Summary of RENEW’s 2014 “We Mean Business!” Summit

2014 RENEW Wisconsin Energy Policy Summit
Mean Business
RENEW Wisconsin hosted its
third annual Energy Policy Summit, We Mean Business, on Friday, January 10, 2014, at the Pyle Center on the UW-Madison
campus.  Although our previous summits pulled
in large audiences and sparked many lively discussions, by all accounts RENEW’s
Mean Business
summit topped them all.
By the numbers:
  • 241 registered
  • 211 attended
  • 3 standout keynote talks
  • 3 renewable energy business and policy panel
  • 6 interactive breakout group discussions, each
    supported by its own policy brief
  • 6 clean energy projects inducted to the Million
    Watt Club
  • 7 people and/or organizations recognized as
    Renewable Energy Leaders
  • One gala social with beer, chicken skewers,
    and veggies
The purpose of the Summit
was to inform, engage, and inspire those in attendance with the vast potential
of renewable energy to invigorate Wisconsin’s economy and help it compete for
new business ventures, while stimulating job growth and protecting the environment.  The vast majority of attendees received those
themes in mega doses. 
A few quotes from e-mails
received shortly after the event:
”What an honor to be part of such a class
production! Thank you so much.”
“What a great summit! It did so much of
what I look for in an event like that with all the great info updates, various
incredible contexts for all amazing initiatives and progress, and plenty of
inspiration during a tough sledding season.”
“Just wanted to say thank you and
congratulations.  The Summit always gets better.  You all did a great
job with the speakers.”
“Great job with this year’s
conference.  In my humble opinion, this was by far the best one you guys
have put on yet, and it may be hard to top in 2015.  Great, engaging speakers
throughout the day, and good panels too.”
There were three major themes that reverberated
throughout the day:
A major transformation is occurring in
the energy sector, driven by distributed applications of energy efficiency and
renewable energy, which is rendering the traditional energy production business
model increasingly obsolete.
Wisconsin is lagging behind the Midwest,
much of the US, and the world in adopting and adapting to this new business
model, dampening the state’s prospects for sustained job growth.
The opportunity for Wisconsin to
dramatically increase its use of clean renewables still exists, but only
through strengthening its policies along the lines suggested by RENEW.
All the Energy Policy Summit speaker talks (that
were electronic) are located on the RENEW Website:

Tom Still’s commentary on the Summit (linked below) was published in the Appleton Post Crescent.  Still is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Technology Council and acted as a moderator for the Research, Jobs, & Innovation Panel during the Summit.

Honors Set for Wisconsin Renewable Energy Leaders

Awards Will Recognize Innovations, Achievements, Local Pioneers
(Madison) At its third annual Energy Policy Summit this week, RENEW Wisconsin will present
awards to municipalities, companies and individuals whose actions are fueling the expansion of
the renewable energy marketplace in Wisconsin.
Titled We Mean Business,” RENEWs summit
is set
for January 10, 2014, and will take place at
The Pyle Center on the UWMadison campus.
The people, companies and municipalities we will recognize this Friday are making a lasting impression on Wisconsins renewable energy landscape, said RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Tyler Huebner. “As Wisconsins preeminent
clean energy organization, RENEW benefits greatly from their pioneering innovations and hard work, which help prepare the ground for
broader policy advances.
We at RENEW are honored to have the opportunity to work closely with these award winners
take inspiration from their ongoing commitment to advancing clean energy here, Huebner said.
Please see our previous blog post on award winners for RENEW’s class of 2013 renewable projects:
A list of award categories and recipients appears below.


Municipal Renewable Energy Program of the Year -Milwaukee Shines (Office of Environmental Sustainability, City of Milwaukee)
For leadership in organizing neighborhood group
purchases and establishing a property
inancing tool to reduce upfront installation costs of solar.

Distinguished Public Service Award
Roger Kasper, Department of Agriculture, Trade and
Consumer Protection
Honoring his
effective behind-the scenes work in building a cohesive constituency that
has made Wisconsin a national leader in farmbased renewable energy development.

