From an article by Kayla Bunge in the Janesville Gazette:

LAKE GENEVA — John Kivlin despises the word “sustainability” for all the political and social stereotypes it stirs up.

But he can find few other words that accurately describe his philosophy on renewable energy and its ability to create local jobs and fuel the state economy, he said.

“(Investing in renewable energy) is sort of like buying locally,” he said. “You buy food from the producer, and you keep that cash here. This is the same. You produce the energy here and you keep the jobs and money here.”

Kivlin and his Lake Geneva-based company, Convergence Energy, a solar energy design and installation company, are poised to reap the benefits of the growing popularity of renewable energy among consumers, businesses and utilities.

“We’re buying almost all of our energy from out-of-state sources at best and from countries that really don’t like us, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, at worst,” he said. “The more that we can wean ourselves off that and become self-sufficient, the better. We’ll keep cash in the state, and it can be reinvested to create more jobs, and we’ll reduce the amount of carbon that’s emitted at the same time.”

Convergence Energy designs, integrates and installs solar electric, solar hot water and geothermal systems in homes and small businesses. The company also is starting a solar farm so consumers who can’t afford a solar energy system can invest in renewable energy and make money off the power sold to the electric company.

Kivlin said the company has installed systems at dozens of homes and businesses since it started in 2008. But he said the company stands to grow as more people look to renewable energy as a way to reduce their energy costs and their carbon footprint and if the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act takes hold in the state.

The legislation calls for state-regulated utilities to increase to 25 percent by 2025 the amount of energy they get from renewable energy sources. The bill also calls for the state to reduce energy consumption.

The proposal could create 15,000 jobs in Wisconsin by 2025.

Opponents of the legislation say utilities will have to invest billions of dollars in renewable energy to comply with the aggressive mandates. Supporters say the state stands to lose billions of dollars if it continues to rely on coal.

Kivlin said the Clean Energy Jobs Act is forcing demand among utilities and fuels interest among homeowners and business owners.

“It’s driving more businesses like mine to start up and create jobs,” he said. “This could grow the industry in the state and the nation. The seeds are planted.”