On August 3rd, 2021, RENEW Wisconsin gathered with friends and supporters under Dane County’s new solar shelter near Lussier Family Heritage Center to celebrate 30 years of advancing clean energy in Wisconsin. The weather was beautiful, and after a long period of limited opportunities for gathering in person, it was a welcome moment of connection and joy!
It was wonderful to see longtime friends and clean energy champions. Attendees enjoyed appetizers, drinks, and live music, reminisced over Wisconsin’s clean energy history, and discussed new energy policy and legislative opportunities for growth in Wisconsin.
It is a busy time for energy policy in Wisconsin! We work with lawmakers and regulators to defend renewable energy. This summer RENEW staff are engaged on the forthcoming Clean Energy Plan, the Zero Carbon Roadmap docket, interconnection rules, parallel generation rates, utility rate cases, as well as, legislation on community solar and direct sales for electric vehicles. From distributed solar to energy storage we are expanding the renewable energy market in Wisconsin.
UPDATE: The first grant cycle for EVs for Good closed Saturday, May 1, 2021. Applications for the second grant cycle are now being accepted on a rolling basis.
March 5th, 2021
RENEW is happy to announce EVs for Good, a new grant program created to foster the expansion of and transition to electric vehicles among nonprofits in Wisconsin. EVs for Good will reduce the upfront costs of purchasing an electric vehicle while reducing vehicle maintenance costs and transportation emissions.
RENEW Wisconsin’s mission is to lead and accelerate the transformation to Wisconsin’s renewable energy future through advocacy, education, and collaboration. Transportation accounts for approximately 25% of Wisconsin’s energy use and emissions. This presents a huge opportunity to transition our state’s vehicles away from fossil fuels and onto clean, renewable electricity sources. Electrifying transportation will result in lower carbon emissions and improved air quality for all Wisconsinites.
EVs for Good is possible thanks to a generous donation from Carol and Andy Phelps. The Phelps installed a solar array at their Middleton home in 2019 and recently purchased an electric vehicle to further reduce their carbon emissions. The Phelps are extremely happy with their shift from gasoline and want to ensure everyone has the same opportunity.
“Everyone thinks electric cars are only for rich people, but EVs are for everybody,” said Andy Phelps.
This interview of Carol and Andy Phelps explains why they are so passionate about the EVs for Good program.
EVs for Good will offer grants for 20% of the cost of an electric vehicle, with a maximum grant of $5,000. Larger grants, capped at $10,000, are available for organizations seeking to purchase an electric van or bus. In addition, $500 grants are available for organizations who choose to install Level 2 (or higher) electric vehicle charging equipment.
Preference will be given to organizations that work on issues related to social justice or education. Preference will also be given to organizations that serve black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), low-income, or rural communities, as well as, those that serve children or seniors.
Nonprofits can apply for the following:
Vehicle Grant: Covers 20% of the cost of a new or used electric vehicle, with a $5,000 maximum amount. Grants may also cover 20% of an electric bicycle or an electric cargo bicycle purchase.
Van or Bus Grant: Covers 20% of the cost of a new or used electric van or bus, with a maximum grant amount of $10,000. The vehicle must be able to transport eight or more persons safely.
Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Grant: $500 grant for nonprofits installing a Level 2 (or higher) electric vehicle charger.
Organizations that receive an EVs for Good grant must agree to promote their awards in their communities. This outreach can be a media event, an open house for the solar + charging infrastructure, a vehicle demonstration, or a “ride and drive” for an electric vehicle purchase.
Grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with the initial grant cycle opening in Spring 2021. If all funds are not awarded in Spring 2021, grant applications will be accepted on a biannual basis until all funds are dispersed.
The initial grant cycle for EVs for Good opens on Thursday, April 1, 2021. Applications are due by Saturday, May 1, 2021. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RENEW’s seventh annual Renewable Energy Summit, set for January 18, 2018, will furnish the occasion for recognizing the leading lights in Wisconsin’s renewable energy industry and spotlighting the developments that made 2017 such a stellar year. Titled “Connecting to a Powerful Future,” RENEW’s Summit will take place at Monona Terrace in Madison; registration starts at 8:00 AM and the program runs from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The recognition ceremony will begin at 2:00 PM.
Last year saw the first large-scale wind power plant go up in Wisconsin since 2011. Quilt Block, a 49-turbine, 98-megawatt (MW) project developed by Houston-based EDP Renewables is now online, producing power under contract to La Crosse-based Dairyland Power Cooperative, whose four-state service area includes 18 member cooperatives and 10 municipal utilities in Wisconsin.
Representing a capital investment of $167 million, EDP’s Quilt Block project will produce enough renewable electricity to power more than 25,000 Wisconsin residences while providing millions of dollars in local aids to the Town of Seymour and Lafayette County, as well as lease payments to participating landowners over the plant’s operating life.
