Geothermal 101

Wisconsin’s energy transition requires all stakeholders to understand the complex technologies and tools needed to grow the economy, increase energy independence, and improve our health and well-being. This 101 session will discuss geothermal energy and the role this technology plays in Wisconsin’s clean energy future.

Francisco Sayu, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Vice President of Productivity and Sustainability

In this session, we’ll delve into the ways microgrids address the challenges posed by increasing energy costs, the push for greater energy independence, and the rising interest in sustainability. Get answers to essential questions like ‘What exactly is a microgrid?’, ‘When are microgrids practical and valuable?’ and ‘How can you start planning your energy future?’ Join us for an open discussion on microgrids, gaining practical insights to help you navigate the changing energy landscape.

Michael Voigt, Entech Solutions, Project Development Manager

The most recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) resulted in changes to the world’s response to warming temperatures. This session focuses on the current state of our climate, the actions needed to mitigate the effects of global warming, and what policy changes this could potentially open for Wisconsin’s renewable energy landscape.

Greg Nemet: La Follette School of Public Affairs 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the “IRA”) greatly expanded the tax credits available to developers of clean energy projects. Historically, developers who were unable to directly benefit from the tax credits generated by their clean energy projects needed to enter into complicated structures to cause the tax credits generated by their activities to flow to a different party who would be able to benefit from the credits. In addition to expanding the tax credits generated by clean energy projects, the IRA introduced new provisions that now easily allow for the transfer of certain clean energy tax credits.

Sean Smestad and Chris McNamara of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP will discuss the new tax credit transferability provisions introduced by the IRA as they apply to for-profit developers of clean energy projects and the related “direct pay” provisions introduced by the IRA for not-for-profit developers of clean energy projects. Their presentation will also provide items to consider for purchasers and sellers who seek to use the new transferability provisions to acquire or sell clean energy tax credits.

Chris McNamara, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Associate
Sean Smestad, Michael Best & Friedrich, Attorney

Welcome and Opening Remarks
2023 Year in Review
Renewable Energy Stories

New polling data shows emerging trends and public opinions on renewable energy. Past legislative sessions in Wisconsin have been light on clean energy, but the prospects for coming years indicate changes in political affiliations, voting blocks, and overall public opinion on renewables. By identifying missed opportunities from previous legislative sessions, Wisconsin can position itself for major success in the near future.

Renewable Energy Stories

Ryan Krohn, Palmyra-Eagle Area School District, Superintendent
Peter Kilde, West CAP, Executive Director
Matt King, Hunger task Force, Associate Director
Darryl Pyawasay, MITW Renewable, MITW Renewable

New polling data shows emerging trends and public opinions on renewable energy. Past legislative sessions in Wisconsin have been light on clean energy, but the prospects for coming years indicate changes in political affiliations, voting blocks, and overall public opinion on renewables. By identifying missed opportunities from previous legislative sessions, Wisconsin can position itself for major success in the near future.

Beata Wierzba, RENEW Wisconsin, Government Affairs Director 
Mikhaila Calice, UW-Madison, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Morgan Stanchak, Conservative Energy Network, Senior Campaigns Manager
Tom Moore, Thomas E. Moore Government Affairs, Inc., President

Wisconsin currently operates 12,000 school buses that mostly run on diesel and propane, which are polluting and imported fuels. Switching to electric school buses can bring numerous benefits, such as improved health, air quality, and cost savings for every student and community in America. Many school districts in the country have already begun replacing their aging diesel buses with electric ones, with over 1,800 already on the road across 46 states. However, the transition to electric buses in Wisconsin faces challenges due to a lack of financial support and misinformation. Learn how different stakeholders are approaching this challenge and solving the puzzle of electrifying student transportation in the state.


Francisco Sayu, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Vice President of Productivity and Sustainability
Timothy Bartels, Xcel Energy, Commercial Electric Vehicle Project Manager
Tyler Salamasick, US Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Officer
Susan Mudd, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Senior Policy Advocate

There is no better time than right now to take full advantage of the IRA’s policy framework for rapidly accelerating customer adoption of low-carbon, distributed energy resources (DERs). Technologies such as solar PV, battery storage, and ground-source heat pumps can be deployed by customers large and small to create a more resilient grid system while generating savings for end-users. By and large, DERs are financed with private capital sources. But while many Wisconsin residents see DERs as stepping stones to a lower carbon and more electrified energy future, the regulatory environment, largely unchanged since the 1980s, is not well-aligned with this transition, and quite often, installation opportunities remain on the drawing board. Representing a variety of interests and perspectives, the panelists in this session will discuss the benefits and costs of integrating more DERs into the utility resource mix, and identify the policy tools for delivering the promise of DERs to the broader customer base.

Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin, Clean Energy Deployment Manager
Maria Drews, Drews Solar, Co-Owner
Tim Lindl, Keyes & Fox LLP, Partner
Corey Singletary, Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, Director, Regulatory Affairs

As renewable energy projects become more and more visible and energized in our communities, they draw more and more voices into the discussion. This panel invites representatives to discuss what developers, government, and citizens can do to better engage and prepare for siting challenges and opportunities in Wisconsin. Panelists will discuss past projects, concerns voiced by communities and other stakeholders, and strategies for success.

