Energy On Wisconsin is a collaboration of the State Energy Office (SEO) and University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. 
August 2014
Upcoming Education
Recently Added Resources
Upcoming Education Opportunities
*WI Electric Rate Restructuring Webinar: What are the Costs?
UW-Extension, September 3, 2014: 12:00-1:30 pm

ENERGY STAR Webinar: Portfolio Manager 101
August 26, 2014: 12:00 pm-1:30 pm

DOE Tribal Renewable Energy Series Webinar: Introduction to Facility and Community Scale Project Financing
August 27, 2014: 12:00 pm-1:30 pm

ENERGY STAR Webinar: Portfolio Manager 201
August 27, 2014: 12:00 pm-1:30 pm

SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership Webinar: Solar Permitting & Inspection (Part 3)
August 27, 2014: 1:00 pm-2:00 pm

MREA Online Course: Solar PV Site Assessor
September 8, 2014-October 5, 2014

Events and Other Education
Building Operator Certification 1001: Energy-Efficient HVAC System Operation and Controls - Madison, WI
August 27-28, 2014: 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Annual Utility Scale Solar Summit-San Diego, CA
September 9-11, 2014

National Microgrids Conference-Chicago, IL
September 10-12, 2014

Greening the Heartland -Chicago, IL
September 29, 2014-October 1, 2014

GreenBuild International Conference and Expo-New Orleans, LA
October 22-24, 2014
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This Month's Picture

Photo of St. Croix Electric Cooperative's 103 kW community solar garden called Sunflower 1.120 co-op members subscribed for the electricity the PV array generates and will be credited for its output on their bills. See news below to read more. Photo courtesy of St. Croix Electric Cooperative

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*Wisconsin Utility Rate Cases Open for Comment
Public comments are being taken now by Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission for each of the utility’s rate restructuring plans. These will affect two-thirds of Wisconsin ratepayers. We Energies, WPS and MGE have filed major rate cases with the Public Service Commission to substantially increase the current fixed fees that customers pay while reducing the variable charges. The utilities’ case is that the restructuring is to cover their fixed costs for coal plants and other infrastructure. Increases proposed are 75% for We Energies customers, more than double and triple for WPS residential and business customers respectively and 85% for MGE. MGE has amended aspects of their request since July due to customer feedback.
In addition, We Energies and Alliant asked the PSC to reduce the amount they pay to solar customers for the electricity they generate and feed back into the grid. Also, We Energies wants to charge a monthly fee to those who generate renewable energy that goes into the grid while prohibiting grid connection to any homeowner, local government, business or organization that wants to install renewables through a third party lease. This will impact dairy farmers who generate biogas, and municipalities and businesses that generate electricity from methane gas at waste water treatment plants, landfills and food digesters. Concern is that these policies will make it less feasible or cost ineffective both to make energy efficiency upgrades and to use and install renewable systems on your property.
Comments can be filed on the PSCs website for the WPS rate change request case (Docket No. 6690-UR-123) through September 10; for We Energies (Docket No. 5-UR-107) until September 24, and for MGEs rate case (Docket No. 6690-UR-123) until October 1, 2014. Click on Public Comment on the PSC website, scroll down to the rate case, and click on the docket number in order to comment. To partake in a live, in-depth discussion of these cases with experts, join the UW-Extension webinar September 3, 12:00-1:30. To read more about this issue 

Wisconsin’s Second Solar Community Garden Launched
St. Croix Electric Cooperative (SCEC) held a ribbon cutting July 19th for the new 103 kW community solar garden called Sunflower 1. One hundred and twenty co-op member subscribers paid for one to five, 500-watt production unit (s) and will collect credits on their monthly electric bills from the solar garden’s output. The solar PV array is expected to produce 154,000 kWh of electricity annually or enough to power 13 homes. It is estimated to prevent 123 tons of CO2 emissions in the first year of operation and more than 3,000 tons over the course of 25 years. SCEC is a rural cooperative with more than 10,500 member accounts and is part of the Dairyland Power Cooperative system. For more information click here and here

Wind Tower Manufacturing Big Business for Wisconsin Firm
A Manitowoc Wisconsin company, Broadwind Energy Inc., received orders worth $34 million to produce new wind turbine towers from an unidentified U.S. turbine manufacturer. The order represents two-thirds of the company's tower production capacity for 2015. For more information

