Action Alert: Vista Sands Solar Development At Risk

Action Alert: Vista Sands Solar Development At Risk

A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) created by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin regarding Vista Sands Solar Farm and is missing a discussion of solar’s impact on reducing carbon emissions. In its current form, the EIS is also missing a full description of the effects of climate change on the Greater Prairie Chicken. Knowing these environmental impacts could help the PSCW during their decision-making process.

Join us in asking that the EIS be revised to include necessary information as it relates to the Greater Prairie Chicken and the impacts the Vista Sands Solar Farm would have on this protected bird and its habitat. Comments for the PSCW related to the EIS are due by the end of the day on June 14.

Sample comments are provided below. Personalized comments are more effective, please take the time to make your message to the PSCW unique.

Sample Comments:

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) made for the Vista Sands Solar Farm by the Department of Natural Resources should be revised to reflect all aspects of the proposed solar farm. The current version of the EIS is missing key considerations related to how Vista Sands would reduce carbon emissions. Vista Sands would, in combination with other clean energy resources, mitigate climate change, which is a key driver in habitat loss for the Greater Prairie Chicken.

The EIS is also missing important details, such as a complete description of over a century of land changes, and other the main reasons for the Greater Prairie Chicken’s habitat loss in the region. I am urging the DNR to update their EIS to create a more complete picture of the Greater Prairie Chicken, its habitat, and the benefits of reduced carbon emissions.

 

Submit Comments to the PSC and Show Support for Net Metering and Fair Solar Compensation Rates from Municipal Electric Utilities

Submit Comments to the PSC and Show Support for Net Metering and Fair Solar Compensation Rates from Municipal Electric Utilities

Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) has filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to revise its parallel generation tariffs, significantly altering the way SBU compensates electric generation from its customers who go solar. SBU’s wholesale provider, WPPI Energy,  has stated that it intends to replicate these proposed changes with all of its municipal electric utilities in Wisconsin. Check here to see if your utility could be affected.

If accepted, SBU’s proposal would modify its net metering tariff so that excess generation at the end of each billing month would be subject to wholesale rates instead of retail rates. For larger solar installations (above 20 kilowatts), SBU proposes that all excess generation is subject to volatile wholesale prices, which are typically low and subject to annual changes.

RENEW Wisconsin is the only intervening party in the case and has submitted testimony arguing to preserve net metering and pay larger solar installations (at schools, hospitals, and businesses) at rates that reflect SBU’s avoided costs, which is defined as the amount the utility saves when their customers generate solar power. See RENEW’s direct testimony for details.

The PSC has opened up the public comment period in this case (docket 5780-TE-111). You have until the end of the day on May 9 to submit your comments to the PSC. Tell the PSC to ensure that there is an economic pathway for customers to go solar. We need to preserve net metering for all customers in Sturgeon Bay and the rest of Wisconsin and pay fair rates for larger customer-sited renewable facilities.

Action Alert: Tell Your Senator to Confirm PSC Commissioner Tyler Huebner

Action Alert: Tell Your Senator to Confirm PSC Commissioner Tyler Huebner

The Wisconsin State Senate will vote on Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) Commissioner Tyler Huebner’s appointment this week. Help us keep Wisconsin moving forward by urging your State Senator to vote to confirm Commissioner Huebner.

With the recently announced resignation of Chairperson Rebecca Valcq, a “no” from the Senate on Commissioner Huebner’s would create uncertainty at the PSCW, and stall progress.

There is broad support for his appointment — including from four of the five investor-owned utilities that service Wisconsin. Since his appointment nearly four years ago, Commissioner Huebner has:

  • Approved hundreds of megawatts of homegrown clean energy.
  • Voted in favor of net metering, protecting Wisconsin’s solar industry.
  • Served as Board President of the Organization of MISO States, ensuring Wisconsin constituents like me benefit from improved energy infrastructure.
  • Offered expert insight and knowledge of renewable energy and energy efficiency, helping the Commission make smart energy decisions for Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Senate Committee on Utilities and Technology has already voted 3-2 against Commissioner Huebner. Your voice is required to ensure the full Senate doesn’t do the same.

Protect Rooftop Solar in Wisconsin

Protect Rooftop Solar in Wisconsin

Net metering is a utility billing policy that enables customers who generate electricity from their own solar systems to receive a bill credit for any energy they export to the grid. This arrangement encourages residential and business customers to invest in solar power, reducing carbon emissions and providing substantial economic benefits to their neighbors and communities.