Orrie Walsvik, RENEW Wisconsin, Staff Attorney
Grace Lacke, RenUSA, Chief of Staff
Kurt Calkins, County Government, Director of Planning & Zoning and Land & Water Conservation Departments Columbia County
Chelsea Chandler, Clean Wisconsin, Climate, Energy & Air Program Director

RENEW Wisconsin presents its 2023 Clean Energy Honor Roll, honoring individuals and organizations who have been standout clean energy champions in 2023. 

Jodi Jean Amble, RENEW Wisconsin, Deputy Director
Sam Dunaiski, RENEW Wisconsin, Executive Director


Tonya Hicks, an accomplished leader, and trailblazer in construction, energy, and promoting women’s empowerment. As the President and CEO of Power Solutions, Inc., Managing Principal of Women Do Everything, LLC, and Founder/President of she-EV, Inc. Tonya has made significant contributions in several male-dominated industries. With a passion for excellence, Tonya’s journey began as she broke barriers, becoming the first woman to become a Journeyman Inside Wireman Electrician in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 917 and the first Black Woman to become an IBEW Journeyman Electrician in the State of Mississippi.


The road to 100% clean, renewable energy is being paved for Wisconsinites as advocacy groups, clean energy businesses, and elected officials collaborate to make it a reality. Join community organizers and experts on how to create an equitable transition to clean energy by prioritizing the needs and voices of frontline communities.

Tonyisha Harris, Action for the Climate Emergency, Associate Director of Youth Media & Partnerships
Abby Novinska-Lois, Healthy Climate Wisconsin, Executive Director
Cory Neeley, SolarShare Wisconsin Cooperative, Executive Director
Delmar Gillus, Elevate, COO Elevate

Thanks to recent federal investment from the Inflation Reduction Act, Wisconsin’s building decarbonization market is primed to rethink how we construct and renovate buildings. Wisconsin is now examining key policy levers that will help take advantage of over $150 million in home energy retrofit funds to weatherize and electrify buildings across the state. From economical new construction to innovative regulation, hear from local experts about Wisconsin’s policy opportunities to transform and decarbonize the buildings sector.

Lauren Reeg, RMI, Senior AssociateScott Semroc: City of Sun Prairie, Sustainability Coordinator
Dylan Crye, Focus on Energy, IRA Programs Manager
Heather Allen, Elevate, Director of Policy
Mark Hanson, Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Director of Sustainable Services

Wisconsin has the opportunity, today, to shape the clean energy grid of the future. A modern electric grid will require planning and flexibility at the transmission and distribution levels to address increased capacity and other complex energy needs. Discover how utilities, regulators, and stakeholders can work together to effectively construct a resilient, modern, renewable energy grid.

Andrew Kell, RENEW Wisconsin, Policy Director
Steve Bye, EPE
Ciaran Gallagher, Clean Wisconsin, Energy & Air Manager
Marcus Hawkins, OMS, Executive Director

New incentives included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act seek to promote the skilled technical workforce for the clean energy sector. This panel will include views from project managers, electrical contractors, and other professionals about strategies to recruit new talent, provide training, continuing education, and career advancement for employees, and empower the industry to tackle the energy challenges of the next quarter century.

Ken Walz, Madison Technical College
Jesse Michalski, Eland Electric, Project Manger
Richard Diaz, BlueGreen Alliance, Water Infrastructure Organizer
John Schwarzmeier, SunPeak, VP of Project Execution

Robert Blake: Robert Blake is the owner of Solar Bear, pronounced Gizis-o-makwa in Ojibwe, a solar developer located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Also, Robert is the Executive Director of Native Sun Community Power Development, a Non-Profit likewise located in Minneapolis. Robert is a tribal citizen of the Red Lake Nation. His passion is spreading the word about renewable energy through communication, cooperation, and collaboration.

Supreme Moore Omokunde: Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 22, 1979, Supreme Moore Omokunde graduated from Riverside University High School in 1997 and then attended Marquette University from 1997–2000, and then the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Now a full-time legislator, Supreme is a former youth worker with the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA. After that, he was a community organizer for the Sherman Park Community Association and a health care organizer for Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Supreme is a member of the Milwaukee Public Museum Board of Directors, Milwaukee County Human Rights Commission (workgroup member), Milwaukee City County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Board of Directors since March 2022.

He is a former member of Public Allies Milwaukee, TRUE Skool Board, 2016 Democratic National Convention (delegate for Bernie Sanders). He was elected to and served on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors from 2015–20 (chair of Committee on Health and Human Needs and member finance committees). He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2020.

After more than 30 years of service with RENEW Wisconsin, Michael Vickerman reflects on the breadth of his work. The impacts of his contributions to the renewable energy industry and Wisconsin will be felt for many years to come. The staff at RENEW will miss his presence in the office. Though he is “retiring,” Michael does not plan to stop advocating for the advancement of clean energy in the Badger State.