Appeals court upholds wind siting ruling

A positive state ruling on wind siting in Wisconsin:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin appeals court says state regulators didn’t have to produce a report on how wind turbines affect property values when they imposed siting standards.  

The Public Service Commission implemented rules setting up uniform wind turbine construction and setback standards in 2012. The state realtors, builders and towns associations sued, arguing the rules were invalid because the commission didn’t produce a report on the rules’ effect on property values. 

A Brown County judge ruled last year no report was required. The 3rd District Court of Appeals agreed on Tuesday. The court said a report is needed only when rules directly affect housing. The PSC considered voluminous evidence about turbines’ effect on housing and reasonably concluded they don’t’ hurt residential property values. 

The associations’ attorney didn’t immediately return a message.

Read more

WPS Community Foundation funds Coleman Elementary School solar project

The Wisconsin Public Service Community Foundation recently funded its 51st SolarWise for Schools project. A new article in the Eagle Herald  details a large 24-kilowatt solar-electric system now generating electricity for the Coleman Elementary School. The project was funded in part by the WPS Community Foundation, along with Eland Electric Corporation and a Focus on Energy Grant. RENEW praises WPS’s foundation for supporting projects like this.

On the flip side of this solar story, WPS, the private utility, wants to prevent systems of this size from being eligible for net metering in the future! Yesterday, Michael Vickerman and RENEW just submitted our brief concluding our arguments to improve net metering for WPS customers!

Libertarian Party of Wisconsin Endorses Clean Energy Choice

State Renewable Energy Initiative Picking Up Momentum

Statement by RENEW Wisconsin Program and Policy Director Michael Vickerman

RENEW Wisconsin is pleased to announce that our Clean Energy Choice initiative has earned the endorsement of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin.  By its action, the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin joins more than 90 other organizations, businesses and local governments across the state that believe that customers should have the legal right to purchase renewable energy produced on their premises, regardless of who owns the energy system.

Most energy customers cannot afford the installed cost of a brand-new renewable energy generator to supply them with electricity. But most could afford to have a renewable electricity service if the equipment were owned by someone else. We thank the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin for standing up for the right of customers to enter into long-term contracts to access clean energy produced on-site. 

In the 22 states that have affirmed this policy, you’ll find many citizens, businesses and nonprofit entities working with local contractors to supply their buildings with renewable electricity produced on-site.  Clean Energy Choice provides the financing flexibility that enables these citizens to supply themselves with the technologies they prefer.  Because of that flexibility, those 22 states have some of the healthiest renewable energy markets in the country, and they are happily reaping the economic and environmental benefits associated with that policy.

Wisconsin’s energy policy should aim to make it easier for customers to host clean energy systems on their premises.  It should also aim to create jobs and expand business and investment opportunities for local firms. By adopting Clean Energy Choice, Wisconsin policymakers would in a single stroke affirm their commitment to freedom of choice, economic development, environmental protection and property rights.  We call upon the Legislature to seize this opportunity when it reconvenes next month and start working to adopt this policy.

A full list of organizations, companies and local governments supporting Clean Energy Choice can be accessed at the link below.

RENEW opposes WPS' proposed green pricing increase and asks for small wind tariff

From the testimony of Michael Vickerman in opposition to the request of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation to increase the cost of renewable energy purchased by customers in the NatureWise green-pricing program:

The purpose of my testimony is threefold: (1) to discuss how basing buyback rates on locational marginal pricing (LMP’s) penalizes low-risk renewable energy sources; (2) to encourage Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS), with the support of the Commission, to establish a net energy billing tariff for small wind energy systems up to 100 kilowatts and (3) to urge the Commission to hold WPS’s NatureWise premium at 1.25 cents/kWh.