During its eleventh annual Renewable Energy Summit, titled “All Roads Lead to Clean Energy,” RENEW Wisconsin honored individuals and businesses who have made significant and lasting advances in clean energy development here in Wisconsin. Presented by greenpenny, Invenergy, and NextEra Energy Resources, the summit took place Thursday, January 27, 2022, at Monona Terrace in Madison. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Summit featured a mix of in-person and online attendees and speakers.
In keeping with the program theme, summit presenters spotlighted the intertwining pathways leading Wisconsin closer to the zero-carbon goals embraced by state and local leaders, influential businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations. Featured speakers included Commissioner Tyler Huebner (Wisconsin Public Service Commission) and Kari Lydersen (author and journalist).
During the summit, RENEW presented awards to a trio of clean energy businesses and champions in recognition of the leadership they’ve demonstrated in the years leading up to the present occasion. They are:
Clean Energy Business of the Year: Arch Solar, Plymouth
Arch Solar, a Plymouth-based company, founded in 2003, has become the largest full-service solar contractor in Wisconsin, with about 90 employees. Arch connects veterans to solar energy, primarily through its efforts to place them in its workforce. It is also a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, one of the few in the clean energy field.
Clean Energy Educator of the Year: Kenneth Walz, Madison Area Technical College
Kenneth Walz is a nationally recognized leader in developing coursework and training materials to help post-secondary students acquire skills for entry into the renewable energy workforce. As director for the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education, Ken has enabled Madison Area Technical College to become the state’s preeminent energy education center and laboratory. Ken has also been an effective internal champion for “solarizing” all Madison College’s campuses. With the recent installation of a 133-kilowatt array at its Watertown branch, the Madison College system now hosts more solar generating capacity than any other school or local government in Wisconsin. In 2020, U.S. EPA bestowed a Green Power Leadership Award to Madison College for incorporating clean energy into its curriculum and operations.
Clean Energy Trailblazer of the Year: Susan Millar, 350 Madison
Susan Millar is a member of 350 Madison, a local citizens group catalyzing meaningful public and private actions to address climate change threats. She recently launched an ambitious effort to re-engineer her 90-year-old house to become an all-electric residence. Susan converted her conventionally heated house to one that runs on an all-electric, solar-assisted energy platform. She disengaged from a convenient but carbon-intensive heating source to rely on electric heating appliances and technologies instead. Susan’s house has been gas-free since September 2021.
This year’s Summit program also drew attention to other milestones and notable achievements in 2021, including the following:
- The Public Service Commission (PSC) approved six large solar projects—Wood County, Grant County, Onion River, Darien, Springfield, and Apple River—that will add 950 megawatts (MW) of solar power to Wisconsin’s electric generation portfolio.
- The PSC also approved applications from Alliant-Wisconsin Power and Light and Xcel-Northern States Power of Wisconsin to add a combined seven solar farms totaling 764 MW to their respective power plant fleets.
- Madison Gas and Electric completed its largest Renewable Energy Rider project to date. Located in Fitchburg, the 20 MW O’Brien Solar Fields project serves seven customers, including the State of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- In partnership with the Couillard Solar Foundation, RENEW’s Solar for Good program issued grants for leveraging the installation of 1.27 MW of solar capacity serving 26 nonprofit-owned entities across the state.
- The first combined solar and microgrid project, serving the Bad River Tribal reservation in Ashland County, was placed in service. Project partners included a local nonprofit, Cheq Bay Renewables, and Menasha-based EnTech Solutions, the contractor that designed the project for the tribe.
- Employing the group purchase model, solar contractors teamed up with nonprofits and local governments to install 1,887 kW of solar capacity to 260 residential customers across the state.
This annual event featured an exposition hall, breakout sessions, and industry professionals discussing the current and future opportunities for advancing renewable energy in Wisconsin.
Click here for more information on the 2022 Summit program agenda, speakers, and registration.
This year’s Summit was supported by over 100 sponsors including greenpenny, Invenergy, NextEra Energy Resources, Alliant Energy, Arch Electric, ATC, Couillard Solar Foundation, Eagle Point Solar, OEI (Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation), Savion, Stantec, Boldt, CED Greentech, EDF Renewables / Distributed Solutions, Foley & Lardner LLP, Generac, Michael, Best and Freiderich, MREA, Northwind Solar, OneEnergy, REC Group, SC Johnson, Steigerwaldt Land Services, SunPeak, Focus on Energy, AVID Risk Solutions, Carlson Electric, Braun Intertec, Current Electric, Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change (OECC), Endries Solar and Electric, Entech Solutions Inc, Full Spectrum Solar, Glow Solar, Good Steward Consulting, HellermannTyton, Ingeteam, JCG Land Services Inc, WI K-12 Energy Education Program, Keyes & Fox, Madison College, Milwaukee Shines, muGrid Analytics, National Grid, Nautilus Solar, Pines Bach, PRC Wind, Ranger Power, Ruekert- Mielke, Stone House Development, SunBadger Solar, TRC, Werner Electric, WIDRC, Xcel Energy, Ayres Associates, Chint Power Systems (CPS), Michael J. Allen, EOR, Kapur & Associates, Legacy Solar Cooperative, McKinstry, Midwest Solar Power, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Oconomowoc Realty, Organic Valley, PACE, Sustain Dane, Trillium Construction, Vanguard Real Estate Solutions, Westphal & Company, Inc., Wisconsin Clean Cities, Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, All Energy Solar, Audubon Great Lakes, Aurora Solar, City of Madison, Clean Fuel Connects, Clean Wisconsin, Construction Business Group (CBG), Convergence Energy, Eland Electric, EMCS, Energy Analysis and Policy – Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Energy News Network / Midwest Energy News, Ethos Renewable Energy, Equix, Inc, GDS Associates, Gundersen Health System, HGA Architects and Engineers, JDR Engineering, Local 139 Operators, North Central States Regional Carpenters Council, Nokomis Energy, Samsung Renewable Energy, Solar Connection, Summit Ridge Energy, UA Local 400 Plumbers & Pipefitters, UW Office of Sustainability, WES Renewables (Engineering), Westwood, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, Wisconsin Energy Institute, Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action, WI Sustainable Business Council, and WPPI Energy.
About RENEW Wisconsin
RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin. We work on policies and programs supporting solar, wind, biogas, local hydropower, geothermal energy, and electric vehicles. More information can be found on RENEW’s website: www.renewwisconsin.org.