Growing Focus on Energy Means Growing Wisconsin’s Economy

Growing Focus on Energy Means Growing Wisconsin’s Economy

On June 29, 2021, RENEW Wisconsin hosted a webinar titled “Focus on Energy: Economic Impact in Wisconsin.” Dan York from American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Scott Blankman from Clean Wisconsin, and Maddie Wazowicz from Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) provided an overview of the Focus on Energy program. In particular, Wazowicz provided pre-publication results of an upcoming Synapse Energy Economics report analyzing utility bill savings and associated efficiency of business and utility operations that would result from an increase in Focus on Energy’s annual funding.

In his introductory remarks, ACEEE’s York noted that “An analysis conducted a few years ago by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that Focus on Energy was the most cost-effective program serving utility customers in the U.S.” Dan went on to say that according to ACEEE’s own state efficiency scorecard analysis, “while other states have increased their investments and associated spending for customer energy efficiency programs, such funding in Wisconsin has been largely static, locked in by the legislation that created Focus on Energy.” MEEA’s Wazowicz compared Midwestern states’ energy efficiency investments and discussed what an increase of the Focus on Energy budget could mean for Wisconsin.

To understand what additional benefits could be realized from expanding the Focus on Energy program, we can look at results from the upcoming Synapse report. The figure below uses information from a slide presented by Maddie Wazowicz at the webinar and represents pre-publication results from the Synapse study.  It shows that doubling the Focus on Energy budget would translate to $20.7 million in annual utility bill savings for Wisconsin utility customers. Of that, $16.95 million in yearly utility bill savings would be realized by Wisconsin businesses if the Focus on Energy budget were doubled! This is what Wisconsin customers would save on top of savings occurring at current Focus on Energy investment levels.

The August Synapse report details avoided utility costs, job creation, economic investment, and reduced air emissions associated with an increase in the Focus on Energy budget. Overall, the report finds that if Wisconsin doubled the Focus on Energy budget the state would receive $340 million dollars in net benefits over one year or $3.4 billion over ten years. Investing in Focus on Energy means a more clean and efficient Wisconsin economy for everyone!

The webinar then transitioned to a discussion of direct economic impacts for Wisconsin business. York moderated a panel of Wisconsin business representatives, who described their experience with the program’s energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives. The panel included Sean Hyland from American Family Insurance, Charles McGinnis from Johnson Controls, Benjamin Reynolds from Reynolds Transfer and Storage, and Tim Ulrich from Cree Lighting.

One of the hot topics of the business panel’s discussion related to data management combined with energy efficiency measures and occupancy sensors. Johnson Control’s McGinnis said that the objective of these combined technologies is to “reduce the amount of energy consumption, for the appropriate amount of occupancy, so that you can optimize the size of renewable energy application to produce green electricity.” Panelists discussed their experience with sustainability programs and performance-based metrics. In combination with his experience with the Focus on Energy program, Benjamin Reynolds described his experience with the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and its Green Masters Program. According to Reynolds, the Green Masters Program “is aimed at helping small-to-medium-sized businesses implement sustainability, and figure out ways to improve in energy efficiency, but also improve in waste and other performance metrics.”

Focus on Energy Impact in Wisconsin

This webinar was prompted by calls by supporters to increase funding for Focus on Energy. A RENEW blog post, penned by Michael Vickerman in October of 2020, detailed success stories and energy savings benefits realized by several Wisconsin breweries, such as Capital Brewery in Middleton, WI. That blog post referenced findings of numerous third-party evaluator annual reports on the program. These reports have found that for every dollar invested in Focus on Energy, Wisconsin receives $4 to $5 in economic and environmental benefits. That cost-to-benefit ratio represents a considerable success, as well as a huge opportunity for expansion!

The RENEW blog post also highlighted a recent review of the program by Chair Rebecca Valcq of the Public Service Commission and her request that Governor Evers propose doubling the Focus on Energy budget. Chair Valcq also recently published an op-ed in WISPOLITICS, an online journal, highlighting the economic benefits of Focus on Energy and why an increased investment is needed.

Focus on Energy is currently funded by utilities at about $95 million per year, and funding level changes can only be done through legislation. The Governor followed up on calls to increase Focus on Energy funding by doing just that with his proposed 2021-2023 budget, which RENEW highlighted in a blog post about public listening sessions earlier this year.

This past spring, legislators decided to omit all Governor Evers’ clean energy provisions from its own proposed budget, which unfortunately meant leaving an important economic growth opportunity on the cutting room floor after Governor Evers signed the state budget earlier this July.

