Ten-month delay harmed renewable energy businesses

RENEW Wisconsin (RENEW) praised the state’s energy regulators for responding to pleas from renewable businesses and potential customers to make a decision and get people working again.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) released an April 26 decision on funding for renewable energy incentives to homeowners and businesses in the next three years.

The PSC decided to allocate $10 million per year in incentives for renewable energy installations in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Beginning in 2013, three-quarters of the funds will be reserved for energy systems using biogas, biomass combustion, and geothermal heat pumps. The remaining 25% will fund incentives for solar and small wind installations.

Ten million dollars per year for renewable energy incentives is a reasonable starting place and is consistent with previous funding for incentives provided by Focus on Energy (Focus), the utility-ratepayer-supported energy efficiency and renewable energy program in Wisconsin, according to Don Wichert, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit advocacy organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean, renewable energy in Wisconsin.

“After nearly 10 months of needless uncertainty and delay, renewable energy activity has now nearly come to a complete halt in Wisconsin,” Wichert said.

“Many Wisconsin renewable energy companies told the PSC that the delay in the decision and lack of transparency have been a nightmare, forcing some renewable installers to lay off workers and move their business activity to other states, especially when the Focus program administrator, Shaw Environmental, ended all incentives for renewable technologies at the beginning of 2012,” Wichert said.

“RENEW hopes that the PSC’s response to renewable energy businesses means that it will resume collaboration between Focus and Wisconsin’s renewable energy community,” he said.

“In a time of decreased resources and increased demand, RENEW believes it is imperative for Focus decision makers to involve people who know the industry best,” said Wichert.

“Without a collaborative process, the industry and customers will always be second guessing the decisions and the assumptions behind them. It doesn’t have to be a one-way, top-down approach. The renewable energy industry is just trying to make a living and should be involved.”


RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.