January 15, 2014

Wisconsin May Make More Companies Eligible for Renewable Energy Credit

There appears to be bipartisan support for changing the way Wisconsin allocates renewable energy credits to utilities and companies that produce electric power.

Under current law, renewable energy credits are only available to utilities or companies that produce energy from facilities that went on line after June of 2010. The proposed change would allow companies that produce energy from renewable sources like hydropower or biomass to earn credits even if their facilities were operating before 2010.

The change will largely benefit several paper mills that use both fossil fuel and hydropower as well as wood chips. Keith Reopelle of Clean Wisconsin says giving these mills credits encourages them to make more green energy.

“To the extent that this results keeping some of the mills on line longer, to the extent that it enables them to increase the amount of co-firing they're doing – definitely I think a good policy,” says Reopelle.

However, both Clean Wisconsin and the group Renew Wisconsin are also urging the state to increase the amount of renewable energy it produces, as both Iowa and Minnesota are doing. Don Wichert of Renew Wisconsin says Wisconsin once led the nation in its renewable requirements, but now out of the 29 states that have established a renewable energy standard (RES), Wisconsin is now dead last.

“If Wisconsin is serious about competing with Iowa and Minnesota for new jobs and business opportunities, it needs to put itself back on a growth track for renewables – and a higher RES is the best vehicle for accomplishing that,” says Wichert.

Supporters of the proposed change in renewable credit allocation acknowledge that it produces only a small incentive for new investments in renewable energy production. 

No comments:

Post a Comment