Tripling funds for energy efficiency programs urged

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Energy Efficiency |


From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Wisconsin should explore tripling its funding for energy efficiency programs because the payoff would be nearly $1 billion a year in annual energy cost savings for consumers, a new study says.

Several of the state’s largest business groups have raised questions about the study’s findings, however. They are concerned about the higher utility rates business customers would have to pay to fund energy efficiency programs, many of which are targeted at homeowners and renters instead of businesses.

The study by the Energy Center of Wisconsin echoes recommendations made last year by a state global warming task force appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle.

That study suggested that tripling or quadrupling funding for energy efficiency would help the state reduce energy use and emissions linked to global warming, and help mitigate the higher costs consumers would have to bear for electricity produced by burning coal and other fossil fuels.

The new study finds the state could spend $350 million a year on energy efficiency programs – compared with $124 million today – but the payoff would be much bigger for electric ratepayers, said Susan Stratton, executive director of the Energy Center, a nonprofit energy research think tank in Madison.

“The comparison shouldn’t be to what we’re spending today but with what we would have to build if we didn’t do efficiency,” she said. “This will help avoid or delay building new power plants, which have high price tags.”

But the higher funding levels for Focus on Energy and other programs could prove too tempting to the Legislature every two years when seeking to balance the state’s budget, said Todd Stuart, executive director of the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, a group representing large energy-intensive manufacturers.

“Large energy consumers are concerned that this could not only add a couple percentage points to their bills in a time of recession, but also because it would be too big of a target for balancing the state budget,” Stuart said. He noted that $100 million in ratepayer funds were diverted from energy efficiency programs earlier in this decade.

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One Response to “Tripling funds for energy efficiency programs urged”

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I am absolutely in favor of any expansion of investments in and development of alternative energy. Check out the interviews with successful business folks involved with alternative energies at http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid92


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