According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “traditional net energy metering (NEM) is fundamentally a bill credit that represents the full retail value of distributed electricity delivered to the distribution system, and has been a critical policy for valuing and enabling distributed generation.”

If passed, this utility proposal will depress demand for rooftop solar, leading to layoffs for local clean energy workers, creating new hardships for customers and local governments in meeting their clean energy goals, and moving solar out of reach for many Wisconsinites.

We’ve included sample messages for you to submit comments to the PSCW. The PSCW allows one comment per case. As you prepare your comments, keep in mind that customizing your message will have a greater impact. Comments are the most effective when they are short, to the point, and have a personal perspective. Please take the time to share why net metering is important to you! MGE’s comment period is open through September 26.

Sample Message –    MGE:

I’m writing in support of fair net metering policies for Wisconsin. The changes to net metering under review in Docket No. 3270-UR-125 would make investing in rooftop solar harder and more expensive.

Net metering empowers Wisconsinites to take control of their energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future. It is the single most important policy enabling every Wisconsin home, farm, business, and institution to own solar. By reducing strain on the grid, stabilizing energy prices, and fostering job growth, the benefits of net metering extend well beyond the solar customer.

Madison Gas and Electric’s proposal before the Public Service Commission will unfairly reduce the compensation customers receive for the energy they produce with their investment in solar. In addition, the compensation rates will be subject to change every year, creating uncertainty over the system’s value in the long term. Advancing this proposal will make it more difficult for people who cannot afford the upfront cost of purchasing solar panels to find the financing they might need, and will discourage the adoption of rooftop solar, negatively impacting our local economy.

Rooftop solar can be a boon for historically marginalized communities, providing access to clean energy and reducing utility bills for households disproportionately burdened by high electricity costs. These savings free up resources for other essentials like education, healthcare, and better living conditions. Our energy policies should be making it easier for all Wisconsinites to reap the benefits of clean energy.

Now is not the time to derail our progress on distributed solar in Wisconsin!

Thank you for your support on this important issue.

Questions?

Please send them to Executive Director, Sam Dunaiski, at sam@renewwisconsin.org.

 

Submit a comment in support of the Langdon Mills Solar project!

Submit a comment in support of the Langdon Mills Solar project!

Langdon Mills Solar is a 200-megawatt solar project with a 50 MW battery energy storage system proposed for development in the Towns of Courtland and Springvale in Columbia County, Wisconsin. As designed, Langdon Mills Solar would generate homegrown, affordable, emission-free electricity sufficient to power the equivalent of approximately 30,000 homes. If approved, construction on Langdon Mills will begin in 2024 and is anticipated to be operational in 2026. For more information, visit the application here. If you want to learn more about how Langdon Mills Solar has engaged with the community, check out their website here. RENEW Wisconsin submitted testimony in support of Langdon Mills Solar in Docket 9818-CE-100, which you can access here.

Solar projects larger than 100 megawatts must gain approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) before they can proceed to construction. Along the way, there are opportunities for public comment at the township, county, and state levels.

Please help us demonstrate Wisconsin’s enthusiastic support for solar power and this project by submitting a comment supporting Langdon Mills Solar. Be sure to specifically reference the project and the benefits that it can bring to Wisconsin. The deadline for submitting comments is May 23, 2023.

Submit a comment in support of the Elk Creek Solar project!

Submit a comment in support of the Elk Creek Solar project!

Elk Creek Solar is a 300-megawatt solar project with a 76.6 MW battery energy storage system proposed in the Township of Springbrook in Dunn County, Wisconsin. As designed, Elk Creek Solar would supply homegrown, affordable, emission-free electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 60,000 homes. If approved, Elk Creek will begin producing clean power by the end of 2025. For more information, visit the application HERE. If you would like to learn more about how Elk Creek Solar is engaging with the community, check out their website HERE. If approved, Elk Creek will begin producing clean power by the end of 2025. RENEW Wisconsin submitted testimony in support of Elk Creek Solar, which you can access HERE.

Solar projects larger than 100 megawatts must gain approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) before they can proceed to construction. Along the way, there are opportunities for public comment at the township, county, and state levels.

Please help us demonstrate Wisconsin’s enthusiastic support for solar power in general and this project in particular by submitting a comment in support of Elk Creek Solar. Be sure to specifically reference the project and the benefits that it can bring to Wisconsin. The deadline for submitting comments is May 12, 2023.