Energy News Without the Spin
April 2016 
Trending: PACE Financing - Clean Energy Jobs - Focus On Energy - Clean Power Plan  - Solar
DIRECTOR'S UPDATE
 
Energy On Wisconsin News has a new look and schedule. While I wrote all of the content over the past several years, the new newsletter is a mix of original articles and links to media articles. The newsletters are shorter and will arrive to keep you informed in this fast-paced time of energy developments. We are in the midst of an energy transformation in Wisconsin, nationally and globally. Renewable energy accounted for 64 percent of all new electrical generating capacity installed in 2015 in the US, and 100 percent in January 2016 according to FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Update. In Wisconsin, activity is greatest at the local level with community solar pilot projects, energy efficiency upgrades and a new PACE financing initiative for local governments to investigate in the lead article. Wisconsin businesses are making bold investments in clean energy, like Isthmus Engineering featured in the photo, with some achieving carbon neutrality for electricity.

Thank you for reading UW-Extension’s Energy on Wisconsin News for your energy information, funding and learning opportunities.

Sherrie Gruder
NEWS

PACE Clean Energy Financing: A New Wisconsin Initiative
Eau Claire County unanimously passed an ordinance on property assessed clean energy financing or PACE, on April 6. PACE loans provide an effective way for commercial building owners to obtain low-cost, long-term financing with no up-front cost for clean energy upgrades so that, over time, they save more on their energy bills than they pay for the loan. PACE loans are financed either by third-party private banks and financers or by local governments to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvements.
 
A new initiative by the Wisconsin Counties Association, League of Municipalities and Green Tier Legacy Communities working with a number of parties is moving forward to create a PACE Commission, administered by a nonprofit, to ensure that PACE adoption statewide is uniform, with a model ordinance, and that the administrative burden to counties of imposing special charges, collecting payments, etc. is minimized. For information about this new Wisconsin initiative, see this fact sheet. The City of Milwaukee’s PACE Financing program website provides good information. Their program is well-established and expanding with the help of a federal loan.

Nearly 25,000 People Work in WI Clean Energy Industry
Nearly 25,000 people work in Wisconsin's clean energy industry, according to a comprehensive analysis unveiled by RENEW Wisconsin, Clean Energy Trust, and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), March 22.  The analysis - available at www.CleanJobsMidwest.com- is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and a comprehensive survey of thousands of businesses across Wisconsin and the 12-state Midwest region.

$7 Million Cut from Focus On Energy
The Governor signed SB654/AB804 into law March 31 which clarifies that investor-owned utility contributions to Focus on Energy will be 1.2% of “operating revenues derived from retail sales.” By excluding operating revenues derived from wholesale sales, utility contributions to Focus on Energy will be reduced by about $7 Million/year. Focus on Energy staff is assessing the ramifications of the funding cut and seeks to minimize impacts on existing program offerings. They do not anticipate significant changes to any one specific program as a result of this legislation.
 
The  latest independent evaluation report of Focus on Energy indicates that $3.33 in energy-related benefits are delivered for every $1.00 invested in the program. When economic benefits like job creation are considered, Focus on Energy delivers $6.66 in benefits for every $1.00 invested.  Also see 
Industry Comes up short in resistance to Focus on Energy Bill and WPR
 

Alliant Energy power plant approved 3-0
The Public Service Commission has approved Alliant Energy’s request to build a 700 megawatt electricity generating plant in the Town of Beloit… In a 3-0 vote, the commissioners found the natural-gas fired plant to be in the public’s interest and necessary, as Alliant is retiring three coal-fired plants with a combined output of 640 megawatts.

TurningPoint Energy Partners with Midwest Renewable Energy Association to Expand University Solar Power
The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative's purpose is to assist student-led teams to generate a foundation for university investments in solar photovoltaic energy.  Starting in March of 2015, TurningPoint Energy and Midwest Renewable Energy Association paired up to strengthen the university support and the student-led teams by sharing their companies’ expertises in project development and finances.  

EPA Defends Generation Shifting in Clean Power Plan
A clean Air Act requirement that the Environmental Protection Agency determine the "best system" for cutting carbon dioxide emissions is broad enough to encompass the reductions anticipated in the Clean Power Plan, the agency argued in defense of the rule.  EPA filed a brief March 28 with the US Court of Appeals for D.C.  For background Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan and Appeal Court Supports Clean Power Plan

FUNDING

MREA Continues Steve Hansen Scholarship Legacy
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is taking applications for the Steve Hansen Memorial Scholarship Fund designed to assist students who are interested in attending college, technical college, or other training courses to study renewable energy, energy efficiency, or sustainable living topics. The application deadline is April 15, 2016. High school students, college students and non-traditional students are invited to apply. The 2016 scholarship recipients will be announced at The 27th Annual Energy Fair on June 17-19th.   
PHOTO

Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing, Madison Wisconsin, that designs and builds custom automation equipment, added an additional 100kW of solar energy to their existing solar installation, making their manufacturing bays carbon neutral. To read more . Photo Courtesy of Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing
EVENTS

International Biomass Conference & Expo: Annual Conversation with Bioenergy Association Leaders

April 11-14, 2016
Charlotte, NC


ENERGY STAR Webcasts Series
April 13-21, 2016

EPA Webcast: Solar for All: Making it Happen in Low-Income Communities
April 13, 2016: 12:00 pm- 1:30 pm

Sustainability Summit and Exposition
April 13-14, 2016
Milwaukee, WI

NREL Webcast: Grid Integration: Exploring Renewable Energy Integration in California
April 14, 2016: 12:00pm- 1:00 pm

ENERGY STAR Webcast: Energy Savings Plus Health: Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for School Building Upgrades
April 19, 2016: 12:00 pm- 1:00 pm

 
RESOURCES

Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report
A comprehensive assessment of advanced energy markets by revenue worldwide and in the US, the Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report found that the advanced energy revenue grew by 8% in 2014 globally or more than 3 times the rate of the global economy.  It is a $200 billion market in the US.  The report was prepared by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy business Leaders.

How-to Guide to Help States Cut Their Emissions With Energy Efficiency
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) white paper series is a "how-to" guide for states as they embark upon the path to meeting Clean Power Plan emission reduction targets.  Even with the Supreme Court stay, energy efficiency is a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable, and a strategy for reducing pollution.  
The first guide: http://aceee.org/white-paper/ee-cpp-steps
The second guide: http://aceee.org/white-paper/lbe-best-practices

 

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Sherrie Gruder, LEED APBD+C  
UW-Extension
Sustainable Design Specialist
Energy Program Manager
(608) 262-0398  
sherrie.gruder@wisc.edu


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