for services, and a level playing field for deployment and operation.
  • National Adaptation Forum (NAF)
  • NRCS National Water and Climate Center
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), a website from PACENation, offers details about a local government initiative in which private capital funding allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for residential and commercial buildings. With PACE financing, interested owners repay the cost of energy improvements through an assessment on their property taxes for up to 20 years.
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Sierra Club
  • Slipstream, a combination of former organizations Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) and Seventhwave, partners with utilities, local and state governments, regulatory agencies, and other organizations to create, test, deliver and scale the next generation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
  • Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) helps electric utilities implement and deploy clean energy and distributed resources.
  • The Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP) is a federal-state funding and information sharing project that aims to accelerate the deployment of electrical energy storage technologies in the U.S. ESTAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, managed by Sandia National Laboratories, and administered by the Clean Energy States Alliance.
  • The Transport Decarbonization Alliance (TDA) brings together leading cities, companies and countries to accelerate the worldwide transformation of the transport sector towards a net-zero emission mobility system before 2050. The TDA builds on statements of intent by those Heads of States, Mayors and CEOs that have expressed their intent to decarbonize before 2050. It targets all transport emissions from all modes of passenger mobility and freight transport. The Alliance aims to become the most visible, creative and effective nexus of public/private cooperation to allow the transport sector to meet the Paris Agreement objectives.
  • The U.S. Climate and Health Alliance is a national network of health and public health practitioners dedicated to addressing the threats of climate change to health.
  • US Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • Windustry, a non-profit partnered with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), provides information and tools for evaluating easement contracts, landowner options, and economic impacts of wind energy to rural landowners, elected officials, utility representatives, and community planners.

International Organizations

  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • International Living Future Institute (ILFI) – is a global network dedicated to creating a healthy future for all. ILFI administers the Living Building Challenge and Zero Energy Certification among other standards. The Living Building Challenge is a philosophy, certification, and advocacy tool for projects to move beyond merely being less bad and to become truly regenerative. The living building challenge consists of seven performance categories, or “petals”: place, water, energy, health + happiness, materials, equity and beauty. Zero Energy standards requires that one hundred percent of the building’s energy needs on a net annual basis be supplied by on-site renewable energy. No combustion is allowed. Certification is based on actual, not modeled, performance.

  • International Solar Energy Society (ISES)
  • Project Drawdown is a global research organization that identifies, reviews, and analyzes the most viable solutions to climate change, and shares these findings with the world.

Other Useful Sites

  • Energy and Civilization: A History
    This book by Vaclav Smil explores how human innovations in energy have driven economic and cultural progress over the past 10,000 years. He traces the ways that society exploited energy in order to move forward and describes how energy innovations enabled major societal and technological advancements.
  • eXtension Energy Communities of Practice are resource areas used to organize expertise of professional educators on a specific subject matter. The resource areas also feature answers from experts to user-submitted questions. UW-Extension offers Communities of Practice in farm, home, and wood energy:
    • Farm Energy provides expertise on topics such as anaerobic digestion, biofuel, biomass and energy efficiency and renewable energy for rural applications.
    • Home Energy features information on energy efficiency for both existing and new homes and on renewable energy systems.
    • Wood Energy presents information on wood as renewable energy with wood sources, technologies, benefits, concerns, policies and incentives and provides case studies and success stories of wood energy applications.
  • Firesouls on Chequamegon Bay,” a Cooperative Extension video, traces the development of a regional community sustainability movement in the Chequamegon Bay area. The region boasts 5 Eco-municipalities, the successful Alliance for Sustainability and a wide variety of green initiatives including Energy Independent Community. The story highlights how UW Extension educators have been engaged in the initiative, as encouragement for others trying to implement sustainable community initiatives in their hometowns.
  • Star Community Rating System Planning Guide provides guidance on how to use STAR to integrate sustainability into comprehensive, strategic, and sustainability plans.
  • Sustainable Marshfield,” a Cooperative Extension video, is a narrative of Marshfield’s journey toward sustainability. This city of 20,000 in Central Wisconsin is taking action to improve quality of life, work toward energy independence and make the city a place that embraces the future.
  • The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is an esteemed certification in the solar industry. The NABCEP locator map lists NABCEP certified solar professionals throughout North America with a search engine by state and certification category. Wisconsin has 41 NABCEP professionals: PV Installer (35), PV Technical Sales (4), Solar Heating Installer (2).
  • The UW- Madison Extension Environmental Resources Center  provides education, information and technical assistance to promote sustainable use of natural resources in program areas such as energy and climate, green building, access to plentiful, sustainably managed sources of food, water and energy.
  • Today in Energy, a webpage from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, provides a daily briefing on energy in the US. The briefings explain topical data, analysis, issues and trends to build understanding of energy issues. The webpage contains an archive of briefings back to 2011 and displays energy commodity prices for each day
  • Wisconsin Land Use Megatrends: Energy gives an overview of energy production and consumption trends in Wisconsin over the past 30+ years and discusses the potential and land use impacts of different future energy scenarios.

Energy Policies

  • Green Power in Wisconsin is a factsheet on the programs and policies for generating electricity with renewable energy sources in Wisconsin.

Local and Tribal Government Policies and Plans

  • 100% Renewable Madison: Achieving 100% Renewable Energy & Zero Net Carbon For City Operations & Leading The Community, a November 2018 report commissioned by the City of Madison, offers three paths with timelines and costs for the City to get to 100 percent renewable energy and carbon. The report includes strategies to accelerate progress toward reaching these goals particularly for local government operations, but also for the larger Madison area community. The City chose the 100 percent by 2030 goal for City operations as a result, which is guiding budgeting and programming for implementation.
  • Energy Independent Community Plans are linked on the Energy Independence tab of this website.
  • Middleton Renewable Energy Resolution, the 2018 100 Percent Renewable Energy Resolution for the City of Middleton in Dane County, seeks to address global warming through ambitious yet achievable targets for energy-use reduction and renewable energy generation for City operations and the community as a whole. The mayor signed the Mayors’ Pledge in 2017 to support the Paris Climate Agreement. The City plans to reduce energy use for City operations by at least 15 percent by 2030; and by 50 percent by 2050; for community-wide energy needs by at least 10 percent by 2030; and by 40 percent by 2050. The City plans to meet 66 percent of City operations with renewable energy by 2030; 88 percent by 2035; and 100 percent by 2040; 21 percent of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2030; 80 percent by 2040; and 100 percent by 2050. For more information and the infographic
  • The Madison Sustainability Plan: Fostering Environmental, Economic and Social Resilience, a 2011 plan written by the Sustainable Madison Committee (SMC) for the City of Madison in Dane County, outlines the vision for becoming sustainable as well as goals in ten categories: Natural Systems; Planning and Design; Transportation; Energy and Climate; Economic Development; Employment and Workforce Development; Education, Arts, and Community; Affordability and Social Equity; Children, Health, and Safety; and Arts, Design, and Culture.