Green Power Champion of
the Year – Metcalfe’s Market

For its commitment to 100% Green Power by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates
created by local and independent generators.
      Innovative Renewable Energy Project of the Year City of
For its commitment to energy independence by hosting third partyowned solar arrays
four rooftops totaling 156 kW and acquiring renewable energy credits created with
the generation.
      Innovative Renewable Energy Developer of the Year Solar Connections
For leadership in developing innovative financial arrangements to enable residential
customers and nonprofit entities to host solar electric systems on their premises.
      Innovative Renewable Energy Developer of the Year Falcon Energy Services
For innovative financial sponsorship of renewable energy projects in Wisconsin.
     Lifetime Achievement Award Lee Cullen, Cullen, Weston, Pines & Bach
service as counsel for numerous clean energy businesses and advocacy organizations, and outstanding leadership in crafting, shaping
renewable energy policy framework throughout his professional
To learn more about
RENEW’s Energy
Summit, go to

RENEW to Honor “Class of 2013” Renewable Projects

Newest Wisconsin Installations Powered by Biogas, Solar, and Wind
(Madison) At its third annual Energy Policy Summit next month, RENEW Wisconsin will recognize the six largest nonutilityowned renewable generation projects built in Wisconsin in
2013. Titled We Mean Business, RENEW’s
is set
for January 10, 2014, and will take
place at The Pyle Center on the UWMadison campus.
All six clean energy
be inducted into RENEW’s
Million Watt Club next month have a minimum electric generating capacity of one megawatt (MW). These installations are designed either to
supply energy directly to the host facility or a Wisconsin utility. The
combined generating capacity of the Class of 2013 installations is 19.6 MW, compared with the
15.4 MW that came online in 2012.
Below are capsule descriptions of the Class
of 2013 renewable generation projects to be inducted into RENEW Wisconsins Million Watt Club.
  • Galactic Wind Farm, a 10 MW facility in the Town of Springfield in Dane County. This plant is the
    largest wind-power project in Wisconsin not owned by an energy company.
    Project participants
    include Veronabased Epic Systems (owner), The Morse Group (general
    contractor), Cullen, Weston, Pines & Bach
    (legal services), Madison Gas & Electric (interconnection facilitator), and
    W.E.S. Engineering (consulting engineer).
  • GreenWhey Digester, a 3.2 MW facility located in Turtle Lake. This plant is powered with biogas
    derived from liquid organic wastes produced at several
    food processing
    companies located in Turtle Lake. Project participants include GreenWhey Energy (owner),
    Miron Construction (general
    contractor), Xcel Energy (longterm
    electricity purchaser) Symbiont Inc. (balanceof-
    engineer), and Geo Investors (financing).
  • Forest County Potawatomi Community (FCPC) Renewable Generation Digester, a 2 MW facility located in Milwaukee. This plant is powered with biogas derived from liquid organic wastes produced at the tribally owned casino next door.
    Project participants include FCPC (owner),
    Miron Construction (general
    contractor), Symbiont Inc. (balanceof-system engineer), Titus Energy
    (consulting engineer), Godfrey & Kahn (legal services), We Energies (longterm electricity purchaser)
    Greenfire Management Services (owners representative), and Rockwell Automation (motor controls). The GE engine generators were manufactured in Waukesha.

  • Dane County Community Digester, a 2 MW facility located in the Town of Springfield in Dane County and interconnected to Madison Gas & Electric. Dane Countys second community digester, this plant is powered with biogas derived from manure produced at several adjoining dairy farms.
    Project participants include Gundersen Health (owner), C.G. Schmidt (general
    contractor), Dane County (catalyst and facilitator), Madison Gas & Electric (longterm electricity purchaser), and U.S. Biogas (system designer).
  • Rosendale Dairy Digester, a 1.4 MW facility located near Pickett in Winnebago County.
    This plant is powered with biogas derived from manure produced at Rosendale Dairy. Project
    participants include
    Milk Source (owner), BIOFerm (system designer), Alliant Energy (longterm
    electricity purchaser),
    and UW-Oshkosh Foundation (financing
  • Jefferson Solar, a 1 MW facility located in the City of Jefferson.
    This plant, Wisconsins first commercial
    solar energy plant, produces electricity for sale to the grid. Project participants include Half Moon Ventures (owner),
    S&C Electric (general contractor), Jefferson Utilities
    (interconnection facilitator), and WPPI Energy (longterm electricity purchaser).
The Energy Policy
Summit is
a fitting venue to honor the people and organizations that
embraced the vision of energy selfsufficiency and job creation, and made it happen in
Wisconsin, said RENEW Wisconsins
Executive Director Tyler Huebner.
Their solar, wind, and bioenergy installations created jobs, reduced the flow of imported fossil
into Wisconsin, and demonstrated responsible environmental stewardship. They truly deserve the recognition, as well as everyones appreciation, Huebner said.
To learn more about
RENEW’s Energy Policy Summit, go to

