The Energy Future of Wisconsin is Bright: RENEW Staff Joined President Biden to Celebrate Inflation Reduction Act

The Energy Future of Wisconsin is Bright: RENEW Staff Joined President Biden to Celebrate Inflation Reduction Act

With an invitation extended by Governor Tony Evers, RENEW’s Interim Executive Director, Jessica Niekrasz, and Emerging Technology Director, Francisco Sayu, joined President Biden, his cabinet, and lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday, September 13, to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The celebration – including a surprise appearance by James and Kim Taylor – was a stunning reminder of our collective power to accomplish “big things” when we work together. “Today offers proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real,” Biden said during his speech on the South Lawn.

RENEW applauds the Biden administration for signing the IRA – the most significant climate legislation ever passed in the U.S. The IRA includes $369 billion to help families save money on energy, improve quality of life, create stable jobs, and fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions.  

RENEW is dedicated to building a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Wisconsin through the advancement of renewable energy. The clean energy investments in the IRA will boost renewable energy and beneficial electrification in Wisconsin, limiting our dependence on imported gas and petroleum. This market transformation is needed to begin transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels that bleed our state’s economy by $14 billion yearly.

Wisconsin Families that take advantage of the clean energy incentives and electric vehicle tax credits in the IRA could save more than $1,000 per year. Here are some of the benefits available to Wisconsin residents:

  • Up to $14,000 in direct consumer rebates for families to buy heat pumps or other energy-efficient home appliances, saving families at least $350 per year.
  • 30% tax credit to install rooftop solar systems, saving families $9,000 over the system’s life or at least $300 per year.
  • Up to $7,500 in tax credits for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles, helping families save $950 per year.

The clean energy investments in the IRA support the Governor’s climate goals, as outlined in Wisconsin’s Clean Energy Plan. These investments will help power homes, businesses, and communities with homegrown renewable energy, improve health outcomes, and create stable jobs for residents of Wisconsin. 

RENEW was honored to be at the White House representing the great state of Wisconsin and thanks Governor Tony Evers for this incredible opportunity.  Inclusion at this historic celebration is a testament to the incredible work the RENEW team has been doing for over thirty years. We look forward to helping our state take advantage of the opportunities offered by the IRA, and will continue to support access to clean energy for families, businesses, and communities in Wisconsin. 

Inflation Reduction Act Breakdown

Inflation Reduction Act Breakdown

The world of clean energy received a monumental win earlier this month with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will be the backbone of the United States’ effort to decarbonize our energy sector, spur clean energy implementation across all demographics, and significantly grow the clean energy economy.

Here is a breakdown of the bill’s elements:

Renewable Energy Generation

Investment Tax Credits

  • Residential Solar: 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) on project costs until the end of 2032, with a step-down of 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034. Credits are retroactive for residential installations from 1/1/2022, meaning that homeowners who installed a solar array at any point in 2022 will qualify for the 30% ITC.
  • Commercial Solar: 30% ITC on project costs until the end of 2024 (ITC on commercial solar is also retroactive to 1/1/2022). Beginning in 2025, the ITC will be replaced by technology-neutral credits, with the following rules in place:
    • 6% base credit; bonus credits up to 30% of costs if the project meets union labor, prevailing wage, and apprenticeship requirements. These requirements do not apply to projects less than 1 megawatt (MW) in size.
    • 10% bonus credits if the project meets domestic content requirements.
    • 10% bonus credits if the project is sited in an “energy community” – a brownfield site or a community with a recent coal plant closure.
    • 10% bonus credits if the project is sited in a low-income community. This only applies to projects that are 5 MW and less.
    • 20% bonus credits if the project qualifies as directly serving a low-income residential facility or another economic benefit system.
    • Interconnection costs -for projects less than 5 MW- with the utility can be included in the credits.

Production Tax Credits

While the Investment Tax Credit applies to the upfront purchase of parts, materials, and labor, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) functions differently. This credit is a direct payment and applies to the production or output of the generation source. This generation source can be solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower, to name a few. These credits are also retroactive from 1/1/2022.

