RENEW is celebrating 30 years of leading Wisconsin's renewable energy transition!

Fighting for clean energy never gets old.

 

Since 1991, our vision has not changed – to have clean renewable energy powering a strong, healthy, and vibrant Wisconsin.  We have made significant progress on our 30-year mission to lead and accelerate the transformation of Wisconsin’s renewable energy future through advocacy, education, and collaboration.

We would not have reached this 30 year anniversary without the support of our members and partners. We thank you and appreciate you joining us along this amazing journey to a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Wisconsin. Here are some highlights of the last 30 years:

1991
1991

RENEW Founded by Don Wichert

Founded by Don Wichert, RENEW is incorporated as a 501©(3) charitable organization with a mission to promote the development and use of renewable energy resources in the state of Wisconsin.

1991

RENEW Intervenes in Advance Plan 6

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin grants an award for RENEW to intervene in Advance Plan 6. RENEW’s intervention makes a case for revising utilities’ 20-year resource plans to incorporate more investment in renewable energy. RENEW hires Frank Jablonski to serve as legal counsel and Michael Vickerman to manage the intervention.

1992
1992

PSC Approves Plan for Renewables

In its Advance Plan order, the PSC approves a supply plan that envisions a renewable energy buildout beginning in 2017.  The order also requires electric utilities to offer a net metering service capped at 20kW.

1993
1993

Renewable Energy in Wisconsin Conference

RENEW organizes and hosts a two-day conference titled “Renewable Energy in Wisconsin – Working with the Environment.” Held at The Edgewater, the conference addresses the environmental trade-offs that arise from expanding renewable energy development and use. The keynote speaker is WorldWatch vice president Christopher Flavin.

1994
1994

Michael Vickerman hired as Executive Director

Michael Vickerman is hired as RENEW Wisconsin’s Executive Director.

1994

Energy Priorities Legislation Signed into Law

State legislature passes and Governor Thompson signs Wisconsin’s Energy Priorities Law (1993 Act 414).  Relating to utility supply decisions, this sweeping legislation establishes resource priority list that gives preference to renewable energy resources like solar and wind.

1995
1995

Customers First Coalition Founded

RENEW becomes a founding member of Customers First Coalition, which is formed to fight against legislation aimed at deregulating the state’s electric power industry.

1998
1998

Act 204 Adopted

Wisconsin legislature adopts 1997 Act 204, which repeals the state’s Advance Plan process. As a trade-off, the law requires utilities to build 50 megawatts of renewable power.

1999
1999

RENEW Hosts Renewable Energy in Wisconsin Conference in Appleton

RENEW Wisconsin hosts a conference in Appleton (Renewable Energy in Wisconsin – The Doors Are Opening) with over 160 attendees.

1999

1999 Act 9 Adopted

Wisconsin legislature adopts 1999 Act 9, which contains several significant energy provisions, including the creation of Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s ratepayer-funded energy conservation and renewables program.

1999

21 MW of Wind Built and Commissioned

Utilities build and commission 33 Vestas V-47 wind turbines, totaling 21 megawatts, in eastern Wisconsin.

2000
2000

Montfort Wind Farm Built and Energized

FPL Energy builds and energizes a 20-turbine, 30 MW wind farm in Iowa County near Montfort. The completion of Montfort caps the first wave of renewable power projects built in Wisconsin.

2001
2001

PSC 119 Established

With funding from the Joyce Foundation, RENEW launches a collaborative body to propose standards and procedures for interconnecting distributed generators to utility grids. This work evolves into formal rulemaking resulting in PSC 119, the state’s interconnection rule, taking effect in 2004.

2002
2002

Focus on Energy Launches Renewable Energy Program

Focus on Energy launches its renewable energy program, promoting solar, wind, and bioenergy for customer use. The program is instrumental in developing an in-state biopower industry serving dairy producers.

2002

We Energies agrees to 5% renewable energy set-aside

We Energies agrees to institute a 5% renewable energy set-aside for its generation portfolio and participate in a stakeholder-driven process to expand the renewable energy profile in its service territory.

2002

Governor’s Task Force recommends Wisconsin utilities achieve to 10% renewables by 2015

Michael Vickerman is selected to serve on Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables.  While serving on that body, Michael is tasked with redesigning the policy mechanism for increasing utility procurement of renewable power.  The Task Force ultimately produces a consensus package of recommendations for strengthening the state’s implementation of Wisconsin’s Energy Priority Law. These recommendations include increasing the percentage of renewable electricity sold in Wisconsin to 10% by 2015, nearly tripling current volumes in the mix.

2006
2006

Wisconsin adopts 2005 Act 141

Wisconsin adopts 2005 Act 141, the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Act, incorporating many of the policy proposals recommended by Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables. The law sets a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for utilities (10% by 2015) and protects Focus on Energy funds from budget raids. This law ushers in the next wave of renewable power projects in Wisconsin.

2007
2007

RENEW spearheads Wind for Wisconsin campaign

Reacting to an increasingly difficult siting climate, RENEW spearheads the formation of the Wind for Wisconsin campaign. This broad-based coalition maps out a legislative strategy leading to the establishment of statewide standards and procedures for permitting wind power projects at the local level.

2008
2008

Blue Sky Green Field, Forward, and Cedar Ridge wind farms placed in service

The RPS begins bearing fruit as wind generating capacity in Wisconsin expands sixfold, as three utility-scale wind farms in eastern Wisconsin are placed in service, including Blue Sky Green Field (88 turbines, 144 MW); Forward (86 turbines, 132 MW); and Cedar Ridge (41 turbines, 65 MW), all located in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties.