Keynotes and Agenda Set for January Renewable Energy Policy Summit

National, Regional, and Statewide Leaders Highlight Event

12/20/2013 – Press release from RENEW Wisconsin

Wisconsin will host its third annual Renewable Energy Policy Summit on Friday,
January 10th, 2014 at the Pyle Center on the UW-Madison campus. The theme of
the event, “We Mean Business,” will highlight the importance of
renewable energy to Wisconsin’s economy. The early-bird registration deadline
is Friday, December 20th.
The event
will feature three keynote speakers.
Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director of the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden Colorado, will kick off the program. He
will cover the potential for renewable energy development and how we can
capture it.
Karl Rabago, Veteran of the US Army,
Department of Energy, Austin Energy, Texas Public Utility Commission, and
currently a consultant, lawyer, and advocate, will give a lunch address on the
value and future of distributed renewable energy.
Michael Noble, Director of Minnesota-based
Fresh Energy will close the day by discussing the origins of Minnesota’s recent
law  that will expand solar energy
30-fold by 2020 and the job creation that will come with it.
Panels and
other sessions will continue to highlight the economic and business theme, with
additional presentations on new projects and programs:
businesses including Melissa Van Ornum of Chilton-based DVO, Wisconsin’s
leading biodigester designer, and Matt Neumann of SunVest, a Pewaukee-based
solar developer. They will discuss the current business situation for clean
energy development in Wisconsin. Joe Sullivan of Wind on the Wires, a regional
wind energy advocacy organization, will also compare and contrast Wisconsin’s
wind energy development with our Midwest neighbors. Tom Content of the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel will moderate this panel.
A policy and
legislative panel will discuss the current public policy environment
surrounding clean, renewable energy, and prospects for strengthening it. The
panel will feature Secretary Ben Brancel of the Department of Agriculture,
Trade, and Consumer Protection, Representative Katrina Shankland (D-71st
Stevens Point area). Additional legislators have been invited. Chris Schoenherr
of the Department of Administration will moderate this panel.
A panel on
the connections between research, innovation, and economic growth in the clean
energy sector featuring Gary Radloff of the Wisconsin Energy Institute and Mike
Bull of the Center on Energy and the Environment, and a representative of the
Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) is also expected to present. Tom
Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council will moderate this panel.
roundtables on current issues and projects with networking opportunities such
as community renewables, Clean Energy Choice, expanding our 10% Renewable
Electricity Standard, bioenergy, regulatory matters before the Public Service
Commission, and renewable energy credits (RECs).
Finally, a
lunch awards ceremony will recognize the outstanding projects that came online
this year and honor Wisconsin champions of renewable energy.
Wisconsin’s Executive Director Tyler Huebner says, “The We Mean Business theme
was selected to highlight the tremendous economic development potential for
Wisconsin from harvesting more of its own home-grown energy sources, and
contrast it to the current uphill battle many renewable energy businesses
currently face in this state.”
The early-bird
deadline for registration is Friday, December 20th. Early-bird rates are $75
for members of RENEW Wisconsin and $100 for non-members, and rates will go to
$95 and $125 respectively after the deadline. The rate for government employees
is $75 and for students is $35; these two rates won’t change with the deadline.
Membership with RENEW starts at $35 for individuals and $200 for businesses and
speaker information, registration, and more information is available at

Ride with RENEW was a huge success!