Here is how the PTC breaks down:

  • Direct pay value: $0.026 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) starting in 2022; rate rises with inflation.
  • Bonus credit of 1.5 cents/kWh if union labor, prevailing wage, and apprenticeship requirements are met.
  • 10% bonus credits if domestic content requirements are met.
  • 10% bonus credits if the project is sited in an “energy community” – a brownfield site or a community with a recent coal plant closure.
  • The PTC is available for nonprofits, state and local governments, rural electric cooperatives, tribal governments, and/or other tax-exempt entities. These organizations previously did not qualify for the ITC.
  • PTC will also apply to utility-scale projects.
  • Credits are available for ten years after the project is placed into service.
  • Direct pay/PTC is not available for residential solar installations.
  • PTC is transferable after 2022; however not for individual taxpayers.
  • Commercial solar projects can choose either the ITC or the PTC.

 


Electric Vehicles

New EVs: (Effective 8/16/2022)

  • $7,500 tax credit to be divided into two separate credits:
    • $3,750 credit for electric vehicles with batteries produced in North America.
    • $3,750 credit for electric vehicles using a certain percentage of critical battery minerals extracted or processed in the U.S.
    • Vehicles meeting only one requirement will only be eligible for a $3,750 credit.
  • Vehicles must cost less than:
    • Vans < $80,000
    • Pickups and SUVs < $80,000
    • Cars < $55,000
  • Income requirements:
    • Joint tax return < $300,000
    • Head of household < $225,000
    • Single-payer < $150,000
  • Credit will eliminate the limit of 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer.

Commercial Clean Vehicles: (Effective 01/01/23)

  • Up to $40,000 tax credit for commercial electric vehicles.

Used EVs: (Effective 01/01/2023)

  • $4,000 tax credit or 30% of the vehicle’s sale price.
  • The vehicle’s model year must be at least two years older than the current “new” model year.
  • Vehicle cost must be less than $25,000.
  • Income requirements:
    • Joint tax return <$150,000
    • Head of household <$112,300
    • Single-payer <$75,000
  • Used EV tax credits will continue until the end of 2032.

EV-Charging:

  • Credits for EV-charging equipment and infrastructure will increase up to $100,000.
  • Equipment must be located in a qualified census tract, with similar bonus credits if prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements are met.
  • A direct pay or PTC option is available for charging with transferrable credits.
  • Credits will be available until 2032.

 


Battery Storage

Effective as of 1/1/2023

  • 30% ITC for the cost of installation; credits last until 2033. To qualify, batteries must be larger than 3kWh for residential installations and larger than 5kWh for commercial installations.
  • Commercial battery credits have similar sliding scales as other ITC items: baseline of 6% with increasing credits for prevailing wage, labor, location, etc.
  • Battery storage systems will no longer need to be coupled with solar generation systems to qualify for tax credits.

Energy Efficiency and Electrification

Effective as of 1/1/2023

Federal Tax Credit

  • Heat Pumps: 30% of costs, up to $2,000
  • Electric Upgrades: 50% of costs, up to $1,200/year
Upfront Discounts
  • Incentive levels and eligibility are determined by income
  • Heat Pumps: rebates for up to $8,000
  • Electric Upgrades: up to $4,000 for breaker boxes/electric service; $2,500 for wiring, and $1,600 for insulation/venting/sealing

 


Manufacturing and Production

Effective as of 1/1/2023

  • $30 billion in PTC to manufacture solar panels, trackers, inverters, wind turbines, batteries, and other critical minerals.
    • Solar PV cells – $0.04/watt
    • Solar-grade polysilicon – $3/kg
    • Solar modules – $0.07/watt
    • Wind components – 10% of the sales price
    • Battery cells – $35/kWh
    • Critical minerals – 10% of the cost of production
  • $10 billion in ITC funding for building new facilities to manufacture clean energy products; $4 billion of these funds must be allocated to “energy communities.”
  • $500M for manufacturing heat pumps and processing of critical minerals necessary for heat pump production.

