Earth Week 2013 Musings
In addition to unwanted snow showers, April 2013 has brought us a flurry of clean energy news stories. Taken together, these recent developments offer a revealing picture of the unique challenges we face in Wisconsin in advancing an energy future that is less reliant on fossil fuels.
On the face of it, the announcement on Earth Day that several Wisconsin utilities will retire a minimum of 260 MW of older coal-fired plants and spend $1.2 billion on pollution control upgrades should qualify as good news. The settlement with U.S. EPA also obligates Wisconsin Power & Light (Alliant Energy) and Madison Gas & Electric to offer up to $5.5 million to support solar PV installation in their territories.
However, if one does the math, the solar component adds up to only one-half of one percent of the total amount the utilities will spend under this settlement. The price tag of the pollution control work even exceeds the nearly $1 billion it will cost to decommission the soon-to-be-retired Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant. That 39-year-old plant will cease operating in May.
With a combined price tag exceeding $2 billion, these will very likely be the two most expensive electricity-related projects initiated this decade. Ratepayers will absorb the full cost of the pollution control measures undertaken by the owners of the Columbia and Edgewater power plants.
If Kewaunee’s retirement and the planned shutdowns of Alliant’s Nelson Dewey and Edgewater 3 plants had been announced five years ago, Wisconsin would be swarming with wind and bioenergy developers right now. But utility interest in renewable energy development has diminished markedly, owing to the unfavorable political climate here for windpower developmet and the belief that natural gas will stay cheap for years to come. Furthermore, electricity providers have largely fulfilled their requirements under Wisconsin’s modest Renewable Electricity Standard, and there is no successor policy in sight. .
(Read the rest of Michael Vickerman's commentary)
Powering Positive Action Summit Sets 2013 Agenda
Over 200 renewable energy enthusiasts squeezed into the Pyle Center in Madison on January 11 to get charged up to power positive changes to Wisconsin’s renewable energy landscape in 2013. Sponsored by 33 companies and organizations, RENEW Wisconsin’s (RENEW) second annual policy summit brought together leading-edge businesses, professionals and elected officials to identify policy priorities for advancing clean energy here.
- Five positive policy actions were found to be ripe for pursuit in 2013
- Download Summit presentations
- View video coverage of the Summit
- Access Summit handouts
RENEW Wisconsin leads and represents, businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean, renewable energy in Wisconsin
RENEW Wisconsin leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean, renewable energy in Wisconsin.
In its 21st year, RENEW continues to advance progressive renewable energy policies for Wisconsin through advocacy, education, and collaborative initiatives. RENEW is at the policy and regulation table every day representing 115 renewable energy companies doing business in Wisconsin as well as nearly 300 individuals and other organizations who share our vision for Wisconsin.
To retake the initiative on clean renewable energy, we commit to the following action plan:
- Organize stakeholders to articulate a public policy message on clean renewables
- Create business opportunities that enhance renewable development
- Maximize value of Focus on Energy renewable energy incentives
- Guide resonable permitting of renewable energy systems
- Promote higher value pricing for renewable energy
- Protect and enhance Wisconsin's renewable energy standard
- Reverse utility retreat from renewable energy development
Learn more on our policy page....