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