Other Items

  • Carbon Sequestration Credits (ITC or PTC) for facilities that begin construction before 2033 and provide direct air capture of carbon dioxide. Credits will be issued by a metric ton of carbon capture.
  • Clean Hydrogen – credits for production -by unit- of green and blue hydrogen that can be used to offset traditionally carbon-based fuels.
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel – credits for SAF produced by unit (gallon) with increasing credits based on a percentage of greenhouse gas reduction.
  • Biodiesel/Alternative Fuels – production credits for fuels produced based on life-cycle emission levels.
  • Methane Fees – fees imposed by EPA for facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

Additional Provisions

  • $500 million for the Defense Production Act, some of which could be used for solar manufacturing.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund totaling $29 billion overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Climate Pollution Reduction Grants to state and local governments totaling $5 billion.
  • Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants: $3 billion for disadvantaged communities.
  • $2 billion in loan authority for new transmission construction in designated national interest corridors.
  • $760 million for the Department of Energy to issue grants to state, local or tribal entities to facilitate siting of high-voltage interstate transmission.
  • Additional $1 billion for rural renewable energy electrification loans and expansion of the program to include storage.
  • Additional $1 billion for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with total grants limited to 50% of the total cost of an eligible project.
  • $9.6 billion for loans and financing for rural co-ops to purchase renewable energy, generation, zero-emission systems, and related transmission, limited to 25% of total cost.
  • Incentives for build-out of electric vehicle charging networks.
  • Extension, expansion, and changes to electric vehicle tax credits, including a new credit for purchasing used EVs.

Conclusion

Much of the implementation and administration of the Inflation Reduction Act is still not understood. This document is meant to summarize the items in the bill that RENEW Wisconsin considers particularly important to the clean energy transition in our state.

For additional information, please utilize the following resources:

Please contact Sam Dunaiski (sam@renewwisconsin.org) with questions.

Leveraging Focus on Energy® to Fight Soaring Energy Costs

Leveraging Focus on Energy® to Fight Soaring Energy Costs

Last month, I joined the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin in a virtual discussion about energy costs in the state. I discussed strategies to address rising energy costs during the panel, including energy efficiency and beneficial electrification. The panel focused on real-world actions residents can take to reduce their energy burden. You can watch the webinar replay by clicking on this link. Now, I want to talk about the resources we have to support individual efforts to fight soaring energy costs through energy efficiency. In particular, I want to talk about the Focus on Energy® Program. (Focus).

What do I mean by energy efficiency, and why should you care? Energy efficiency is the use of less energy to produce the same result. For example, a light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulb produces the same amount of light as an incandescent lightbulb using only 15 percent of the energy needed for the incandescent light because LED lights waste less energy in the form of heat. Energy efficiency is important because less energy saves you money on utility bills.

Most homeowners, renters, and businesses in Wisconsin can access resources – such as free Energy Saving Packs – and financial incentives to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses through the Focus program. Focus is Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resource program that operates on behalf of 107 utilities. Since 2001 the program has saved Wisconsin residents over $1 billion.

Last spring, the Public Service Commission (PSC) made decisions regarding the overall policies and priorities for the next phase of the Focus program. Wisconsin law requires the PSC to review energy efficiency and renewable energy programs every four years. You can read the minutes of the PSC meeting here

 In summary, the PSC provided the following directions for the next four years (period from 2023 to 2026):

  • Focus should play a more significant role in cost-effectively reducing carbon emissions. The next four years should serve as a transitional period during which the program continues emphasizing energy savings while progressing toward a transition to a greater emphasis on reducing carbon emissions.
  • Focus shall not claim savings from fuel switching from unregulated fuels to electricity.
  • Focus shall use the next four years as a transitional period to position the program to take on a more significant role in promoting beneficial electrification statewide. 
  • Focus shall develop and maintain a menu of options for voluntary utility programs to be shared with participating utilities.
  • Focus shall maintain its current level of support for utility demand response programs.
  • The Focus program should continue to offer income-qualified programs and coordinate with the Department of Energy weatherization program to further fill potential gaps in its low-income offerings, including community-based pilot(s) in targeted communities. The Focus Program Administrator shall convene a stakeholder group that includes community-based organizations that work with marginalized communities to address barriers to outreach and participation.

RENEW submitted comments to the PSC supporting the alignment of Focus with emissions reduction goals to lower the state’s dependence on imported fuels and support renewable energy development. You can read RENEWS’s comments on the Focus Quadrennial Planning Process here.