State and Federal Government Policies and Plans

Studies/Reports

  • Securing Wisconsin’s Energy Future – A Wisconsin’s Green Fire Policy Analysis
    This February 2020 white paper by Gary Radloff addresses developments in energy distribution and management that help shape opportunities to improve Wisconsin’s energy system, and recommends policy for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) and the state to move toward implementing the opportunities. The greatest opportunity highlighted is to focus future investments in modernizing Wisconsin’s energy system to enhance energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve system reliability and resiliency.
  • The Wisconsin Clean Energy Toolkit by RENEW Wisconsin, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, and Sierra Club is a comprehensive guide to energy policy options in Wisconsin. This resource is designed to help guide communities of varying sizes and with differing resources as they consider, craft, and implement clean energy policies, and how to ensure the greatest return on potential clean energy investments.
  • A Tale of Two States: Minnesota’s Clean Energy Policies Outpace Wisconsin’s, This Environmental Law and Policy Center report compares the clean energy policies and performance of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • Renewables 2019 Global Status Report
    This report on the global status of solar in 2019 from REN21, an alliance of governments, NGOs, industry groups and more, highlights the current status of the global solar and clean energy market. The report contains eight big ideas: a global overview, policy landscape, market and industry trends, distributed renewables for energy access, investment flows, energy systems integration and enabling technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy in cities. It points out that while renewables are surpassing fossil fuels in the power sector, energy systems need to be rapidly electrified and integrated everywhere. This will require policy support at all levels. Additionally, renewables have the largest growing job market along with economic and environmental improvement potential.
  • Net Metering in Missouri, a 2018 report from RENEW Missouri, details net metering’s potential impact on energy affordability and reliability for stakeholders. Net metering is a billing mechanism that allows solar energy system owners to earn credits for the electricity they add to the grid. Findings: Net metering contains ongoing benefits while the main costs to ratepayers are either one-time administrative fees or transfer fees from cross-subsidization effects.
  • Standards and Requirements for Solar Equipment, Installation, and Licensing and Certification: A Guide for States and Municipalities, a 2017 guide from the CleanEnergy States Alliance, provides information on standards and requirements for solar equipment, installation, and licensing and certification. The guide is designed for state and municipal officials who are developing or revising solar standards and requirements.
  • A Handbook for States: Incorporating Renewable Energy Into State Compliance Plans for EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a 2015 publication from the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, details how states can incorporate renewable energy into their plans to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Renewable energy can provide large emissions reductions in a cost-effective manner when part of a balanced energy portfolio and can provide positive economic returns to a state. This handbook contains detailed information on the impacts of renewable energy policies and programs, calculating carbon reductions from renewable energy, and drafting compliance plans incorporating renewable energy.
  • Solar Power Purchase Agreements: a Toolkit for Local Governments, a 2015 toolkit from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), can help local governments overcome the common challenges and costs associated with solar power purchase agreements (PPAs). The toolkit is intended to provide the information local governments need to accomplish their solar procurement goals. It contains a variety of resources including general guidance on Request for Proposal (RFP), previously published reports, fact sheets, model PPAs, prior webinars, example RFPs, and executed PPAs.
  • Deploying Distributed Energy Storage: Near-Term Regulatory Considerations to Maximize Benefits, a 2015 report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), identifies near-term regulatory policy considerations to help regulators and to facilitate growth in distributed energy storage. The report reviews current state policies and examines: Updating interconnection standards, clarifying eligibility rules for Net Energy Metering programs, creating markets for ancillary services and demand response, designing rate structures that send economic signals to energy storage customers, and implementing a broader scope for distribution system planning and management.
  • Nevada Net Energy Metering Impacts Evaluation, a 2014 study from Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, investigates the value of distributed solar to the state’s utilities. Findings for 2014 and 2015 are that, under the current rate structure, rooftop solar reduces costs for all. It is a net benefit to the utility companies and to all Nevada ratepayers – even customers without solar.
  • Evaluation of Net Metering in Vermont, a 2014-revised report for the Vermont Public Service Department, analyzes the cross-subsidization effects of net metering on Vermont’s ratepayers. Cross-subsidization exists when customers using net metering systems do not pay for utility fixed cost and those costs are shifted onto other retail electricity customers. The report found that net-metered systems do not impose a significant net cost to ratepayers who are not net metering participants.
  • Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for Electric Utilities?, a 2014 article in Energy Law Journal, examines the disruptive competition facing electric utilities from significant increases in on-site solar generation, as well as new public policies and business practices. The authors detail evidence driving adaptation, identify the special vulnerabilities of utilities as regulated monopolies, and consider how utilities might effectively adapt to emerging conditions.
  • Third-Party Distributed Generation: Issues and Challenges for Policymakers, a 2014 report from the Energy Center of Wisconsin (now Slipstream), addresses the impact that third-party distributed generation has on utilities and the associated rate design implications. With solar PV system installations increasing and third-party distributed generation contributing to the trend, utilities have acted to reduce the short-term financial impact by requesting approval of increased monthly fixed fees for customers. This report focuses on the market trends in distributed generation, policy actions of different states, and details the current utility cost.
  • Guide to Successful Implementation of State Combined Heat and Power Policies, a 2013 report from the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network, provides state utility regulators and other state policymakers with actionable information to assist them in implementing key state policies that impact combined heat and power.
  • The Potential Impact of Solar PV on Electricity Markets in Texas, a 2012 study conducted by the Brattle Group, evaluates the potential effects of adding solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in the Texas wholesale energy market. Using a hypothetical situation, the study finds that total electricity production costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy prices for electric customers were reduced. During summer months, when energy prices are highest, the short-term benefits of increased solar PV production approach or exceed the likely cost of incremental solar PV generation.
  • Solar Power Generation in the US: Too Expensive or a Bargain?, a 2011 report, identifies the combined value that solar electric power plants deliver to utility ratepayers and society’s taxpayers. Using New York as a case study, the report found that, overall, solar electric installations deliver between 15 to 40 cents per kWh to ratepayers and taxpayers. The report identified benefits from solar electric power plants, which include environmental, fuel price mitigation, outage risk protection, and long-term economic growth components.
  • Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government, a toolkit from UW-Extension, provides ideas and descriptions of specific actions that a local government can take to transform itself into a model of sustainable practices. These are practices that can result in cost savings and increased employment, as well as enhance environmental quality and community well-being. The message of this toolkit is simple: Local governments can lead by example.
  • America’s Power Plan, a website that compiles collaborations from more than 100 of the nation’s top energy experts, can help policymakers at the state and local levels address the challenges of improving energy regulatory policies as renewable energy use continues to rise. The website details recommendations for improving policies in key areas: power markets, utility business models, finance poly, distributed energy resources, distributed generation policy, transmission policy, and siting of new power infrastructure.