Virent Receives EPA Approval for Biofuel
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given fuel registration to Madison-based Virent Inc’s BioForm gasoline, which allows the fuel to be used in on-highway motor vehicles. During testing, the plant sugar-based fuel, which contains up to a 45 percent blend with conventional gasoline, demonstrated that the emissions from the biofuel were well below current standards. The biofuel, made at Virent’s demonstration plant in Madison, WI, is high-octane and is compatible with existing refining and distribution infrastructure networks. Currently, the biofuel has been used by Shell in road tests and by Ferrari cars in Formula One Grand Prix. For more information click here and here

Wisconsin Receives USDA Funds to Promote Development of Rural Wood to Energy Projects
More than $2.5 million in grants to develop wood energy teams in 11 states were awarded by USDA in mid-July. Wisconsin received $250,000 in grants funds. The partners in the Wisconsin team are: State Energy Office, UW-Madison, UW-Extension, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Marth Companies, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Heating the Midwest, Renewable Resources Solutions, the Sustainability Resources Institute, and Heating the Midwest. The team will work to expand markets that convert woody biomass into energy to support wildfire mitigation, forest restoration, urban wood utilization and other forest management goals to get more wood burning projects installed in Wisconsin.

MREA Receives $1.87M to Grow Solar in the Midwest
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) was awarded $1.87 million dollars in funding by the US Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative as one of nine regional teams. MREA will be working with partners in 5 Midwest states (WI, MN, IL, IA, MI) as part of the Midwest Grow Solar Partnership to help homeowners, businesses, and municipalities cut red tape for residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems. SunShot is designed to drive research, manufacturing, and market solutions to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by 2020 so that it’s more affordable and accessible for Americans. To read more, see press release and website.

Nevada Study Finds Rooftop Solar Reduces Costs for All
Nevada Net Energy Metering Impacts Evaluation is a study prepared for the State of Nevada Public Utilities Commission, July 2014, on the value of distributed solar to the state's utilities. Findings: this year and next, under the current rate structure, rooftop solar reduces costs for all. It is thus a net benefit to the utility companies and to all Nevada ratepayers - even customers without solar.

Buildings Compete in EPA's Energy Star Battle of the Buildings
Buildings nationwide are competing in EPA’s Fifth Annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings. The competition targets wasted energy in commercial buildings to motivate businesses to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon pollution, and save money. With the help of Energy Star, teams optimize or upgrade equipment, retrofit lighting, and change occupant behavior. Monthly energy consumption is tracked using Energy Star Portfolio Manager and the team with lowest reduced average energy use over a year will win. Teams that feature buildings from Wisconsin, include The U.S. General Services Administration, Assurant, Sears, and Burton Energy Group. Midpoint results will be posted in October, with the winner announced in April 2015.

Colorado has Nation's First County Powered by Community Solar
Adams County, CO will power its buildings with privately developed local solar from SunShare Community Solar Gardens of Denver. Community Solar Gardens allow customers either who cannot or do not want to install solar panels on their property to purchase solar energy from a solar system in their community. Adams County will purchase 189 kW of energy for seven county facilities, which is enough to power 45 homes. The energy from the solar garden goes into the grid and the county purchases it from SunShare and receives a credit on their bill from Xcel. Colorado passed the country's first Community Solar Gardens Act in 2010, now replicated in 16 states. For more information

Denver Releases Climate Adaptation Plan
The City and County of Denver have released a comprehensive Climate Adaptation Plan to prepare for future increases in temperature, urban heat island effect, extreme weather events, and earlier snowmelt. Denver prioritized and developed short, medium, and long-term climate adaptation strategies in several areas, including the building and energy sector. The strategies developed for this sector involve increasing solar power plant capacity, encouraging private sector solar capacity, continual commissioning program, and EnergyCAP Utility Tracking. The city will adopt the 2015 International Building Code and require new municipal construction and major renovations to earn a minimum LEED Gold certification. Other sectors addressed include Health and Human Services, Land Use and Transportation, Urban Natural Resources, Water Consumption, and Food and Agriculture. For more information

