New Wisconsin Energy Act Boosts Efficiency and Renewable Power
March 22, 2006
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed into law on March 17th the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Act, which increases the state's requirement for the use of renewable energy. The new energy legislation, Senate Bill 459, requires 10 percent of the state's electrical supply to come from renewable energy resources by 2015. It replaces an earlier law that required 2.2 percent renewable power by 2011. The act sets tougher standards for state agencies, requiring the six largest state agencies to draw on renewable power for 10 percent of their power needs by the end of next year, and 20 percent of their power needs by 2015. It requires the state to pursue additional funding for the research and development of agricultural digesters, and it also calls for a pilot program to test the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of burning leftover corn plants to heat residences.
In terms of energy efficiency, the act requires Wisconsin utilities to directly support energy efficiency programs, ensuring annual expenditures of $85 million a year to promote energy efficiency. It also increases funding to local governments for energy efficiency projects, requires the state to update building codes to include higher energy efficiency standards, and requires the state to set higher energy standards for state building projects and purchases. See the governor's press release and the full text of Senate Bill 459 (PDF 163 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
Senate Bill 459 reflects many of the recommendations of the governor's bipartisan Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables, which submitted its final report to Governor Doyle in October 2004. Coincidentally, the bill also follows many of the recommendations of the "Clean Energy-Environment Guide to Action," a recent publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that aims to help states implement clean energy. See the governor's task force report (PDF 1.66 MB) and the EPA publication.