Webinars/Videos

  • Wisconsin Electric Rate Restructuring Webinar: What are the Costs?, a 2014 webinar from UW-Extension, discusses the proposed electric rate structure changes, the issues underlying them, possible alternative approaches, and their potential impacts on energy efficiency, renewable energy and your bottom line. Several Wisconsin electric utilities propose fundamental changes in their pricing to prepare for what they see as an increasingly competitive marketplace, one in which more customers will generate at least some of their own power from renewable sources like solar and biogas. These changes would noticeably increase bills for customers who use less than average amounts of power and substantially lower bills for high users. The pricing changes would make renewable resources less attractive financially and would significantly reduce the incentive for customers to use energy more efficiently. Also, some utilities are proposing rule changes that would further restrict the ability of customers to install renewable energy generation. The utilities argue that their proposed changes would not only allow them to recover their system costs with greater certainty, but would also more fairly allocate those costs among their customers. Learn from a distinguished panel of experts on both sides of the debate.

LEED/Green Buidlings

Tools

  • The Arc Platform takes data and turns it into a performance score and a visual graphic. Now, Arc can be used for free. The Arc platform allows users to measure performance, make improvements and benchmark against other projects. Arc is a complement to LEED and other green building rating systems, standards, protocols and guidelines and allows buildings and spaces to compare performance metrics and connect those metrics to green building strategies. Arc enables incremental improvements and can put a project on track for LEED or other rating system certification. Learn more at http://arcskoru.com/.

    For example, Arc can be used to upload energy data for each building. The platform automatically updates the energy score and calculates carbon impacts. It is compatible with Energy Star Portfolio Manager. For a tutorial on how to enter energy data into arc by meter, and how to share data from Portfolio Manager to arc, see YouTube

  • The New Building Institute website contains many tools on zero net energy buildings
  • A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development is a hands-on introduction developed for local environmental groups, smart growth organizations, neighborhood residents and those interested in making their communities greener.
  • Energy Savings Plus Health: Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Multifamily Building Upgrades, is an EPA publication to help ensure that energy upgrades to multifamily buildings don’t come at the expense of healthy indoor air.  Organized around a set of 24 priority issues addressing key pollutants, sources and building systems, the guidelines outline specific assessment protocols for 16 different types of energy or other building upgrades.  EPA also developed a “Checklist Generator” tool that lets a user zero in on just the guidelines relevant to the project being undertaken, including a verification checklist to help track progress of recommended actions.
  • Energy Savings Plus Health:  Indoor Quality Guidelines for School Buildings Upgrades, created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015 to help school officials protect and improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools during building upgrades.​
  • Green Buildings for Cool Cities: A Guide for Advancing Local Green Building Policies by the US Green Building Council and Sierra Club, provides cost effective steps and avenues local governments can take to reduce energy use and green gas emissions of buildings. Buildings are important to target given that they use 70 percent of US electricity and are responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. This guide includes examples of municipalities engaged in each of the programs highlighted. First published January 2011, Green Buildings for Cool Cities will be updated in 2016.
  • Sustainable Design and Green Building Toolkit for Local Governments by US EPA, this 2010 resources guides local officials through assessing their codes and ordinances in relation to green building. This can help officials remove any barriers to sustainable design.
  • Roadmap to Green Government Buildings, from the US Green Building Council, is a guide for government professionals implementing green building programs and initiatives. It highlights key issues and references resources created by government green building experts.
  • Wisconsin LEED Certified Buildings, a searchable database of LEED certified commercial projects in the state, compiled by UW-Extension is no longer supported and on-line. However, it showed that as of February 2016, Wisconsin had more than 600 LEED certified and registered projects with most of the buildings in the Quad counties that include Milwaukee, followed by the southern then eastern districts (includes Green Bay and Fox Valley).  LEED Gold certification was earned by 109 buildings with 23 at the platinum level. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system of the US Green Building Council.

Studies/Reports

  • The Impact of Fossil Fuels in Buildings: A Fact Base, by Rocky Mountain Institute, 2019, analyzes direct building emissions, showing where they come from and how they fit into the overall emissions picture in the US. They are searchable by state. These data and charts also provide an understanding of the utilities and infrastructure that deliver gas, the buildings and appliances that use it, and implications for air quality and human health.
  • Green Infrastructure for Dane County: Benefits Add Up is a white paper by the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change, January 2020. This white paper describes eight green infrastructure options and highlights innovative green infrastructure projects across the Midwest and around the world and provides a cost benefit analysis of a green roof.
  • Re-forming the Building Industry: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is one of a two-part report feature article from BuildingGreen, January 2020The report explores the depth and breadth of the building sector’s equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) problem; the negative implications for the industry; and some things individuals and firms can do to motivate change.
  • The Inevitable Solar School: Building the Sustainable Schools of the Future, Today by Mark Hanson,  Director of Sustainable Design Services at Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, August 2019. The purpose of the book is to encourage public and private schools to build zero energy solar schools. The book describes the two major forces that are driving public and private schools and other buildings to solar energy. These forces are the recognition of climate change and the cost advantage of on-site solar energy. Either force would be sufficient reason on its own to change the school market, but in combination they become indominable.
  • 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and Zero Energy Buildings List, a report from New Buildings Institute, summarizes the growth and trends from nearly 500 certified, verified, and emerging zero energy projects across the U.S. and Canada. The 2018 list reflects a 700 percent increase in six years from 2012. Wisconsin has five projects: Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Baraboo (2007), Appleton General Aviation Terminal (2013), Green Leaf Inn in Delavan (2013), UW Arlington Ag Research Station, and Gundersen Health Systems, LaCrosse (2013).
  • Green Buildings Could Save Our Cities, one of four National Geographic Urban Expeditions Series January 2017, is a series of infographics by the numbers that illustrate the role of buildings in cities and the beneficial impacts of green buildings on energy use, health, waste, water, environment and other factors.
  • Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) Market Analysis By Equipment (Lighting, Walls & Roofs, HVAC Systems), By Services, By Type, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2014 – 2025, a 2017 report from Grand View Research, indicates that in 2016, the U.S. accounted for the largest market share of the net-zero energy building industry, where onsite renewable sources generate 100% of a building’s energy needs. The report analyzes net-zero energy building market trends and projects that the market will reach over $78 billion globally by 2025. Opportunities and barriers involved in achieving net-zero energy targets and the role that green buildings can play in business improvement efforts are discussed as well.
  • Case Study: Parking Ramp Solar Array in Healthcare, a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Alliance, describes Gundersen Health System’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified parking structure with solar PV panels that offset 100 percent of its energy needs.
  • Green Building Economic Impact Study, a 2015 report prepared for the U.S. Green Building Council, quantifies the economic impact of green construction and of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green building on the national and state economies. Findings include that green construction will be responsible for 1.1 million jobs and contribute $29.8 billion to the GDP by 2018, with LEED responsible for 386,000 jobs. See infographic for report summary.
  • The Cost of LEED v4, an updated report by BuildingGreen, answers questions by owners and design teams about the affordability of LEED certification and the costs associated with each sustainable design strategy on a LEED for a new construction project. The report details which credits are likely to produce cost savings, cost synergies for bundling credits, and other strategic information.