Ontario: First Coal Free Jurisdiction in North America
Ten years ago, coal comprised 25% of Ontario’s electricity mix to its 13.5 million residents. With the goal to become coal-free, the conversion of the Thunder Bay Generating Station on Lake Superior from coal to woody biomass pellets, along with energy conservation and efficiency and boosting outputs of nuclear and hydro plants, Ontario is soon to be coal-free. The impetus in addition to the environment – health care costs associated with coal generation were $3 billion annually and the provincial government pays for health care. Click here to read more

Copenhagen Plans to Be World's First Carbon Neutral City
Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, passed a carbon-neutral plan two years ago to achieve zero-carbon by 2025. Toward that end, three wind turbines recently went on line in a Copenhagen neighborhood, with plans to add 97 more citywide. Currently, wind power makes up 33% of Denmark’s energy supply, the target is 50% by 2020. Much of that wind power comes from off-shore wind. The plan calls for smaller, urban-based turbines. To gain approval, the city is selling turbine shares, each representing 1,000 kWh per year. Considering that a standard Copenhagen household consumes 3,500 kWh per year, four shares would enable the house to achieve carbon neutrality for electricity. To date, 500 residents have bought 2,500 shares. Click here to read more
Recently Added Resources

Biogas Opportunities Roadmap: Voluntary Actions to Reduce Methane Emissions and Increase Energy Independence
The Biogas Opportunities Roadmap released August 2014 from US DOE, USDA, US EPA in collaboration with the Dairy Industry, addresses current barriers limiting biogas development and outlines voluntary actions to support the expansion of the American biogas industry. It was developed to assist the dairy industry in meeting their 2008 goal of supply chain greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 25% by 2020. Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States at 9% but has 20 times more impact on climate change than carbon dioxide.  Capture of biogas, which is 65-70% methane, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and enables its use as a reliable renewable fuel source.

Climate Forward: A New Road Map for Wisconsin's Climate and Energy Future
Climate Forward, released June 2014 by The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, is a report that identifies five “pathways to progress” to reduce Wisconsin’s dependence on fossil fuels and support sustainable energy sources. These solutions focus on energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, improving transportation systems, carbon storage, and developing sustainable business models. The goal of the report is to shine a light on current conditions, barriers to progress, and opportunities—if Wisconsin chooses to engage and lead in the climate arena.

Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool
The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standard is a global rating system for greener computers and other imaging equipment.  The EPEAT system combines strict, comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use and recycling with ongoing independent verification of manufacturer claims. EPEAT can be specified as a requirement in purchasing proposals. Model contract language is provided on the website for PCs/displays, imaging equipment and televisions. Anyone can look up products and see the level of certification different brands and models have achieved.

Evaluation of Missed Energy Saving Opportunity Based on Illinois Home Performance Program Field Data
Evaluation of Missed Energy Saving Opportunity Based on Illinois Home Performance Program Field Data: Homeowner Selected Upgrades vs. Cost-Optimized Solutions, is a report from USDOE prepared by Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), June 2014, for energy contractors and energy incentive program managers to optimize energy efficiency in residential households. The research was conducted in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Building America program.

Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America's Solar Energy Boom in 2013
Lighting the Way, by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, is a report that details the rise of solar energy – especially in states that have adopted strong public policies to encourage solar power. The amount of solar photovoltaic capacity in the U.S. has tripled from 2011-2013 with Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Carolina the main contributors. These 10 states, which have 26% of the U.S. population and consume only 20% its electricity, account for 87 percent of total U.S. solar electricity capacity and 89 percent of the solar electricity capacity installed in 2013.

Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies
Revolution Now, by the US DOE, November 2013, is a report that focuses on four technology revolutions that are here today: onshore wind power, polysilicon photovoltaic modules, LED lighting, and electric vehicles. Since 2008, they have achieved dramatic reductions in cost accompanied by a surge in consumer, industrial and commercial deployment. This analysis explains both the magnitude of and mechanisms behind these nascent revolutions. Each of the sectors examined has also become a major opportunity for America’s clean energy economy.
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Contacts for Energy On Wisconsin
Sherrie Gruder 
Sustainable Design Specialist   
(608) 262-0398
Megan Levy
Director of Local Energy Programs
Wisconsin State Energy Office
(608) 266-5054

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