The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin made preliminary decisions recently to allocate approximately $5.5 million in incentives per year, for the years 2019 through 2022, to the renewable energy programs within “Focus on Energy.”
The decisions came as part of the four-year planning process for the Focus on Energy program. Focus on Energy delivers incentives and education to help utility customers reduce energy usage and save money through energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and projects. The total budget for the statewide Focus on Energy program is approximately $100 million annually.
“The decision to fund the Focus on Energy renewable energy incentive programs at adequate budget levels will set up the solar, geothermal, small wind, and bioenergy markets for a successful four-year period,” said Tyler Huebner, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. “This level of funding should incentivize approximately 2,000 homes and perhaps 600 or more businesses and nonprofits as they pursue renewable energy projects throughout the next four years.”
The organization advocates for a consistent program which is a win for customers and the growing industry of small businesses who do this work all across the Badger State.
The decisions and discussion by the commission for RENEW Wisconsin included:
- Allocated approximately $5.5 million per year for renewable energy incentives for 2019-2022.
- Established that four sub-markets will be served: residential, small business, mid-sized business, and larger business projects. The mid-sized business program will be new for 2019. Nonprofits and local governments fall into the “business” categories as well.
- Allows flexibility to meet market demand in these four sub-markets
- The residential and small business programs will continue to be first-come, first-serve programs. The mid-sized business and large business programs will start out being run through a request-for-proposal process.
- A study being conducted on the renewable energy programs may inform improvements to the program when it is completed.
- Opportunities to support rural and agricultural communities using $5 million in unspent funds will be explored, with a staff memorandum on possible options to be developed by July 1.
$20 million was previously allocated towards biodigesters, with $15 million being awarded to the BC Organics project in Brown County in 2016.
“The Commissioners definitely heard the collective comments of our industry and stakeholders to make the renewable energy program as streamlined and business-friendly as possible. RENEW Wisconsin will continue to work with the Commission, PSC staff, and the Focus on Energy program administrators to make the programs simple for customers and the renewable energy marketplace, while ensuring cost-effective outcomes,” added Huebner. “Renewable energy creates jobs in Wisconsin, develops home-grown power sources, and enables a cleaner environment for future generations.”