There was a palpable sense of excitement and our largest crowd ever (330 attendees), for our 7th Annual Renewable Energy Summit held January 18th. This year’s Summit, “Connecting to a Powerful Future,” included NextEra Energy Resources as a Presenting Sponsor.
Wind energy is coming back to Wisconsin as evidenced by the 2017 addition of Quilt Block Wind Farm, which was awarded the Renewable Energy Project of the Year.
Solar energy had its best year ever – for the 3rd consecutive year. The total amount of solar power capacity in Wisconsin has grown to 80 megawatts, enough to power over 10,800 Wisconsin homes. That’s up from 42 megawatts twelve months ago and 25 megawatts the year before that.
Our panel of utility executives and our solar industry speakers described the growth in solar, and the future opportunities on the horizon.
And biogas, which has struggled in recent years, is finding new opportunities. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi described the county’s plans to transform their landfill from electric generation to gas injection to a pipeline, and how it will also facilitate local biodigesters to do the same.
Bringing home our theme of “Connecting to a Powerful Future,” we learned how to improve our clean energy communications from Jane Bloch of Tusculum Consulting. Jane’s specialty in conveying the benefits of clean energy to broad audiences will help all of us continue to expand renewable energy in Wisconsin.
We also named John & Mary Frantz of Madison and Cal & Laurie Couillard of Deerfield Renewable Energy Champions for their support and philanthropy which enables RENEW Wisconsin to continue growing. John & Mary have been matching donors to our Ride with RENEW bicycle events, and Cal & Laurie founded Solar for Good to help Wisconsin mission-driven nonprofits “go solar.”
Our exhibition hall had 27 vendors, our most ever, and the networking was consistently described by many attendees as “excellent.”
Also, we encourage you to check out the media coverage of the day:
RENEW Wisconsin: Big Increase in Solar Energy Expected in Next Few Years (Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, January 18, 2018)
Cost-Effectiveness of Solar, Other Renewables Expected to Keep Growing (Alex Moe, WisBusiness.com, January 19, 2018)