Public Health

Tools

  • Energy-Plus-Health Playbook was created primarily to support program administrators designing or developing energy efficiency programs. The 84-page Playbook outlines three program tiers with increasing levels of health and energy integration. Written and developed by Vermont Energy Investment Coporation (VEIC), with input from energy and health experts, funding for the Playbook was provided by E4TheFuture.
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services, studies how climate impacts public health in Wisconsin, and uses that to create strategies, tools, and trainings to help communities prepare for health outcomes related to climate.

Studies/ Reports

  • Protecting the Health of Vulnerable Populations with In-Home Energy Efficiency: A Survey of Methods for Demonstrating Health Outcomes
    This Research Report from ACEEE, Sara Hayes and Ronald Denson Jr.,  October 2019 shows that energy efficiency programs can make homes safer and healthier while directly benefiting vulnerable families financially. Efficiency-related building upgrades can improve housing conditions, reduce exposure to air pollution, and strengthen the financial security of families by lowering energy bills (and health care costs).Energy efficiency programs may also address other basic building safety measures, such as handrails and smoke, radon, and carbon monoxide detectors. These measures save lives. opportunity for energy and health professionals to work in tandem. Home-based energy efficiency interventions align well with the shift toward preventive health services and the increased focus on addressing the social determinants of health.
  • Estimating the Health Benefits per-Kilowatt Hour of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, by EPA in 2020, enumerates ways in which policymakers can ensure that this public-health value is reflected in energy planning, resource acquisition, utility dispatch and electric rate design.  It helps local and state governments estimate the outdoor air quality-related public health benefits of investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) by providing monetized values for health benefits in dollars and cents per kilowatt hour for 4 strategies: energy efficiency, peak energy efficiency, solar energy and wind energy.
  • TedxOshkosh 2018: “Climate Change is Affecting Our Health. Is There a Cure?”
  • UW Research: Energy Efficiency Saves Lives, according to a March 2019 paper by UW researchers Air Quality-Related Health Benefits of Energy Efficiency in the United States, in American Chemical Society Publications. Their study quantified air emissions from power plants in the summer with mortality impacts, focusing on nitrous oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, along with fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

  • In Fracking’s Wake: New Rules are Needed to Protect Our Health and Environment from Contaminated Wastewater, a 2012 report published by Natural Resources Defense Council, evaluates federal and state laws regulating the wastewater generated with hydraulic fracking and reviews the health and environmental risks posed by the waste stream and current disposal methods.

Resiliency

Tools

  • State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE), in beta January 2020, is a new data-driven online platform designed to help state and local decision makers understand the different ways they can meet their energy goals. Brought to you by eight U.S. Department of Energy technology offices and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE), SLOPE integrates dozens of distinct sources of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and, soon, sustainable transportation data and analyses. Contact slope@nrel.gov with questions or feedback, and download this fact sheet to learn more.
  • The SolarResilient sizing tool for solar PV and battery storage systems estimates the required rating and physical size of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage to provide power for extended periods during a large-scale grid power outage. SolarResilient is designed for buildings that form part of a cities resilience strategy – it allows building owners and city departments to develop equipment sizing before embarking on more detailed studies. When used on a portfolio of buildings, optimum performing scenarios can be selected to provide a holistic energy security strategy for a city or county.

Studies/Reports

  • Green Infrastructure for Dane County: Benefits Add Up is a white paper by the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change, January 2020. This white paper describes eight green infrastructure options and highlights innovative green infrastructure projects across the Midwest and around the world and provides a cost benefit analysis of a green roof.
  • Measuring Community Resilience with the STAR Community Rating System, published in 2018 by STAR Communities – a partnership between ICLEI and the US Green Building Council, is designed for local government staff and community leaders. It provides guidance on how to use the STAR Community Rating System to measure and improve local resiliency. This guide presents information, metrics, and case studies that communities can use to measure local resilience, recognize connected community systems, learn about best practices, and start setting a path towards becoming a more resilient and sustainable community. The guide also has a companion spreadsheet tool that can be used to quickly filter STAR’s measures by resilience category.
  • How Cities Are Paying for Climate Resilience: Playbook 1.0, by Innovation Network for Communities, July 2019 explores the strategies that reflect the leading-edge of urban climate-resilience financing practices. It reviews 8 distinct strategies to obtain public and private financial resources that pay for large-scale climate-resilience. These strategies amount to an initial approach—”Playbook 1.0″—for deciding who will pay what and how city governments will generate the needed revenue.