Thank you: Your support made it all possible
The first ever RENEW Wisconsin bike event occurred over the weekend of September 28 and 29 and was a major inspirational and fundraising success.
RENEW would like to thank all of you who sent your support and donations to us for our Ride with RENEW bike tour event. 161 of you donated over $8,000 to support this event and work toward a clean, renewable energy future in Wisconsin. We blew way past our goal of raising $5,000, which two of our major donors John and Mary Frantz had generously agreed to match. We were shocked and humbled when John and Mary offered to match the $8,000 all of you had donated, bringing our total to over $16,000!
Here are some of the highlights:
  • 9 riders
  • 2 days
  • 115 miles
  • 1 sag wagon
  • 3106 feet in elevation
  • 161 contributors
  • 9 corporate and in-kind sponsors
  • Over $16,000 raised (includes the match by John & Mary Frantz)
  • 12 renewable sites visited
  • 2 songs written 
  • 1 broken chain, 1 broken spoke
  • Many great experiences
We wanted to share with you some of the highlights of the bike ride, so we created a photo album on our Google+ page.

Continue Your Support: Become a Monthly Sustainer of RENEW!

RENEW’s new executive director, Tyler Huebner, initiated RENEW’s first 100 mile bike ride event to emphasize RENEW’s campaigns, fundraise to support these campaigns, get some exercise, and be part of an adventure. We hit the mark on all of these attributes! In addition, Tyler started this bike ride to get 100 Monthly Sustainers of RENEW Wisconsin, and set the 100 miles as a benchmark to coincide with this goal. We’ve already got 14 Monthly Sustainers: join us as a Monthly Sustainer of RENEW today and continue supporting our work with a monthly contribution of $25 or more!

Ride Summary

Saturday’s event started on the Merrimac ferry, north of Madison, and ventured up the hill to the International Crane Foundation to see their hot water and electric solar systems. The first hill was the second highest on the trip and it was a joy to eventually get on top. The next major stop was at the LEED Platinum Aldo Leopold Center near Baraboo and then the group took the Levee Road, Wisconsin River route on the way back towards the ferry.  Saturday’s event will be remembered by riders as being one that was warm, windy, rainy (at the end), and full of surprises.
Sunday started in the Middleton Park & Ride and quickly ventured past the new Dane County BioDigester being built just west of Middleton. Next stop was the Epic’s new Galactic Wind farm in Northern Dane County. The weather was perfect for biking: sunny, 60 degrees, and no wind. However these conditions meant the Epic system’s wind turbines blades were not spinning.  The group then stopped at a private residence that was heated by 16 solar thermal panels on a south facing roof with an incredible view.
The toughest riding part of the trip was next, up the hill to the Bleu Mont Dairy near Blue Mounds State Park.  Bleu Mont Dairy is a zero energy operation with wind, solar thermal and solar electric  providing all the power for the award winning dairy, which also supports a passive solar greenhouse and cave cheese storage.  We continued up the hill to Britington Park and then were glad to descend down to Mt. Horeb and the solar based Grumpy Troll Brew Pub. The trip ended going on the Military Ridge State Bike Trail and viewing the solar system at Standard Imaging and Middleton Alternative High School’s solar shingles.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend at the end of September, riding for a really great cause and fun adventure.  Many thanks to all who participated as riders, sponsors, supporters, logistic planners, sage wagon drivers, and renewable site owners. Special thanks to John and Mary Frantz who were able to match all of the other 161 sponsors with a generous gift.

Based on this success, RENEW plans to make the early fall bike ride an annual event. Stay tuned for details at the end of summer 2014.

If you donated $35 or more, you are now considered a member of RENEW and we are happy to have you with us. You will receive e-newsletters from us and can keep up to date via our website and blog. We have a number of events coming up around the state, so be sure to check out our events calendar.

Also, a very special thank you to our sponsors, who generously provided marketing, logistical help, donations, and snacks and support to us during our ride:
Wisconsin Business AllianceAlvarado GroupHome Savings BankDreambikesBerkeley Running CompanyApple WellnessChocolate Shoppe Ice Cream
Thank you again!

RENEW Wisconsin Staff & Board of Directors
222 S. Hamilton St.
Madison, WI 53703