I will write in the future about resources to help you save money through beneficial electrification. Stay tuned! 

Alliant Cuts Ribbon on its First Solar Farm

Alliant Cuts Ribbon on its First Solar Farm

Bear Creek Project Ushers in Gigawatt of Solar Capacity

Alliant Energy’s ambitious solar portfolio debuted on August 22 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its 50-megawatt (MW) Bear Creek project near Lone Rock in Richland County. Electricity produced from Bear Creek should equate to the annual consumption of approximately 13,000 residences. 

Bear Creek will be followed by 11 more Alliant-owned solar projects totaling more than a gigawatt (1,000 MW), which are expected to go online over the next 18 months. Indeed, Alliant’s Wisconsin affiliate is on a trajectory to source 20% of its electricity from solar power by 2025. All 12 projects were approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC). (See table below for a complete list of Alliant’s solar projects.)

“This project is an incredible milestone for our customers,” said David de Leon, Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin President. “Guided by our purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities, this solar farm diversifies our energy portfolio, boosts American energy independence, and increases access to affordable electricity.”

The Bear Creek project drew praise from several project partners, including the Town of Buena Vista. “This project represents a significant, long-term investment in our community,” said Van Nelson, the town of Buena Vista clerk. “The township appreciated how well they were kept informed of progress throughout the project.” 

With the completion of Bear Creek, Buena Vista and Richland County expect to reap a combined $200,000 annually from the state’s shared revenue program over 30 years. The project site covers 456 acres.

Construction of the Bear Creek solar farm began in July 2021. Burns & McDonnell was the lead contractor for the project and engaged operating engineers, carpenters, laborers, and electricians from several local union halls – increasing the positive economic impact and community benefit. 

“When businesses partner with the skilled forces of Wisconsin’s unionized building trades, they know they’re going to get a safe, quality product that delivers superior value for everyone,” said Emily Pritzkow, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Building Trades Council. “By prioritizing using local unionized labor on renewable energy projects, Alliant Energy is supporting a strong workforce, keeping project dollars in the community and boosting our state economy.”

 

At the ribbon-cutting, Alliant officials drew attention to the safety record achieved during construction. According to Cameron Garner, construction project manager at Burns & McDonnell, not a single accident resulting in a loss of labor hours was recorded during the project’s construction. This is a remarkable achievement considering that 120,000 hours of labor were logged in completing the solar farm. 

Alliant has scheduled its next ribbon-cutting ceremony in late September at its 150 MW Wood County solar farm near Nekoosa.  A third ceremony will likely follow in November at the utility’s North Rock project north of Janesville. 

Over the last three years, the PSC has approved 1,850 MW of utility-owned solar generating capacity in Wisconsin. Of that total, nearly 60% of that capacity will serve Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin customers. PSC Commissioner Tyler Huebner joined Alliant officials and other project partners in the ribbon-cutting.  

Approved Alliant Energy solar projects

Docket Nos. 6680-CE-182 and 6680-CE-183

Project name Location (county) Capacity (in MW) Start date
Albany Green 50 2023
Bear Creek  Richland 50 8/2022
Beaver Dam Dodge 50 2023
Cassville Grant 50 2023
Crawfish River Jefferson 75 12/2022
Grant County Grant 200 2024
North Rock Rock 50 11/2022
Onion River Sheboygan 150 2023
Paddock Rock 65 2023
Springfield  Dodge 100 2023
Wautoma Waushara 99 2023
Wood County Wood 150 9/2022
Total 1,089  

David de Leon, President, Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin affiliate

Cameron Garmer, Construction Project Manager, Burns and McDonnell

Left: Michael Greiveldinger, Senior Manager, Regulatory, Alliant Energy; Right: Tyler Huebner, Commissioner, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

RENEW Wisconsin Statement on the Inflation Reduction Act Approved  by the House of Representatives

RENEW Wisconsin Statement on the Inflation Reduction Act Approved by the House of Representatives

After decades of inaction punctuated by occasional half-measures, Congress has passed monumental legislation committing the nation to pursue a clean energy transformation that will benefit all sectors of American society. 

The enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act, which cleared the House of Representatives  today, will signal to the rest of the world that the United States is “all in” on decarbonizing the  domestic economy while greatly expanding investment and career opportunities in the clean energy arena. 

Specifically, this legislation represents a 10-year commitment to scaling up the deployment of clean energy technologies, electric vehicles, and electrified heating and cooling systems produced and delivered by U.S. companies.  

With its emphasis on strengthening America’s productive capacity and workforce to deliver  clean energy to our fellow citizens, this legislation is genuinely an industrial-strength response to the climate emergency enveloping our planet. 

We at RENEW look forward to working collaboratively with federal and state agencies,  businesses, farmers, local governments, and schools to help deliver the benefits of the clean  energy transformation to every Wisconsinite.

Utility Regulators Open Docket to Clarify Financing Tools for Customer-Sited Renewable Energy

Utility Regulators Open Docket to Clarify Financing Tools for Customer-Sited Renewable Energy

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) agreed to open a docket to determine whether individual residents and businesses may access renewable energy produced on their premises using equipment owned by third parties. 

“RENEW Wisconsin commends the PSC decision,” said RENEW Wisconsin Policy Director Michael Vickerman. “While this arrangement, often described as third party-financing, is expressly legal in 29 states, it has remained a legal gray area in Wisconsin for far too long.” 

“In accepting the petitions filed by Vote Solar and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the PSC has now committed to resolving this ambiguity,” Vickerman continued. “PSC affirmation of third party financing is essential to spreading the benefits of clean energy to all Wisconsin utility customers.” 

Vickerman noted that this lingering uncertainty has greatly impeded renewable energy uptake among individuals and organizations that cannot afford large upfront outlays or do not qualify for federal tax credits. These particular customers include nonprofits, small businesses, houses of worship, schools and local governments, and low-to-moderate income residents. 

Vickerman continued: “A favorable ruling from the PSC would allow Wisconsin’s solar marketplace to catch up with neighboring states such as Iowa and Illinois. In those states, there is no barrier to customers hosting renewable energy systems owned by third parties and paying for this service through a lease or a power sale agreement.” 

“We believe third-party financing is a critically important tool for empowering customers to scale back their fossil fuel usage,” Vickerman said. “Without expressly affirming the legality of ordinary financing mechanisms such as leases, we do not see how the state of Wisconsin will come anywhere near close to achieving a net zero carbon goal by 2050.” 

The results of our 2022 Board Of Directors election are in!

The results of our 2022 Board Of Directors election are in!

Thank you to all members who voted in our 2022 Board of Directors Election. RENEW Wisconsin’s Board of Directors plays an important role in setting the strategic vision for the organization. All dues-supporting members of RENEW Wisconsin were invited to vote in this year’s Board of Directors election.

The results of this year’s election include two incumbent board members, Mike Barnett and Jim Funk, and two newly elected board members, Lauren Reeg and Melissa Warning. All will soon begin a three-year term helping us advance renewable energy in Wisconsin.

MEET OUR NEWLY ELECTED BOARD MEMBERS

LAUREN REEG

RENEW Wisconsin is at the forefront of clean energy policy, and I would be proud to sit on the Board of directors. I have extensive experience with Wisconsin energy policy that could aid RENEW’s efforts.

Having lived in Wisconsin for over a decade, I received my Bachelor’s in engineering and Masters in energy policy from UW-Madison while interning at RENEW for two years. Currently, I work for RMI, a national clean energy non-profit focused on building decarbonization and electrification policy in the Midwest.

I’ll bring my knowledge of federal funding for equitable building retrofits, expertise in technical analysis related to cold climate heat pumps and renewable energy, and a national understanding of building policy efforts. These skills can elevate RENEW’s ability to engage in the buildings sector, which is ~17% of WI’s energy-related emissions. In addition to skills from my current role, I have experience in Wisconsin regulatory dockets and EV analysis and policy.

Finally, I am personally interested in sitting on the Board because I deeply care for RENEW. My internship with RENEW launched my career and cemented my passion for Midwest energy policy. This organization does exemplary advocacy, stakeholder engagement, and education that I would be proud to support.

