Defending Clean Energy in Court


The Issue

Last year We Energies added an unfair tax on customers that want to use renewable energy to create their own power. Customers who install solar or wind will be subject to a $3.70 per kilowatt tax each month. Customers who install hydropower or biogas will be subject to an $8.60 per kilowatt tax each month, simply because they made the choice to use clean energy in their homes or businesses.

While our neighbors in other Midwestern states like Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois (and even other parts of Wisconsin!) are investing in renewable energy, We Energies is making it more difficult for Wisconsinites to make that choice because of added cost.

RENEW Wisconsin is partnering with The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) in a lawsuit challenging this new "tax on the sun."


Timeline


  • July 2014: We Energies proposed extra fees for customers with renewable energy
  • September 2014: Wisconsin Public Service Commission approves We Energies proposed fees
  • January 2015: RENEW Wisconsin and TASC file an appeal of the PSC's decision
  • May 14th, 2015: RENEW Wisconsin and TASC file our legal arguments with the Dane County Circuit Court. Read the full brief here
  • June 22nd, 2015: We Energies and PSC file response briefs
  • July 14th, 2015: RENEW Wisconsin and TASC file a reply brief.
  • September 15th, 2015: RENEW and TASC, the PSC, and We Energies file supplemental briefs.
  • September 25th, 2015: RENEW Wisconsin and TASC, the PSC and We Energies file supplemental reply briefs after August 31, 2015 oral hearing.
  • October 31st, 2015: VICTORY! Dane County Circuit Court Judge Peter Anderson overturns We Energies Tax on Clean Energy
  • November 20, 2015: The Judge's Final Order and Judgement was issued. The Judge's decision on Oct. 31 was made verbally; here is the entire transcript of that hearing, and the judge's ruling on the case begins at the bottom of page 54 of the transcript.
  • News

    This issue received a lot of great coverage in the media. See some of the articles below:

  • "On Utilities and Solar, Wisconsin Goes its Own Way"
  • "Regulators Agree to Increase Fixed Charge on We Energies Electric Bills"
  • "State Should Get Better Information Before Deciding We Energies Case"
  • "We Energies' Proposal Hinders Energy Independence"



  • Recent Court Victories for RENEW



  • June 2014: RENEW Wisconsin appealed a 2012 decison by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) that lowered the cap for solar systems eligible for net metering, the process by which customers are credited for excess energy sold back to the grid, from 100 kilowatts (kw) to 20 kw in We Energies' electric territory. RENEW argued that most investor-owned electric utilities in Wisconsin have a cap of 100kw, and that the PSC's decision to lower the cap for We Energies was arbitrary and unsupported by the fact record. RENEW also argued that the decision would hinder the ability of larger business customers to power themselves with clean energy. Judge Rhonda Lanford of the Dane County Circuit Court agreed with RENEW, and remanded the decision back to the PSC. Read more in our blog post.

  • February 2015: Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford once again remanded a decision back to the PSC for "further fact-finding and to establish a sufficient record" based on decisions made in the 2013 rate case for Green Bay based Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS). The appeal was brought by RENEW after two PSC decisions in the 2013 case. In the first decision, the PSC grants WPS' request to lower the net-metering cap for solar installation from 100kw to 20kw. The second decision allowed WPS to change their net metering period from annual to monthly, which takes away customers' ability to bank excess energy from month to month, and may result in lower buy-back rates. RENEW argued that there was no evidence to support these requests in the record, and the Dane County Circuit Court agreed that more information was needed, but did not change the new net metering policy. See more details on our blog!

  • We believe we can achieve another victory for clean energy in our challenge to We Energies' tax on renewable energy with your help. Support our legal challange and lead the way to cleaner, more vibrant Wisconsin!

     

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