At the Summit, RENEW will honor Quilt Block Wind Farm as Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Project of the Year. Recognizing the strong collaboration forged by project participants, RENEW will present plaques to representatives of the developer (EDP Renewables), the utility purchaser (Dairyland Power Cooperative), local governments (Town of Seymour, Lafayette County), and participating landowners.
Last year marked the emergence of RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good, a program that provides grants to nonprofit institutions that seek to install solar electric systems on their buildings. Initiated by donations from Deerfield-based philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard, Solar for Good awarded 16 grants in 2017 supporting the installation of 573 kilowatts (kW) of new solar electric projects to serve such entities as public charter schools, food pantries, houses of worship, and nursing care facilities.
For their philanthropy that made possible the Solar for Good program, Cal and Laurie Couillard will receive honors as Renewable Energy Champions.
Also set to receive honors as Renewable Energy Champions are John and Mary Frantz, both retired physicians and long-time renewable energy advocates now living in Madison who have been generous supporters of RENEW Wisconsin’s work to expand renewable energy. In recent years, their generosity has taken the form of providing matching donations to “Ride with RENEW,” a fundraising event held in autumn featuring bicycle tours of noteworthy renewable energy projects in Wisconsin.
The recognition segment will also draw attention to other milestones and notable achievements in 2017, including the following:
All 15 solar arrays built by SoCore Energy (Illinois) and GroSolar (Vermont) under contract to Dairyland Power are now producing electricity. Three of the arrays, located in New Auburn, Phillips, and Roberts, are the state’s largest in operation.
Xcel Energy’s Wisconsin utility commissioned a 1 megawatt (MW) array in Eau Claire, which now supplies energy to its shared solar subscribers.
SunPeak designed and built the state’s largest rooftop solar electric system in operation, a 1.2 MW array atop the American Family Insurance headquarters building in Madison.
Eagle Point Solar installed 350 kilowatts (kW) of solar generation atop two schools in the Northland Pines School District, which now has more solar capacity than any other K-12 district in Wisconsin.
SunVest Solar and Current Electric teamed up to design and install 800 kW of solar capacity on six rooftops in the Oneida Nation reservation in Brown County.
Contractors partnered with local nonprofits to launch five residential group solar purchase programs across Wisconsin. Together these initiatives result in 158 installations totaling nearly 1,000 kW of new solar capacity.
“These award winners and honorable projects deserve recognition for the benefits they are bringing Wisconsin’s people and economy,” said Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin’s Executive Director. “These honorees are leading the way towards a clean, vibrant, and self-sustaining Wisconsin energy future.”
RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization dedicated to renewable energy in Wisconsin. We advance and defend policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is available on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.
Jim Boullion Named RENEW Wisconsin’s Director of Government Affairs
– Renew Wisconsin’s Executive Director Tyler Huebner has named Jim Boullion as
Director of Government Affairs to lead the organization’s policy and advocacy
efforts in Madison.
“Jim brings us years of
experience in Wisconsin politics and a broad network of relationships with
utilities, business, labor and other politically active organizations that are
critically important in our efforts to advance renewable energy in Wisconsin.”
In his new role, Boullion will be working on state and federal
issues to increase the utilization of Wisconsin generated renewable energy that
will power a strong, healthy and vibrant Wisconsin through lower energy costs,
increased energy security and stable, good paying jobs.
“I joined RENEW because of its leadership role in the
exciting changes that are happening in the renewable sectors of the energy
industry. Renewable energy technology and pricing has reached a tipping point
where it is becoming a mainstream and critical component of our energy mix, now
and in the future.” commented Boullion.
Jim is a life-long resident of Wisconsin and attended the
University of Wisconsin – Madison.He
has served as Director of Government Affairs for various trade associations in
Wisconsin over the past 25 years, including 16 years with the Associated
General Contractors. He is a Past President of the Association of
Wisconsin Lobbyists, worked in the Wisconsin State Assembly for 9 years and
served in Governor Walker’s administration as Administrator of the Division of
Policy Development in the Department of Safety and
RENEW Wisconsin is
a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing renewable energy in Wisconsin.
We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas,
local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is available on
RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org.
National Leaders & Wisconsin Executives to Headline January
Renewable Energy Summit
RENEW Wisconsin will host
its seventh annual Renewable Energy Summit on Thursday, January 18th, 2018, at Monona
Terrace in Madison. The theme of the event, “Connecting to a Powerful Future,” will highlight the
significant expansion of renewable power underway in Wisconsin, both at the
customer and utility level, and the need to broaden connections to continue
This one-day event will
feature two keynote speakers.
is the CEO of the national Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in
Washington, DC. The solar industry has grown at a 20% annual
clip the past five years as installation costs have declined rapidly. This is
creating great opportunities in up-and-coming markets like Wisconsin!Abby oversees all of SEIA’s activities,
including government affairs, research, communications, and industry
leadership. SEIA is at the forefront of national solar advocacy, including the
recent Federal tax overhaul and import tariff threat.
is Principal at Tusculum Consulting,
where she is a clean energy communications expert. She comes to our Summit to
share best practices on how to effectively communicate about clean energy with
different audiences. She has spent the
last decade advancing clean energy policies through strategic communications,
stakeholder engagement, and philanthropic investment. Jane grew up spending her
summers in the Northwoods, near Minocqua, where she learned to love canoeing
and loon calls.