MELISSA WARNING

I would like to become a Board of Director member at RENEW Wisconsin to help drive clean energy initiatives forward in our state. I am passionate about the impact renewable energy and electrification can and will have. There’s significant work to be done in our state to educate key stakeholders as to why the Badger State needs to continue innovating and investing in a future that is not dependent on fossil fuels.

Our future depends on our actions now, and collectively, we need to strategize what options are available today and how we knock down barriers to help build a stronger, cleaner, more vibrant Wisconsin.

As electrification becomes more prominent as an alternative energy source, we must ensure we have the resources to support those efforts. It’s up to us to push for cleaner, more reliable power for people and businesses across the state. Renewable energy options need to become a larger part of the conversation. Change is difficult but necessary as we move towards a decarbonized, decentralized, and digitized energy future.

I am currently the Sr. Marketing Strategy Manager for EnTech Solutions, a full-solution clean energy company, where I lead the strategic marketing initiatives for the business. I am passionate about brand building by understanding trends and authentically connecting with consumers through education and value creation. I have 12 years of experience in marketing strategy, content development, project management, and social media strategy. Before joining EnTech Solutions, I was with Harley-Davidson and Kimberly-Clark.

I hold a Communications/Public Relations degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. I reside in Oshkosh and enjoy spending time with my family, being outdoors, and traveling.

RENEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mike Barnett • Madison, WI
Mike Cornell • Hartland, WI
Beth Esser • Madison, WI
Jim Funk • Winneconne, WI
Samara Hamze • Stevens Point, WI
Alicia Leinberger • Viroqua, WI
Mariah Lynne • Albert Lea, MN
Jessica Niekrasz • Chicago, IL
Lauren Reeg • Boulder, CO
Amy Seeboth-Wilson • Platteville, WI
Josh Stolzenberg • Wausau, WI
Eric Udelhofen • Madison, WI
Ken Walz • Madison, WI
Melissa Warning • Oshkosh, WI
Niels Wolter • Madison, WI

Don Wichert (DIRECTOR EMERITUS/Lifetime/Non-voting) • Madison, WI

Thank you for participating in the election and using your voice to help shape RENEW’s future! And thank you to all candidates who offered their expertise and time to help our organization grow and thrive. 

RENEW Wisconsin

RENEW Wisconsin holds elections for our Board of Directors every year. If you or someone you know would like to be considered for our next election, please complete the short form linked below. Racial diversity and inclusion are a priority in our organization, and we strongly encourage people of color and other underrepresented groups to join us in advancing renewable energy in Wisconsin. 

Supporters Of Clean Energy And Distributed Generation, It’s Time To Weigh In.

Supporters Of Clean Energy And Distributed Generation, It’s Time To Weigh In.

RENEW has assembled a team of experts to develop a comprehensive framework of Distributed Generation (DG) buyback rates as a counter-proposal to utility applications. DG buyback rates determine payments for ALL non-utility-owned electricity generation at the distribution level. For more information, please read this short RENEW parallel generation blog.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) must hear from clean energy advocates in each case. These PSC decisions will impact businesses, local governments, schools, hospitals, organizations, and individuals. We thank all of the clean energy supporters that submitted comments.  

Comment periods are now closed for all cases. 
WE ENERGIES (6630-TE-107)
WPS (6690-TE-114)
MGE (3270-TE-114)
XCEL Energy (4420-TE-109)
Alliant Energy (6680-TE-107)

RENEW appreciates the supporting comments that were submitted in favor of RENEW’s comprehensive framework for buyback rates. We believe this framework values DG, accelerates carbon emission reductions and provides a path for Wisconsinites to participate in building a clean energy future. Once again, more detail is provided in RENEW’s blog, Buyback Rates and the Business Case for Distributed Generation in Wisconsin. 

For additional information on this topic, please contact Andrew Kell, Policy Analyst at RENEW.

Thank you for being a champion of clean energy in Wisconsin!

Wisconsin could receive $78.65 Million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Wisconsin could receive $78.65 Million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

See how the state plans to spend these funds.

The Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (WEVI) Plan is Wisconsin’s version of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Plan – a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) program signed by the Biden administration last year. The NEVI program provides funding to states to strategically deploy electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to facilitate access and reliability. The programs must also support the Justice40 Initiative, which states that at least forty percent of federal investments in climate and clean energy infrastructure benefits are distributed to disadvantaged communities.

