More funds slated for state’s renewable energy program
From a blog post by Tom Content on JSonline:
Wisconsin’s energy efficiency programs would receive increased funding from electricity ratepayers in the next four years under a proposal adopted Thursday by the state Public Service Commission.
The state’s Focus on Energy program has been reallocating its budget to meet the heavy demand for energy-efficiency services from the business community, according to the PSC.
The commission’s action must be endorsed by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.
A study by the Energy Center of Wisconsin, released last year, concluded Wisconsin could triple funding for energy efficiency and achieve $1 billion in savings on energy bills for customers.
Citing the economy, the commission voted to increase funding for efficiency initiatives, but didn’t increase spending as much as advocates had sought.
PSC Chairman Eric Callisto urged the agency to adopt a more gradual ramp-up in funding for energy efficiency given the state of the economy.
“Rates will go up over time if we don’t invest in energy efficiency,” he said. “I’m also cognizant of the economic woes the state is now facing.”
The PSC decision would set a target of reducing the state’s electricity demand by 1.5% beginning in 2014.
Under the proposal, funding for energy-efficiency programs would expand to $120 million in 2011 from $100 million this year, with the goal of expanding incentives aimed at reducing energy bills.
Funding would then increase to $160 million in 2012, $204 million in 2013, and $256 million in 2014, under the PSC proposal.
For the next four years, the minimum funding level for renewables will be $10.8 million in 2011, $14.4 million in 2012, $18.36 million in 2013 and $23.04 million in 2014.