Since its inception in 1999, Focus on Energy has fueled a more energy-efficient economy in Wisconsin. The program was created with bipartisan support and can help grow the economy once again with increased funding. Since doubling the Focus on Energy funding was not part of the state budget this year, legislators on both sides of the aisle can prioritize supporting a stand-alone piece of legislation. A clean, growing economy should be something we can all get behind!

For more information, contact Andrew Kell, RENEW Wisconsin’s Policy Analyst, andrew@renewwisconsin.org.

Community Solar for Everyone

Community Solar for Everyone

Over the past few months, RENEW Wisconsin and our partners have been developing statewide policies that would expand customer access to community solar projects.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory defines community solar, also known as shared solar or solar gardens, as a distributed solar energy deployment model that allows customers to buy or lease part of a larger, offsite shared solar photovoltaic (PV) system.  Community members subscribing to a solar facility receive credits for their share of the power produced, either in electricity bill savings or energy (kWh) credits.

New community solar projects are being rapidly developed around the country; 21 states, including Minnesota and Illinois, have already enacted policies that expand the community solar market between subscribing organizations and participating customers. Community solar deployment in the United States has achieved a five-year annual growth rate of 53%[1]. But, lacking statewide policies to promote community solar options, Wisconsin is quickly falling behind.

Since 2010, the number of solar energy systems purchased by US homeowners and businesses has grown tenfold. By the end of 2019, nearly two million homeowners and businesses were reaping the rewards from producing solar-generated electricity. Solar power is popular with many US consumers, and it has become an affordable option for many households and businesses. Yet access to solar power is limited. More than 50% of Wisconsin households cannot access solar energy onsite because they rent, live in multi-tenant buildings, have roofs that cannot host a solar system, or experience some other constraining factor.

In Wisconsin right now, only regulated utilities and cooperatives can provide energy from solar gardens to customers. A few utilities, like Madison Gas and Electric, offer a shared solar service that customers can enroll in today. However, most Wisconsin utilities do not currently have a comparable program available for their customers.  That lack of access will persist unless state lawmakers adopt a modernized policy to promote a robust community solar marketplace.

Senator Duey Stroebel (R – Saukville) and Representative Timothy Ramthun (R – Campbellsport) have introduced legislation that would expand access to community solar in Wisconsin. This legislation enables the development of more community solar and supports energy freedom, expands customer choice, saves money on your utility bill, all while creating healthier and more resilient communities.

With a stronger statewide community solar policy, we would open the door for homeowners, businesses, schools, churches, and nonprofits to supply themselves with clean, affordable electricity from a local solar array.

Community solar legislation would benefit all utility customers by adding locally generated electricity to our energy grid while strengthening the rural economy at the same time. Community solar brings guaranteed savings for every subscriber as well as predictable and stable long-term energy costs. It gives customers a choice to support local clean energy projects while expanding access to affordable renewable energy for low-to middle-income residents.

Community solar expansion would allow more Wisconsin farmers to lease their land to host solar arrays and receive a guaranteed secure income for 25 years or longer.  This drought-resistant cash crop is especially valuable for Wisconsin’s agricultural communities facing economic stress.

The soil underneath the panels can be planted with a variety of native plants and perennials.  In addition to minimizing agricultural runoff and fixing nutrients in the soil, these perennials create a high-quality habitat for bees, butterflies, and other insects that move pollen in and around the fields and improve farm productivity.

When solar panels have reached the end of their useful lives, the equipment can be removed, and crop production can resume on the land that has become more fertile as a result of the native plantings.

A robust community solar market in Wisconsin will create thousands of jobs, spur hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth, and save customers millions in utility bills. Community solar is proven to support economic development, expand consumer choice and bring clean energy to urban and rural communities across Wisconsin.

Learn more about the proposed community solar legislation at www.wisolarcoalition.com.

 

[1] The Vision of US Community Solar: A Roadmap to 2030

 

 

Renewable generation steps up during pandemic

Renewable generation steps up during pandemic

Wisconsin electric providers added significantly more renewable energy content to their electricity supplies in 2020 relative to 2019, according to a July 2021 report issued by the Public Service Commission. The annual report documents the amount of renewable electricity sold in Wisconsin and determines whether electric providers here comply with the State’s 15-year-old Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).  This year’s report can be accessed from the PSC’s website at Docket No. 5-RF-2020.