  • Resilient Solar Case Study: The Marcus Garvey Apartments Microgrid
    This 2017 case study from the City University of New York’s Smart DG Hub examines the solar+storage microgrid system in the Marcus Garvey affordable housing complex in Brooklyn, New York, a neighborhood that experiences rolling blackouts more frequently than other parts of the city. The housing complex uses its solar+storage microgrid system to cut electricity costs, improve grid reliability, and provide resilient backup power for tenants during extended outages. The $1.3 million project features an anticipated 6.6 year system payback for the battery storage.
  • Solar and Storage for Energy and Resiliency
    This guide about integrating solar into emergency preparedness by Utah Clean Energy provides essential information about solar + storage and how it can enhance resilience.
  • Smart DG Hub: Value of Resiliency Survey Results
    The City University of New York’s Smart DG Hub recently formed a Value of Resiliency (VoR) Strategy Team to recognize the value of resilience offered by solar+storage system installation. This report details the Smart DG Hub’s findings from interviews with three key industries—insurance, government, and banking.
  • A Framework for Local Action on Climate Change: 9 Ways Mayors Can Build Resilient and Just Cities This 2017 report by the Center for American Progress features cities across the U.S. that are taking steps to improve climate change resilience, along with the associated economic, racial, and social equity issues. Nine recommendations for mayors on designing and implementing climate change policies and preparedness strategies to build just and resilient cities while creating economic opportunities within their communities are included.
  • The EPA’s Combined Heat and Power guide was also recently released by their Local Government and Climate and Energy Strategy Series.  This guide describes how local governments can utilize combined heat and power to achieve more efficient uses of existing, local energy sources and provides an overview of the benefits, costs, sources of funding, and case studies.
  • Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development” a report by EPA offers low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened communities a range of approaches to shape development that responds to their needs and reflects their values. The report provides a menu of land use and community design strategies that community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, developers, and others can use to revitalize their communities. Case studies highlight seven communities that have used these strategies.

Solar

Solar Installers & Developers

Tools

  • The Low-Income Solar Policy Guide, 2016-2020, was originally developed and launched in 2016 by nonprofits GRID AlternativesVote Solar, and the Center for Social Inclusion, to help drive the proposal and adoption of new low-income solar policies and programs, both as stand-alone efforts and as part of broader renewable energy programs. It is a tool for policymakers, community leaders and others who are working on solar access at the federal, state and local level.
  • SolSmart’s Local Government Solar Toolkit PLANNING, ZONING, AND PERMITTING Wisconsin provides resources to assist communities in addressing barriers to solar energy installations tailored to each community’s needs. The Grow Solar Local Government Toolkit is a 3-state collaborative project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Community Solar Business Case Tool
    The Community Solar Business Case Tool provides a flexible financial model that projects the costs and benefits to the system developer and subscriber of a single community solar project. The tool development was supported by the US DOE SunShot Initiative’s Solar Market Pathways program.
  • Solar Finance Simulator (May 2017) is an online tool by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association that municipalities, universities, hospitals, and businesses can use to forecast the long-term impacts of 4 types of financial investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Plugging in their own values, users can simulate and compare financial projections for direct ownership, power purchase agreement (PPA), debt financing, and operating lease. Please direct any questions about the simulator tool to info@midwestrenew.org.
  • The PVWatts Calculator, a new version released by the NREL in September 2014, is a web application that estimates the electricity production of a grid-connected roof or ground-mounted photovoltaic system based on the system’s location, basic design parameters, and system economics. PVWatts calculates estimated values for the system’s annual and monthly electricity production, and for the monetary value of the electricity. The new version more accurately reflects PV performance outputs predicting a 7-9% greater energy output compared to the previous software.
  • The FINDER model developed and used by Berkley Lab’s Electricity Markets & Policy Group, is applied in a range of independent research projects and in collaboration with state utility regulators and policymakers through technical assistance. Quantitative analysis includes evaluating the incremental impact of aggressive energy efficiency programs on U.S. utilities, as well as the incremental impact of increasing penetration of distributed solar photovoltaic systems on utilities and ratepayers. Applications of the FINDER model and analysis of model outputs have been used as part of technical assistance to a variety of state public utility commissions (PUCs). The model has also been used to support the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) with analysis used in workshops and trainings.

Studies/ Reports

  • Community Solar Works for Low-Income Communities by Vote Solar
  • Shared Renewable Energy for Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) provides information and tools for policymakers, regulators, utilities, shared renewable energy developers, program administrators and others to support the adoption and implementation of shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to LMI customers.

  • Property Value Impact Study: Adjacent Property Values Solar Impact Study, prepared for Ranger Power by Cohn Resnick, September 2019,

    The study evaluates whether existing solar farms have had any measurable impact on the value of adjacent properties. The study includes research and analyses of eight existing solar facilities (in Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and Virginia) and the property value trends of the adjacent land uses, including agricultural, single family and residential properties.

  • Performance of Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules on a Dual-Axis Tracker in a High-Latitude, High-Albedo Environment, a 2019 study by Sandia National Labs and Michigan Tech, published in the 2019 Conference Proceedings of IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists, shows that bifacial solar panels can outperform standard panels by producing 14–40% more electricity in northern latitudes during snow months where the reflection of the snow on the back of the panel increases production. The study was done with panels on dual-axis trackers in Vermont. The findings were in addition to the estimated 35-40% gain of a dual axis tracker over a fixed mount system.
  • How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low Carbon Innovation
    UW professor Greg Nemet’s 2019 book tells the story of solar: the long road to economic viability and the lessons learned that could speed the progress of other low-carbon technology.
  • Commercial PV Property Characterization: An Analysis of Solar Deployment Trends in Commercial Real EstateThe commercial rooftop solar energy market remains an under-developed sector.  The market is estimated to contain 150 gigawatts of potential in the U.S. but it faces significant barriers to deployment to meet that potential, with an estimated 1.4 GW developed through 2017. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (October, 2019) analyzed over 30,000 installed solar systems and the properties on which they are located.  The properties covered 20 states (including Wisconsin, representing 41% of commercial PV systems) and almost 30 different types including industrial, warehouse, school/university, office, retail, and municipal/government. The solar properties were compared to more than 2.4 million non-solar properties in the same geographies.This webinar and its slides review the contents of analyses focusing on which property and solar system characteristics are correlated with higher (or lower) levels of solar deployment and how they have changed over time.
  • 13.6B solar park rises from Dubai desert – CNN.com
  • Middleton Airport Solar Project, More than 16,000 Single-axis tracking solar PV panels, enough to power ~ 1,000 average WI homes annually. 16 million pounds CO2 annual avoided emissions. Low-growing deep-rooted prairie mix will be planted under panels.
  • The Customers First Coalition (CFC) issue paper, Community Solar in Wisconsin: Responding to Power Customers, highlights the growth of utility-scale community solar offerings from energy providers in Wisconsin. Community solar, also known as shared solar and solar gardens, are solar powered energy plants that pool resources from multiple members of a community to provide power and/or financial benefits in return.
  • Tracking the Sun: Installed Price Trends for Distributed Photovoltaic Systems in the United States- 2019 Edition, by Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (October, 2019) summarizes installed prices and other trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The latest edition of the report focuses on systems installed through year-end 2018, with preliminary trends for the first half of 2019. The analysis is based on project-level data from approximately 1.6 million systems, representing 81% of all distributed PV systems installed in the United States through the end of 2018. Key Findings: distributed PV systems keep getting bigger; installed prices continued to fall; and, installed prices vary widely across projects.
  • Commercial PV Property Characterization: An Analysis of Solar Deployment Trends in Commercial Real Estate The commercial rooftop solar energy market remains an under-developed sector.  The market is estimated to contain 150 gigawatts of potential in the U.S. but it faces significant barriers to deployment to meet that potential, with an estimated 1.4 GW developed through 2017. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed over 30,000 installed solar systems and the properties on which they are located.  The properties covered 20 states (including Wisconsin) and almost 30 different types including industrial, warehouse, school/university, office, retail, and municipal/government. The solar properties were compared to more than 2.4 million non-solar properties in the same geographies.

