Major Programs & Policy
Renewable energy buyback policy
Nearly 50,000 utility customers in Wisconsin support renewable energy through paying higher rates each month for their electricity. As confirmed in recent polls, more than 75% of the population support a greater commitment to renewable energy development. RENEW is working to translate that demand for renewables into buyback rates that encourage additional supplies of renewable energy from local producers.
Net energy billing policy overhaul
Net energy billing allows utility customers who produce renewable energy on-site to sell excess output back and receive the full retail rate for it. Established in 1982, Wisconsin’s net energy billing policy has become woefully out-of-date, lagging behind other states that actively enourage customer generation of renewables. One of RENEW’s highest priorities is to push for a 21st century policy that increases maximum eligible system size from 20 kW to 500 kW, and eliminates unnecessary and costly interconnection requirements.
Increase funding for renewable energy in Focus on Energy program
Focus on Energy (Focus), the statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy program, has been a critically important driver for local renewable energy production and is a key factor why installation activity is higher here than in other Midwest states. In July 2011, Focus suspended awarding incentives for non-residential renewable energy projects, with no certainty of their return. RENEW is pushing Focus to restore financial support to renewable energy systems serving businesses, industries and nonprofit entities.
Creating and defending Wisconsin's 10% Renewable Energy Standard
RENEW formulated, and helped mobilize support for, a 10% renewable energy standard on electric utilities by 2015. Adopted in 2006, this modest standard is under attack from utilities, certain large industries and hostile elements in the Legislature. Over RENEW’s objections, the standard was amended in 2011 to allow utilities to count generation from large Canadian hydro sources toward their renewable requirements. Since then, RENEW has had success rallying renewable energy producers to fight off other efforts to weaken Wisconsin’s five-year-old standard.
Rulings to permit renewable energy leasing of systems by third-party owners
For economic reasons, most small-scale renewable energy facilities in the country are owned and installed by third parties. Often it is easier for third parties to take advantage of federal credits, business depreciation, and relieves the property owner of financing the system and building it. However, this process is not allowed, or is ambiguous in Wisconsin, due to confusing interpretations of statutes by various PSC attorneys.
Coordinating a Midwest Wind Siting project
RENEW is coordinanting an information and education project on behalf of a number of environmental partners to educate the public and policy makers on wind energy best practices.
Renewable energy information dissemination
RENEW is the go-to media voice on renewable energy issues in Wisconsin through its print and on-line publications, and press releases.