2009
2009

Legislature adopts Wind Siting Law (2009 Act 40)

Acting on a recommendation from Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming, the legislature adopts the Wind Siting Law (2009 Act 40). The law directs the Public Service Commission to promulgate a rule establishing siting standards that apply to wind power projects under 100 MW, which are permitted by local jurisdictions.

2010
2010

PSC develops wind siting rule

Work commences on the development of the PSC’s wind siting rule, starting with the formation of the Wind Siting Council. On matters such as setback distances and sound thresholds, that body proposes permitting standards that the PSC incorporates into its final rule (PSC 128), pending legislative review.

2011
2011

Legislature suspends wind siting rule

The Wisconsin legislature suspends the wind siting rule. That action causes wind developers active in Wisconsin to leave the state.

2012
2012

RENEW hosts first Renewable Energy Summit

RENEW Wisconsin hosts its first annual Renewable Energy Summit at the University of Wisconsin’s Pyle Center.

2012

PSC 128 takes effect

The wind siting rule survives a repeal vote by the Wisconsin State Senate, allowing PSC 128 to take effect.

2012

Michael Vickerman becomes RENEW’s Program and Policy Director

Michael Vickerman steps down as Executive Director, and transitions into a new position as RENEW’s Program and Policy Director. Don Wichert takes over as interim Executive Director.

2013
2013

Tyler Huebner named Executive Director

RENEW names Tyler Huebner as Executive Director.

2013

RENEW hosts first Ride with RENEW event

RENEW hosts its first Ride with RENEW bike event. Over two days, RENEW staff bikes with stakeholders to visit 12 renewable energy sites across the state.

2014
2014

Public Service Commission approves We Energies’ tax on solar

Over RENEW’s strong objections, the Public Service Commission approves We Energies’ proposal to restructure net metering tariffs, granting the utility’s request to impose, beginning in 2016, a de facto tax on solar generating equipment owned by small customers.

2015
2015

Dane County Judge invalidates We Energies’ solar tax

A Dane County Circuit Court Judge invalidates We Energies’ tax on customer-sited solar systems, citing a lack of evidence of any cost-shifting caused by customer solar-generators to warrant the financial penalties approved by the Public Service Commission.

2016
2016

RENEW launches MadiSUN Group Buy

RENEW partners with the City of Madison to launch MadiSUN, a solar group purchase program, to expand solar energy for homes and businesses.

2016

RENEW named IREC “Regulatory Champion of the Year”

RENEW wins a 2016 “Regulatory Champion of the Year” award from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council in recognition of RENEW’s successful fight against We Energies’ proposed solar tax.

2017
2017

Quilt Block wind farm energized

EDP Renewables and Dairyland Power Cooperative cut the ribbon on the 49-turbine, 98-megawatt Quilt Block wind farm in Lafayette County near Darlington. Permitted in 2003, Quilt Block supplies power to Dairyland’s member cooperatives.

2017

SoCore Energy’s solar arrays go online

All 14 of SoCore Energy’s solar arrays, totaling 20 MW, are online and supplying electricity to Dairyland Power Cooperative.

2017

RENEW launches Solar for Good

Through a generous partnership with the Couillard Solar Foundation, RENEW Wisconsin launches the Solar for Good program, which directs cash grants and equipment grants to nonprofit organizations, helping them switch to clean, renewable, solar energy.

2018
2018

PSC locks in $22 million in renewable energy incentives

In its final decision on Focus on Energy funding and program design, the PSC locks in $22 million in renewable energy incentives for the 2019-2022 funding cycle.

2018

Madison College installs largest rooftop solar system

The largest rooftop solar electric system is installed on the roof of Madison College’s Truax Campus.

2019
2019

PSC approves Two Creeks and Badger Hollow solar farms

PSC approves the Two Creeks and Badger Hollow solar farms, with a combined capacity of 450 megawatts. The PSC also approves utility ownership of these two power plants.

2019

OneEnergy, Organic Valley, and the City of Madison partner to build 10 solar farms

A unique partnership between OneEnergy, Organic Valley, and the City of Madison results in the completion of 10 solar farms spanning three states, including seven in Wisconsin totaling 17 MW. OneEnergy’s Butter Solar portfolio is financed through a combination of power sales and purchases of Renewable Energy Credits.

2019

Executive Order #38 issued

Governor Tony Evers issues Executive Order #38, an initiative to lead Wisconsin to a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2050.

2019

We Energies withdraws surcharge on customer-sited solar

Bowing to pressure from a broad coalition organized by RENEW, We Energies agrees to withdraw a proposed surcharge on customer-sited solar PV systems.

2020
2020
2020

Tyler Huebner appointed to Public Service Commission

Governor Tony Evers appoints Tyler Huebner to serve on the Public Service Commission.

2020

Heather Allen named Executive Director

RENEW names Heather Allen as Executive Director.

2020

Two Creeks Solar Park energized

The 150 MW Two Creeks Solar Park is energized, effectively doubling the amount of solar generating capacity in Wisconsin to 300 MW.

2021
2021

Public Service Commission investigates zero-carbon by 2050

Public Service Commission launches an investigation to achieving a zero-carbon grid by 2050.

EVENTS

August 3, 2021

30th Anniversary Fundraiser

Lussier Family Heritage Center
3101 Lake Farm Roard
Madison, WI 53711

September 25, 2021

Ride with RENEW

Madison, WI