Most Wisconsin electricity providers have already acquired all the renewable energy supplies they need to meet the state's 10 percent target in 2015, according to the Public Service Commission (PSCW).
The agency's annual compliance review showed that nearly 9 percent of electricity sold by in-state electricity providers in 2011 originated from such renewable energy resources as sunlight, biogas, hydro, landfill gas and wind, compared with 3 percent in 2006.
"By any measure, the state's Renewable Energy Standard (RES) has been an unqualified success," said Michael Vickerman, program and policy director for RENEW Wisconsin.
Vickerman added, "From the standpoint of job creation, resource diversity, price stability, environmental protection and revenue generation, the RES has delivered exceptional value to a state that is very dependent on imported fossil fuels for electricity generation."
Passed in 2006, the RES has been the most powerful policy for driving growth in renewable electricity sales. Yet with so many electricity providers already in compliance with their 2015 requirements, the prospects for new investments in home-grown energy sources are uncertain.
"Right now, we don't have a policy in place for directing investments into clean energy after 2015," Vickerman said. "If we want to reap the economic and environmental benefits that come with renewables, state lawmakers will have to extend the Renewable Energy Standard or adopt a successor policy."
"Investments in renewable resources not only supply Wisconsin utility customers with clean energy, they also generate work opportunities for local manufacturers and businesses, additional revenue for local governments, and income for farmers," said Vickerman.
"Renewable energy should be the cornerstone of an economic development strategy that aims to increase the state's workforce and expand investment opportunities," Vickerman said.
"We look forward to working with the Governor and the next Legislature to put in place a realistic, low-cost policy framework that maintains the momentum building from the current RES," Vickerman concluded.
RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) that leads and represents businesses, and individuals who seek more clean, renewable energy in Wisconsin. Find more information on RENEW's Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.