    This webinar reviews the contents of analyses focusing on which property and solar system characteristics are correlated with higher (or lower) levels of solar deployment and how have they changed over time.

  • Solar Knowledge LibraryThe Solar Institute at George Washington University has created a Solar Knowledge Library that provides videos about key solar energy topics, as well as links to additional resources. The videos are aimed at educating professionals who are not part of the solar industry but still play a key role in expanding solar deployment opportunities in the United States. The library project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) program. The STEP program enables solar training and education for professionals in indirect and related fields such as real estate, finance, insurance, fire and code enforcement, and state regulations, and has established new credentials in solar operations and maintenance. The Solar Knowledge Library aims to foster a workforce familiar with solar, improve inspection compliance, expedite system permitting, reduce liability and insurance costs, and increase consumer confidence.
  • The Vision for U.S. Community Solar: A Roadmap for 2030 , GTM Research conducted a study in 2018 to evaluate the community solar market potential and identify pathways for community solar adoption nationwide by 2030. Three out of four households across the country cannot access traditional rooftop solar. Community solar is a proven solution that expands access to solar, regardless of income level or housing type. The study was supported by Vote Solar, GRID Alternatives, and Coalition for Community Solar Access.

  • Floating PV: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental U.S, a 2018 paper from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), found floating PV (FPV) projects across more than 24,000 man-made US reservoirs could generate around 10% of US annual electricity production, which would reduce the land requirements for conventional ground mount PV power plants by at least 2.1 million hectares. This could be useful in the Midwest where there is conflict over solar encroaching on farmland and in areas of the US that are land-constrained.
  • SunEdison produced the Future of Solar Energy short 5 minute Youtube video, January 2015, that highlights solar power as a transformational technology globally. It documents the increasingly rapid uptake of solar photovoltaic systems due to lower, competitive cost of solar panels, more efficient technologies, and the practicality of distributed decentralized energy generation.
  • Going Solar in America: Ranking of Solar’s Value to Consumers in America’s Largest Citiesa report by NC Clean Energy Technology Center with funding from US DOE’s Sunshot grant, January 2015, analyzes energy in America’s 50 largest cities showing that solar can generate both significant monthly savings and long-term investment value. In 42 of 50 cities, solar costs less for average homeowners than energy from some of America’s largest electric utilities.
  • Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies Behind a Booming Energy Sector, by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2014, details the major drivers of the rapid adoption of solar power and explores the main types of solar available to individuals, businesses, and utilities. It outlines the technical, economic, environmental, and policy aspects of small- and large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and concentrating solar power systems. Accompanying infographics detail the falling rooftop solar costs and their increasing affordability.
  • How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low Carbon Innovation UW professor Greg Nemet’s 2019 book tells the story of solar: the long road to economic viability and the lessons learned that could speed the progress of other low-carbon technology.

 

Solar Energy Financing

Grant Writing Basics Blog Series

Learn tips and advice for writing federal grant applications through the Grant Writing Basics Blog Series. The goal of the series is to provide the essential basics to begin writing on a solid foundation.

Topics covered include:

  •   How to Start Working on Future Funding Opportunities
  •   Demystifying Funding Opportunity Announcements
  •   Tips to Avoid Last Minute Problems
  •   Making Sure You Are Eligible before Writing

For more information

Wisconsin Solar Energy Financing Guide

  • Solar Energy Financing Guide: Empowering Wisconsin Local Governments (May 2017): A UW-Extension publication that covers financing for solar projects ranging from local and tribal governments installing solar systems on their own roofs and land, to assisting local businesses and residents with acquiring solar. It includes case studies of successful solar energy systems across the state, and outlines creative local government actions, strategies and partnerships that can lay the groundwork for financing those systems.