The Wisconsin Electrification Initiative (WIEV) within the Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is ready to finalize its plan, which outlines how Wisconsin will spend the $78.65 Million of available funding to build, operate and maintain Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in the State. This funding is part of a $7.5 billion package to create a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.

The NEVI funding will be distributed over five years (2022 – 2026). The first round of funding will prioritize the development of EV charging stations every 50 miles along the State’s portions of the Interstate Highway System within one travel mile of the Interstate. The new charging stations must have at least four EV fast charging ports. 

The NEVI program also allocates $2.5 billion for discretionary grants to support charging stations along Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) and community charging grants. The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation will provide additional guidance for discretionary grants in Fall 2022.

WisDOT has opened the Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan for public input. Wisconsin residents are encouraged to send comments and feedback using this link by July 24, 2022.

Wisconsin’s EV infrastructure plan is thorough with a smart methodology to identify potential locations for charging stations. However, RENEW would like to see more emphasis on fulfilling the goals of the Justice40 initiative.

Wisconsin has an incredible opportunity to ensure that all communities can benefit from these federal infrastructure investments. RENEW recommends that the WEVI plan allocate adequate resources for outreach to disadvantaged communities. The plan should apportion a budget to hire community outreach professionals that have access to these communities and the organizations that serve them. Building these partnerships will ensure meaningful community engagement, especially concerning BIPOC, rural, limited English proficiency, and low-income communities.

While EVs have a higher upfront cost than internal combustion vehicles, owners can save a lot on fuel and maintenance costs. Still, it can be easy to discount the benefits or impact of EV charging infrastructure for non-EV owners in disadvantaged communities. However, with car manufacturers committing to electric transportation, including GM pledging to be all-electric by 2035 and Ford by 2030, EV charging infrastructure will soon be vital in all reaches of the state. Bringing a complete representation of voices to the table during the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the WEVI plan will ensure equitable participation and access to the benefits of EV infrastructure.

An investment in EV infrastructure is an investment in Wisconsin’s future, and we encourage everyone to engage in this planning process by sending comments and feedback to WisDOT.

RENEW Wisconsin at the 31st MREA Energy Fair

RENEW Wisconsin at the 31st MREA Energy Fair

Last weekend, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) hosted the 31st Annual Energy Fair, bringing people together to learn about sustainability and clean energy, connect with others, and take action toward a sustainable future. The Fair featured workshops, exhibitors, live music, inspiring keynote speakers, family fun, great local food, and more. 

RENEW staff presented some compelling workshops and you can download slides from their presentations below.

A Zero-Carbon Grid – How We Get There

Andrew Kell, RENEW Policy Analyst, discussed zero-carbon goals and ongoing planning efforts in Wisconsin. Andrew also discussed a joint study to address policy considerations of this clean energy transition.

Health Benefits of Electric Vehicle Adoption

Christina Zordani, Electric Vehicle Policy Intern at RENEW, discussed a Wisconsin with 100% clean-power electric vehicle adoption. In this workshop, attendees learned how a renewable-powered transportation network would bring significant economic and health benefits to Wisconsin.

Vehicle-to-Grid: Opportunities and Challenges

Francisco Sayu, RENEW Emerging Technology Director, discussed how Vehicle-to-Grid technology unlocks the energy stored in electric vehicles and opens opportunities for energy trading, energy management, and grid resiliency. The workshop delved into two case studies.

Energy Policy and Politics in Wisconsin

 Jim Boullion, RENEW Government Affairs Director, reviewed the busiest legislative session for energy-related issues in many years, including solar financing, community solar, and electric vehicle rules. 

Small Solar Farms in Wisconsin – Why More Are Needed

Michael Vickerman, RENEW Policy Director, discussed initiatives to expand Wisconsin’s solar marketplace’s middle tier: offsite arrays serving groups of self-selecting customers or whole communities across Wisconsin.

A Clean Energy Toolkit for Local Governments

Sam Dunaiski, RENEW Resources Director, discussed towns, cities, and counties in WI that are building the clean energy economy. By investing in renewables, WI communities are reducing carbon emissions, investing locally, and creating energy independence.