Wisconsin PSC: RPS has economic benefits, negligible rate impact

Wisconsin PSC: RPS has economic benefits, negligible rate impact

Establishing renewable energy in Wisconsin has had a negligible short-term rate impact of 1 percent, while creating jobs and generating economic development for the state, according to a recent Public Service Commission report to the governor.

The report, which considered the years 2008-2010, found that in 2010, 7.37 percent of the electricity sold by the state’s utilities and cooperatives was generated from renewable resources eligible for the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), up from 6.29 percent in 2009 and 4.90 percent in 2008.

Utilities around the country are locking in wind contracts to save consumers money over the long term. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is enjoying multiple long-term economic benefits from the investment, the Commission said. Total direct and indirect jobs from wind power alone were in the 1,000-2,000 range as of 2010, while annual property tax payments by wind project owners total $1.2 million.

Wind projects not only generate tax revenue, they provide lease payments to landowners—often farmers, providing stable revenue streams for a profession notorious for its low profit margins and market volatility. In Wisconsin, annual lease payments total almost $1.9 million. The state is also home to manufacturing plants and companies that are part of the wind power manufacturing supply chain.

Commented Commissioner Eric Callisto, “Commission staff analysis confirms that balancing the state's generation portfolio with clean, renewable energy facilities comes at a reasonable cost to consumers.  As was intended by the passage of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, these additions to the fleet provide balance to the fossil fuel units that make up the majority of Wisconsin's generation, act as important risk mitigation tools in a future of increasing air regulation, and provide opportunities for economic development within the four corners of the state.”

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Carl has been a part of the AWEA team since 2006. He brings both his expertise in communications as well as experience with the evolving wind energy industry to the job of overseeing AWEA's online and written publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, WINDPOWER Update, WINDPOWER Today, and various print materials. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans employed as a teacher as well as working with homeless youth.

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