Studies/Reports

  • Energy Independence: How to Afford Getting to 100 & Promote Sustainability to Boot! Presented by Sherrie Gruder for Green Tier Legacy Communities Sustainable Strategies Webinar Series
  • Solar Energy Financing – Wisconsin Public Television video Session at Wisconsin Academy Local Government Summit, April 24, 2018, Eau Claire. This includes  presentations by Sherrie Gruder, UW-Madison Extension Sustainable Design & Energy Specialist on Solar Energy Financing Guide, A Toolkit for Local  Governments; Erica Kluetmeier, Former Fitchburg Sustainability Manager on Solar financing process and arrangement for 4 Fitchburg solar PV projects totaling 362 kW; Kurt Reinhold, President of Legacy Solar Co-op on their clean energy finance and project development service; and, Jason Stinger, Director of Clean Energy Finance at Slipstream on PACE Wisconsin commercial energy financing program.
  • The Solar Energy Financing Panel, a recording from the Leading the Charge 2018 Summit in Eau Claire, WI, features the discussion about solar energy financing in Wisconsin.
  • The Vision for US Community Solar: A Roadmap to 2030 and Beyond, A new study from GTM Research found that the U.S. community solar market could grow up to 50-80 times its current size by 2030 to 57-84 GW. This equates to serving nearly nine million new solar customers, including four million low-to-moderate income households, and amounting to $120 billion in capital investments. The Vision for U.S. Community Solar: A Roadmap to 2030, … also informs state policy recommendations for delivering on that enormous and largely untapped potential to serve American households and businesses with affordable and reliable solar power…
  • California Solar Center’s Guide to Solar Power Purchase Agreements explains PPAs for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations. It also provides examples of projects that have been completed using a PPA.
  • Fact Sheet; How to Estimate Demand Charge Savings from PV on Commercial Buildings This document from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory explains the basics of demand charges- the maximum rate at which a business consumes electricity each month,  and provides a new method that a potential customer or PV developer can use to estimate a range of potential savings in demand charges from a proposed PV system.
  • New Distribution Grid Integration Unit Cost Database for PV
    A new database from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provides information to utilities, developers, and analysts for assessing distribution grid integration costs associated with PV.
  • Trends in Photovoltaic Applications, 2016
    This report by the International Energy Agency is prepared to assist those responsible for developing the strategies of businesses and public authorities, and to aid the development of medium term plans for electricity utilities and other providers of energy services. It provides guidance to government officials responsible for setting energy policy and preparing national energy plans and, an overview of PV power systems applications, markets and production in the reporting countries and elsewhere at the end of 2015.
  • Solarize Guidebook: A Community Guide to Collective Purchasing of Residential PV Systems, released May 2012 by the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is a resource for project planners and solar advocates who want to power their neighborhoods with solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity. This solar PV volume-purchasing program is designed to lead customers through a process that highlights awareness, education, enrollment, site assessment, decision, and installation. With the guidance of solar professionals, a committee of neighborhood volunteers preselects contractors and puts out information to the community about the limited time offer along with education/information sessions to simplify and demystify the purchase process. Bulk purchasing and installation helps reduce the costs. The guidebook includes case studies, considerations, and a sample timeline to help implement the campaign.

Renewable Energy and Storage

Studies/Reports

  • U.S. Renewable Energy Factsheet, published in 2019 by Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan outlines the United States current fuel mix and the predicted role renewables will play in the increasing energy demand.
  • Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective, a 2019 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), analyzes extensive survey data they collected on gender equality in the renewable energy industry to ensure equitable distribution for the large job growth accompanying the global energy transition to renewable, distributed energy systems. Researchers found that globally, women are largely underrepresented, though renewable energy employs more women than the energy sector overall at 32 percent compared to 22 percent. Opportunities and barriers to gender equality are explored, including the diverse skill sets needed along the renewable energy supply chain as opportunities, with perceptions of gender roles that hinder women from pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers as barriers. The researchers propose policies and solutions to advance gender equality in the renewable energy sector. A Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) has launched along with the second women’s mentoring program beginning March 2019.
  • New U.S. Power Costs: by County, with Environmental Externalities, July 2016, the first in a series of white papers from the University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute about the full cost of electricity. The study examines the total direct and indirect costs of generating and delivering electricity under the quickly changing conditions of the U.S. power industry. The researchers conclude that natural gas combined cycle, wind, and nuclear power appear the least-cost options across the most counties. The researchers created online calculators, as well, for people who want to understand the dynamics of determining the full cost of electricity. Daily Energy Insider
  • Clean Edge’s 2016 US Clean Tech Leadership Index tracks and ranks the clean-tech activities of all 50 states and the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. – from EV (electric vehicles) and renewables adoption to policy, green building and investment activity. The Index is a tool for regional comparative research, a source for aggregated industry data, and a jumping-off point for deep, data-driven analysis of the U.S. clean-tech market.
  • Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies, 11/17/2013. This US Department of Energy report focuses on four technology revolutions that are here today: onshore wind power, polysilicon photovoltaic modules, LED lighting, and electric vehicles. Since 2008 they have achieved dramatic reductions in cost accompanied by a surge in consumer, industrial and commercial deployment. This analysis explains both the magnitude of and mechanisms behind these nascent revolutions. Each of the sectors examined has also become a major opportunity for America’s clean energy economy.
  • Renewable Electricity Futures Study, This NREL, 2012 study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels—from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation—in 2050. It provides initial answers to important questions about the integration of high penetrations of renewable electricity technologies from a national perspective, focusing on key technical implications.
  • Planning and Zoning for ‘Frac Sand’ Mining, a 2012 report from UW-Extension, discusses characteristics and processing of frac sand and the regulation of frac sand mining, focusing on comprehensive planning and zoning.
  • Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up,” from nonprofit organization Climate Solutions published in July 2012, profiles a diverse range of cities that are testing and refining local clean energy and energy efficiency strategies. The report describes city-led clean energy economic developments including financial mechanisms, pilot projects, and clean energy marketing.
  • Energy & Environment Consumer Survey, conducted by the Cleantech Market Intelligence firm, found that, of over 1,000 U.S. adults, 79% have a favorable view of solar energy, and 75% have a favorable view of wind energy – in terms of overall support, these were the top two highest ranked areas in a survey that asked consumers about their views on 12 energy and environmental concepts.
  • Green Power on the Utility Grid gives an overview of renewable energy sources for electric power generation and of policies for renewable electricity in Midwestern states.
  • Project Profiles, compiled by RENEW Wisconsin, provides descriptions of renewable energy projects across the state, with links to resources for each project. The listing includes solar, wind and biogas projects.
  • Wisconsin Renewables Review of 2011 gives an overview of the progress and setbacks in 2011 to renewable energy policies and projects focused on wind energy, geothermal heat pumps, and solar energy.
  • Renewable Energy Parks Webinar: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) presented a free webinar in their “Community Renewable Energy Success Stories” program.  It provides information on how two cities in Washington and New York integrated multiple renewable energy technologies to create renewable energy parks in their areas.
  • Achieving 25×25 Goals for Energy Independent Communities are 2 reports by the Energy Center of Wisconsin prepared for the State Energy Office that analyze and aggregate the results of the Energy Independent communities’ profiles and plans of the 2009 and 2010 pilot programs.
  • Shares of electricity generation from renewable energy sources up in many states,” a post on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Today in Energy blog, maps the renewable share of total electricity generation by state with and without hydroelectric generation comparing the statistic in 2001 and 2011.
  • Wisconsin Energy Statistics, compiled by the State Energy Office, is a comprehensive source including information on energy consumption and generation, renewable energy, and energy prices and expenditures in a given year. The statistics book is available for calendar years 2010-2013.

