Electric cooperatives that have taken the plunge into solar energy are the stars of a new website aimed at persuading more co-ops to add solar energy to their mix.
Sunrun says Wisconsin’s reputation as hostile for solar is not necessarily deserved.
Madison, Wisconsin’s resolution to power the entire city with 100 percent renewable energy is wider-ranging than most because it covers not only electricity but also heating and transportation.
The potential for generating energy from anaerobic digesters could address water quality issues and increase clean energy from Wisconsin farms, though economic and technical challenges remain with bringing the energy to the market.
Advocates who have been pressuring a Wisconsin utility to adopt more clean energy are applauding the recent announcement of a new wind project in Iowa.
For solar energy in Wisconsin, the last 24 months have been nothing short of electrifying. After the best-year-ever in 2015 led by installations on businesses and homes, 2016 started with a jolt when La Crosse-based Dairyland Power Cooperative committed to 14 large projects scattered across the full length of western Wisconsin. About half of these projects will be fully operational by the end of February, and the remainder before July. Projects by Alliant Energy, Bayfield Electric Cooperative and Madison Gas & Electric delivered the next pulse of sun-generated power. Their installations span the state from Iron River near Lake Superior in the north to Beloit by the Illinois border in the south. Large arrays placed on 16 Wisconsin stores owned by national retailer Target also contributed to the ongoing surge of solar generation.
While state agencies have recently removed climate change information from their websites, Wisconsin has a long history of being a leader on climate and clean energy research, including by scientists working for government agencies and public universities.
Wisconsin has stood out nationwide for state officials’ hostility toward solar and other renewable energy sources, but there are also numerous bright spots in Wisconsin’s clean energy landscape, including leadership by rural electric cooperatives in renewable development.
Clean energy advocates are upset that Wisconsin regulators want to use funds from the Focus on Energy program — meant for energy efficiency and renewables — to address the state’s broadband internet crisis.
A decision by Wisconsin regulators to allocate efficiency money to rural communities “underserved” by broadband internet access raises questions about how it will be spent.