Overall, RPS-eligible renewable energy (or renewable energy that supplies all utility customers) accounted for 12.98% of Wisconsin electricity sales in 2020, increasing more than two percentage points from the 10.71% level recorded in 2019.

This was the most significant advance since 2013 when the State’s electric providers achieved full compliance with the RPS statewide goal of 10% renewable electricity.

As shown in the chart below, the jump in Wisconsin’s renewable energy percentage resulted from a combination of increased renewable electricity supplies and a reduction in electricity sales caused primarily by the coronavirus pandemic.

In late 2020, Wisconsin utilities placed two significant renewable electricity sources in service: the Two Creeks solar farm near the Point Beach Nuclear Plant and the Kossuth wind power plant in north-central Iowa.

Project Resource Capacity
 (in MW)
Location Utility owner(s)
Two Creeks Solar 150 Manitowoc County (WI) WPS, MGE
Kossuth Wind 150 Kossuth County (IA) Alliant-WPL

More wind generation imported

Wind power now accounts for 71% of the renewable electricity sold in Wisconsin, and approximately 75% of Wisconsin’s wind generation originates from out of state. Overall, out-of-state sources produced 60% of Wisconsin’s RPS-eligible electricity in 2020.

While Wisconsin-based solar power is growing, it still represents a small sliver of the renewable energy pie. However, by the end of 2022, in-state solar generating capacity should surpass in-state wind capacity, as the ongoing utility effort to replace older fossil plants with new renewable generation shifts into high gear.

The pattern of adding in-state solar and out-of-state wind continues to unfold this year. Wisconsin utilities will have energized two solar farms by year’s end: the 150 MW Badger Hollow 1 project in Iowa County and the 100 MW Point Beach installation, adjoining Two Creeks. In January, a South Dakota wind farm called Tatanka Ridge began generating electricity. Dairyland Power Cooperative purchases electricity from a 51 MW share of that project.

Uneven distribution of renewable content

As shown in the table below, the distribution of RPS-eligible electricity varies widely from one electric provider to another.  For example, Xcel Energy, whose territory covers much of Minnesota as well as western Wisconsin, has greatly expanded its renewable energy portfolio over the last three years, relying principally on wind power located west of the Mississippi River. As of today, one-third of Xcel’s electricity supply is renewably powered.

At the other end of the spectrum, the two WEC Energy utilities—Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and Wisconsin Electric Power (We Energies)—remain stuck in the 5-7% range. That said, RENEW expects WPS’s renewable energy percentage to move higher in 2021, lifted by a full year of production from Two Creeks and five months of production from Badger Hollow 1.

The role of Wisconsin’s RPS – then and now

Today’s electric power industry is in a much different place than where it was in 2006 when the current RPS was adopted. Back then, renewable electricity was in its infancy, both in terms of cost and engineering performance. The purpose of an RPS, as conceived by clean energy advocates and sympathetic legislators, was to was kick-start utility deployment of renewable power sources, aimed at advancing several public policy objectives, among them resource diversity and cleaner air. Upwards of 10 wind power projects presently operating in Wisconsin and the region owe their existence to the RPS.

However, the RPS’s days as a mechanism for fueling new renewable power generation are long past. This year’s crop of solar farms and other renewable projects are the products of market forces and individual utility decarbonization plans, not the RPS. But it remains valuable as a publicly accessible information portal for tracking renewable power supplies flowing through the utilities’ bloodstream. Until the day the state legislature establishes a program for reducing carbon emissions economywide, complete with new metrics and indicators, we will continue to rely on these annual reports to find out how much progress Wisconsin electricity providers are making in their quest to decarbonize their power plants.

Governor Signs Budget Bill – Clean Energy Proposals Removed

Governor Signs Budget Bill – Clean Energy Proposals Removed

When Governor Tony Evers introduced his 2021-23 Budget Bill in February, it included 28 provisions to advance clean energy and energy efficiency in Wisconsin. Among those provisions were recommendations to expand Focus on Energy, invest in the clean energy workforce, and support Wisconsin’s electric vehicle infrastructure.

Unfortunately, by the time the Governor signed the Budget on Thursday, July 8th, those 28 provisions, along with a majority of the Governor’s other initiatives, were removed from the Budget document adopted by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) and legislature.