Webinars/Videos

  • Energy Storage Workshops, Sandia National Labs and Maryland PSC, recorded webinars, March – April 2020:
  • Hydrofrac Sand: The Resource and the Issues in Wisconsin, a 2011 lecture by Professor Bruce A. Brown of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, provides information on Wisconsin’s hydrofrac sand characteristics, resource locations, and potential problems of mining

Transportation

Tools

  • Greenercars.org, a program of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), provides a database of vehicles searchable by class (type or body style, such as midsize car, minivan, standard pickup) and their ranking on environmental impact, from superior (greenest) to inferior (least green) on a five–tiered scale. The Green Score, presented on a scale of zero to 100, is based on official emissions and fuel-economy tests and other specifications reported by auto manufacturers. Users can access to press releases and important documents related to rankings and find web resources related to vehicle technologies and green vehicles.
  • Electric Vehicle Calculator
  • List of LEED-Qualified Cars
  • For a list of electric vehicles on the market
  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has launched the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST), a voluntary, web-based self-evaluation tool enabling state, regional, and local transportation agencies to evaluate the sustainability of their transportation plans, projects, and programs. The tool includes three score cards: systems planning, project development, and operations and maintenance.

Studies/ Reports

  • Climate Change and Transportation resources for educators.
  • Strategies for Integrating EVs into the Grid
    ACEEE released a report, Strategies for Integrating EVs into the Grid, that examines how utilities and other stakeholders are responding to the large growth in electric vehicles, and how their actions relate to broader environmental goals. The report focuses on five categories of utility strategies: rate design, smart charging, charging station investment and ownership, vehicle purchase incentives, and coordination with state and local efforts. To provide insight into these strategies, the report includes case studies of three utilities that have implemented multifaceted EV integration plans.
  • Reports on EV Charging, released July, 2018 by Greentech Media examine the impact electric vehicle charging infrastructure will have on grids around the world.EV Charging Infrastructure Landscape: Global Market Evolution, Major Stakeholders, and Key Trends,and EV Charging Infrastructure Development: Case Studies and Project Strategies in 2018 EV Charging Infrastructure Development: Global Market Sizing and Forecasts
  • Big Fuel Savings Available in New Trucks is a 2-page fact sheet from ACEE and other national organizations that models the projected fuel savings from the EPA and NHTSA fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines built for the 2014 to 2018 model years along with an extension beyond 2018 in order to reach 40% reductions from a 2010 baseline. By 2030, this reduction would be the equivalent of saving 1.4 million barrels of oil per day and reduce carbon pollution by 270 million metric tons.
  • Midwest EVOLVE, The U.S. Department of Energy in February 2017 awarded a three-year grant program, the Midwest Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience (EVOLVE) project. The program is a partnership between the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and seven midwestern Clean Cities coalitions in seven states. The purpose of the project is to educate consumers, as well as public and private fleets, about the performance and environmental advantages of electric vehicles.
  • Why Electric Vehicles are a Climate Solution by Climate Solutions, 2016, is a briefing paper that explores the dimensions of the climate opportunity that EVs offer, with a focus on Oregon and Washington. It considers the additional demand for electricity that widespread adoption of EVs would require, as well as some of the challenges and barriers that must be addressed for EVs to play a significant role in decarbonizing the Northwest’s economy.
  • Electric Vehicles: A Good Idea for Wisconsin?

    From UW-Stevens Point Center for Land Use Education, Land Use Tracker, Spring 2015

  • Straight Talk about CNG, released January 2015 by MG&E, is a video series aimed to inform businesses about performance, safety, availability, and maintenance of compressed natural gas vehicles (CNG).
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are releasing the 2014 Fuel Economy Guide, consumers identify and choose the most fuel efficient and low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles that meet their needs. The 2014 models include efficient and low-emission vehicles in a variety of classes and sizes, ensuring a wide variety of choices available for consumers.
  • EPA’s Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, provides evidence that certain kinds of land use and transportation strategies – where and how we build our communities – can reduce the environmental and human health impacts of development. Read the press release. Learn about the webinar.
  • EPA’s Smart Growth Program has released its Smart Location Database version 2.0. The database is a consistent nationwide GIS data resource for measuring location efficiency. The Smart Location Database may be appropriate for use in local and regional planning studies when local data is unavailable. The database includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale. Users can download data for their selected region, view data online in an interactive map, or access data through a variety of web services.

Organizations

  • Wisconsin Clean Cities
  • Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA) brings together leading cities, companies and countries to accelerate the worldwide transformation of the transport sector towards a net-zero emission mobility system before 2050. The TDA builds on statements of intent by those Heads of States, Mayors and CEOs that have expressed their intent to decarbonize before 2050. It targets all transport emissions from all modes of passenger mobility and freight transport. The Alliance aims to become the most visible, creative and effective nexus of public/private cooperation to allow the transport sector to meet the Paris Agreement objectives.

Wind

Tools

  • Find It With Focus enables users to locate retailers, installers, contractors, and builders who specialize in wind turbines (residential and business applications).

Studies/Reports

  • 2009 Wisconsin Act 40 (The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) Wind Siting Rules) directed the PSC to promulgate administrative rules that specify the restrictions a political subdivision (a city, village, town or county) may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system, and to help ensure consistent local procedures for local regulation of wind energy systems. As of March 2011, Wind siting rules, PSC 128, are in effect.
  • Global Wind Energy Fortunes (and Turbines) Growing Fast, at Least in Short Term, released August 2014 by Bloomberg BNA, is a report that highlights the technological advances made and the upcoming challenges facing the wind energy industry
  • The Solar and Wind Energy Supply Chain in Wisconsin,” a study by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), details the role of renewable energy companies in job creation and economic growth. The report highlights some of the over 300 companies serving wind and solar energy markets in the state and provides a list of solar and wind companies and their locations.
  • For wind energy facility developers:  FWS issued a document in 2012 entitled Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (WEG), which provides a structured process for addressing wildlife conservation concerns at wind energy project sites. The WEG are built around a “tiered approach” to assessing potential conflicts. Each of the five tiers builds on information gained from the previous tier, and many smaller-scale or community wind facilities may not need to go beyond Tiers 1 and 2. The tiers encompass both pre-construction and post-construction timeframes and focus on establishing a scientific process focused initially on analyzing the potential project site, and later on gauging and monitoring impacts at that site.
  • Migratory Bird Mortality, a 2002 report from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, discusses various threats by humans to the migratory bird population, including deaths caused by collisions with power lines and buildings, poisoning, and by-catch in fisheries.
  • The Bird Mortality by Event Histogram, prepared by Mick Sagrillo based on data from Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc., appears in the 2001 report Avian Collisions With Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States, commissioned by the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC). It illustrates the major causes of bird mortality with the smallest relative impact from wind turbines.