The event will begin with
a recap of 2017 and outlook to 2018 by RENEW Wisconsin’s Board Chair Amy Heart
and Executive Director Tyler Huebner. At 9:30am, three Wisconsin utility executives will participate in a panel
session discussing their companies’ investments and programs for renewable
energy such as wind, solar, and biogas.
WI Utility Executives Roundtable
The lunch panel will feature experts from Wisconsin’s renewable energy industry.
Driving Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Markets
The program will feature
networking opportunities with exhibitors and attendees, as well as a social
hour following the close of the formal program.
Summit registration is open
and over 100 individuals and company representatives have already signed
up. Rates are $125 for Members of RENEW
Wisconsin, $155 for non-members, $125 for government and non-profit employees,
and $35 for students and elected officials and their staff. Membership with
RENEW starts at $35 for individuals and $200 for businesses and organizations.
An impressive set of
corporate and organizational sponsors, showcased on the final page, have signed
up to attend.
Wisconsin Summit Event Sponsors as-of December 18, 2017
Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization which promotes renewable energy in
Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind
power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is
available on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org.
RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program, funded by Deerfield-based philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard, will issue grants to 16 Wisconsin nonprofit organizations that seek to install solar electric systems on their buildings. The 16 grants would support a total of 573 kilowatts (kW) of new solar electric projects, planned for installation in 2018. The total value of all of the solar projects would exceed $1.2 million.
A diverse group of nonprofit organizations expects to receive the solar grants, including a food pantry in Verona, an organization that serves homeless veterans in Racine, and several houses of worship including a mosque, a synagogue, and a church. Each organization seeks to use its grant to install its own solar electric system, based on the energy needs of each facility.
“We know that the solar energy boom is having a positive impact on our Wisconsin communities” said Katherine Klausing, engagement manager at RENEW Wisconsin, a state-based renewable energy advocacy organization that administers Solar for Good. “That’s why we designed the program to help local nonprofit organizations and houses of worship, who are working every day to improve our communities, join the solar movement. Investing in solar panels means they can lower their operating costs, save money to reinvest in their missions, and align their energy dollars with their values.”
Solar for Good grants are designed to fund between 10 and 20 percent of the cost of each organization’s solar project. Organizations that have been offered the grants will have 12 months to raise the remaining funds needed and complete their solar installations. “We are thrilled that this grant program has the potential to leverage nearly 10 times its original value in solar installations,” Klausing added.
“The idea is that if we can install solar panels on churches and other nonprofits, then all the people that are going there will also see this happening. I want to spread the message that solar is not just green for the environment, it’s green monetarily. You can actually save money doing it. It pays for itself. And I want to get that word out because I don’t think a lot of people know it,” said program founder Cal Couillard.
Demand for solar energy grants far surpassed expectations. Solar for Good announced in October that it would award a total of $125,000 in grants. But when the application period closed on November 13, 23 organizations across Wisconsin had applied for over $220,000 in funding. Additional fundraising enabled the program to fund these 16 projects with over $142,000 in grants.
The following organizations have been offered Solar for Good grants and are now exploring fundraising and installation of solar electric systems:
Badger Prairie Needs Network, food pantry, Verona
Beth Israel Center, house of worship, Madison
Catholic Youth Expeditions, religious organization and retreat center, Baileys Harbor
Escuela Verde, public charter school, Milwaukee
First Congregational Church,house of worship, Oshkosh
Friends of Camp Anokijig, outdoor education program, Plymouth
Liberation Park, retreat center, Norwalk
Midwest Renewable Energy Association, education and training organization, Custer
North Pointe United Methodist Church, formerly known as Trinity United Methodist Church, house of worship, Racine
Pilgrim United Church of Christ, house of worship, Fond du Lac
Sinsinawa Dominicans, religious order and nursing care facility, Sinsinawa
United Unitarian Universalist Congregation, house of worship, Waukesha
Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin, transitional living facility for veterans, Racine
In addition, three of the recipients wish to remain anonymous at this time, including an affordable housing organization in Milwaukee, an organization serving low-income families in Madison, and a house of worship in Milwaukee.
About RENEW Wisconsin
RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization which promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, and geothermal energy. More information is available on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org.