A number of the provisions and other clean energy bills may still be considered during the remainder of the upcoming regular legislative session.  Among the proposals we expect to be considered include:

  • Community Solar Expansion – Authorize the development of non-utility-owned community solar projects. Would direct the PSC to establish fair credit rates for subscribers and compensation to utilities for the use of their infrastructure and billing services. (Introduced for co-sponsorship on July 14th)
  • 3rd Party Financing – Affirm 3rd party financing of solar arrays is legal.
  • Direct Purchase of Automobiles – Enable electric vehicle manufacturers to sell vehicles directly to consumers in Wisconsin, either online or at manufacturer-owned facilities, without going through an independent dealership.
  • EV Charging Station Grants – Allocate up to $10 million of the unspent VW Settlement funds for clean energy corridor incentives for EV charging stations.
  • EV Charging Fees Clarify selling electricity by the kilowatt-hour to EVs does not subject EV charging station owners to utility regulation.

RENEW Wisconsin will continue to work with the legislature and the Governor to advance these and other clean energy initiatives. We hope you will join us.

If you would like to talk to your legislators about any of these provisions or have other clean energy ideas that you think the State should adopt, click here to find your representatives’ contact information.

If you have any questions or comments about any of these issues, please contact Jim Boullion, RENEW Wisconsin’s Director of Government Affairs, at jim@renewwisconsin.org.

 

Critical Infrastructure Microgrid and Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Program

Critical Infrastructure Microgrid and Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Program

RENEW Wisconsin friends, don’t miss out!

The Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation is currently accepting Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the Critical Infrastructure Microgrid and Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Program.

The Pilot seeks proposals that focus on innovative pre-disaster mitigation strategies through critical infrastructure microgrids and other resiliency projects, including the feasibility of distributed energy resources, storage, and grid-interactive schema.

Eligible applicants consist of Municipalities, Universities, Schools, Hospitals, and Like Entities (MUSH Market), and the Public Service Commission (PSC) has allocated up to $985,000 for the Pilot round of funding.

Applications are due Friday, August 6, 2021, by noon Central. Note that interested parties must create an Electronic Records Filing (ERF) account to submit materials. More information on how to create an ERF account can be found here.

For more information regarding the grant program, including eligible applicants and activities, please see the Critical Infrastructure Microgrid & Community Resilience Center Pilot Grant Application Instructions.

Department of Energy Funding for Battery Industry Partnerships and a Request for Information on Electric Vehicle Grid Integration

Department of Energy Funding for Battery Industry Partnerships and a Request for Information on Electric Vehicle Grid Integration

Further demonstrating its commitment to electric vehicle innovation, including domestic battery supply chain, energy storage, and electric vehicle grid integration, the Department of Energy (DoE) announced last week a Request for Information (RFI) for Electric Vehicle (EV) Grid Integration and $200 million in funding for electric vehicles, batteries, and connected vehicles projects at DoE national labs.

Complimenting the Vehicle Technologies Office’s $62 million in funding for low emissions transportation projects, the $200 million funding opportunity focuses on electric and connected vehicle projects, and supports battery sourcing innovations – like sustainable mining and battery recycling – which strengthen the domestic lithium battery market, insulate against foreign battery supply chain disruptions, and further the goals of the DoE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. The funding is open to DOE’s network of 17 national laboratories and followed recommendations from the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries’ recently released National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021-2030.

The DoE also released an RFI for EV Grid Integration, exploring the relationship between increased EV penetration and potential grid impacts and resiliency. DoE is requesting information from stakeholders on the following issues:

  • Use of EVs to maintain the reliability of the electric grid
  • Impact of grid integration on EVs
  • Increased penetration of EVs and associated impacts on grid
  • Standards to integrate EVs with the grid, including communications systems, protocols, and charging stations
  • Cybersecurity challenges resulting from transportation electrification

The RFI for EV Grid Integration is not a funding opportunity. However, information collected may be used by DoE in its “Vehicles to Grid Integration Assessment Report” to Congress.

For more information on both opportunities, please visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Koshkonong Solar Energy Center needs your support!

Koshkonong Solar Energy Center needs your support!

The proposed Koshkonong Solar Energy Center would be located in southeast Dane County upstream of the Rock River. The centerpiece would be a 300-megawatt solar power generation facility anticipated to begin producing energy in 2024.  Koshkonong Solar will also include a 165-megawatt battery storage component to help bolster grid reliability.

As Wisconsin continues to retire coal-fired power plants it is vital to replace those fossil fuel electricity generators with emission-free renewable energy. For example, the Columbia Energy Center, located just south of Portage, is now slated for a 2024 retirement.

Koshkonong Solar Energy Center needs vocal public support to get approved and help shift Wisconsin to clean energy.  Voice your support for local solar energy by submitting a short comment today to the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin.

Project to be located in southeast Wisconsin.

Project to be located in southeast Dane County

 

Koshkonong Solar would advance the clean energy goals of Dane County, its local municipalities, and residents, and the State of Wisconsin.  Koshkonong Solar will generate enough emissions-free electricity to power 60,000 average American homes or just about ¼ of the 240,000 households in Dane County.  The project also represents exactly ¼ of the amount of solar capacity Dane County called for in its Climate Action Plan.  This single project would also bring an estimated $200 million of investment including lease payments to local landowners and new revenue streams to local governments.  Local governments in the project area will receive $1.2 million per year for the life of the project based on Wisconsin’s utility aid fund formula.

The developer for this project is Invenergy, which has successfully permitted other large solar farms in Wisconsin (Badger Hollow, Paris).  Koshkonong, like Invenergy’s other projects, is slated to be acquired by Wisconsin utilities, including Madison Gas and Electric.

Air Quality and Carbon Emission Reduction Benefits

Koshkonong Solar will reduce CO2 emissions by between 15 and 20 million tons over its 30-year life, along with reductions in other forms of air pollution such as 12,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 12,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 804 tons of particulate matter (PM2.5).

Click here for the Koshkonong Emissions Analysis.

The emissions reductions from the estimated 600,000 megawatt-hours of energy production for the project are equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 7 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or the avoided CO2 emissions from 2,345 railcars worth of coal burned.  See other comparisons at the EPA greenhouse gas equivalency calculator.

Soil Retention and Water Quality Benefits

Koshkonong Solar will establish deep-rooted prairie vegetation amidst the arrays.  This type of vegetation will increase infiltration of the site compared with current agricultural usage by (+2.2%), reduce stormwater runoff (-60% for a 1-year 24-hour rainfall event), nitrogen outflow (-48%), phosphorus outflow (-53%), and Total Suspended Solids outflow (-87%).

These upstream water quality improvements would have a positive impact on downstream environments, and yield material benefits for watershed ecosystems, human health, and recreation. Furthermore, the prairie vegetation will help turn atmospheric carbon into organic carbon, which will be deposited and build up the soil for future agriculture. Koshkonong Solar, like other solar farms, can be returned to agricultural use after the project is completed and equipment is removed, see our solar farm FAQ to learn more.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is currently reviewing the project. We are asking supporters of clean energy, conservation, and climate action to submit comments sharing their support for the project. Your support would be greatly appreciated. Your voice is crucial to move the project forward and advance the clean energy transition in Wisconsin.

Submitting a message of support is easy, simply click on the link below, fill out the form, and click ‘file’. The last day to submit letters of support is July 3rd.

Click here to submit a comment in support of Koshkonong Solar!

Weighing in today will have a tremendous impact on Wisconsin’s ability to transition to clean emission-free renewable energy! Your voice matters!

Interested in learning more?

Find answers to frequently asked questions about solar farms here.

How much agricultural land would it take to power our state with solar energy?  RENEW has calculated that it would take less than half a percent of Wisconsin’s total land to supply half our state’s electricity from solar.  This is approximately the same amount that is currently in Wisconsin’s Conservation Reserve Program.

RENEW’s factsheet solar and agricultural land use.

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Stimulus Funds for the Electric Vehicle Market: A Five-Fold Return on Investment

Federal Stimulus Funds for the Electric Vehicle Market: A Five-Fold Return on Investment

A recent Analysis Group report for Advanced Energy Economy – called Economic Impact of Stimulus Investment in Transportation Electrification – demonstrates a significant return on the stimulus funds spent on electric vehicle (EV) and transportation electrification initiatives as part of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

According to the report, a total of $274 billion is slated for transportation electrification initiatives nationwide, which would result in a nearly five-fold return on public investment, or $1.3 trillion added to the national GDP!

This public investment would also spur upwards of 11 million jobs,[1] including EV and battery manufacturing positions; generate over $230 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments; result in $19 billion annual savings for consumers, businesses, and governments by switching to EVs; and also attract significant private investments at $2.60 to each $1 of public investment.

What does this mean for Wisconsin?

There are legislative discussions underway to allocate $5 million of Wisconsin’s Volkswagen Settlement funds for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Governor Evers has also proposed $5 million in transportation-funded bonds to be used for EV charging infrastructure. If these two proposals pass, we would have $10 million in public funds investment in EV infrastructure. Using the Advanced Energy Economy report’s finding of a five-fold return on investment for public dollars spent for EV initiatives, these funds have a potential return of $50 million. This would bring Wisconsin’s current GDP of $294 billion to $344 billion, which is significant given that Wisconsin’s GDP dropped by almost $14 billion from 2019 to 2020.[2]

Of course, this $50 million return on investment doesn’t factor in any other future state or local public investments in transportation electrification, including grant programs, utility investments, and other local monies spent on rebates and incentives programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Additionally, using the report’s estimated $2.60 in private investments for every $1 of public investment spent, the above combined $10 million in projected public investment from VW Settlement funds and transportation-funded bonds could spur an additional $26 million in direct private investments within the state.

None of the above returns take into account the number of potential Wisconsin jobs to be created by these investments, the fuel and maintenance cost-savings consumers and businesses can expect by switching to EVs, the tax generation that would trickle down to state and local governments from the federal stimulus, or any additional tax revenue generated from investments within the state.

Investing in the electric vehicle market may be the boost to Wisconsin’s economy and jobs that we so badly need.


[1] Measured in job years, i.e., a job created by stimulus spending that lasts one year equals one job-year. See report.
[2] Statista, Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the federal state of Wisconsin from 2000 to 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/188150/gdp-of-the-us-federal-state-of-wisconsin-since-1997/

 

New Resource for Wisconsin Solar Customers

New Resource for Wisconsin Solar Customers

Residential solar installations are increasing rapidly across Wisconsin. As with any growing industry, it is essential consumers are educated and know how to find responsible, reputable firms.

RENEW has provided tips for consumers when selecting a solar contractor for their home installation and has created a Solar Installers map with links to our solar installer members. However, instances of aggressive salespeople and deficient solar installations continue to grow.

In 2020, RENEW Wisconsin partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the state’s foremost authority on consumer trade, to create consumer awareness around solar, particularly how to choose a qualified, reliable solar contractor.

DATCP has published this information on their website under Solar Power Buying Tips. The document can also be viewed and downloaded as a PDF. DATCP also provides a Consumer Complaint Form where consumers can register complaints relating to negligent solar installers.

RENEW Wisconsin thanks the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for their work on this initiative. It’s reassuring to know the state of Wisconsin is officially prioritizing the protection of solar customers.

You have the opportunity to create your clean energy legacy

You have the opportunity to create your clean energy legacy

In 1991, Don Wichert saw a need for an organization to advocate for Wisconsin’s renewable energy future. As founder and first executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, Don set forth on his mission to promote the development and use of renewable energy resources in the state of Wisconsin. Thirty years later, RENEW is a thriving and growing nonprofit organization working towards clean energy powering a strong, healthy, and vibrant Wisconsin.

RENEW Wisconsin’s accomplishments over the past 30 years are part of Don’s legacy. But there is more work to be done, and Don knows RENEW needs a stable financial foundation to continue its work for another 30 years. He worked with Madison Community Foundation to create a RENEW Wisconsin Charitable Gift Annuity and the RENEW Endowment Fund to ensure a financial pipeline for our clean energy future.

CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY
For donors interested in taking a charitable deduction on their taxes in the current year while still receiving income from those assets, a charitable gift annuity (CGA) offers the opportunity to achieve both goals. CGAs allow you to make a current tax-deductible gift to benefit RENEW Wisconsin while still receiving a lifetime annual income.

The idea of a charitable gift annuity was very appealing. The guaranteed interest rate was high enough to make it a reasonable investment during my lifetime. And the CGA provides tax benefits too…RENEW, and the work that it does is my legacy.

Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin Founder

RENEW ENDOWMENT FUND
The RENEW Endowment Fund supports paid internships from the Energy Analysis and Policy Program at UW-Madison. This endowment allows RENEW to offer a hands-on, real-life job experience to future leaders in renewable energy.

The RENEW staff gave me the trust and mentorship I needed to become a strong clean energy policy advocate. I was able to grow my utility regulation knowledge, energy education skills, and Midwest clean energy network. Thank you, RENEW WI, for being my strong stepping stone into the clean energy industry.

Lauren Reeg – Energy Analysis and Policy Intern

You have the opportunity to help create a cleaner, stronger, more vibrant Wisconsin by setting up a Charitable Gift Annuity listing RENEW Wisconsin as the beneficiary and/or giving to the RENEW Endowment Fund. Madison Community Foundation makes giving incredibly easy.

I can help facilitate communications with Madison Community Foundation to start planning your legacy now. Contact me at: Elizabeth@renewwisconsin.org or call 608-255-4044 ext. 7