Friday, April 12, 2019

Huge boost in solar energy generation coming to Wisconsin

Sunlight is literally chasing the darkness from Walker-era hostility to renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Simple economics and improvement in renewable energy generation and battery storage technology have finally gotten the attention of both the private sector and Wisconsin's Public Service Commission.
Today at its Open Meeting, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved five interrelated cases that will lead to a five-fold expansion of solar energy in Wisconsin.
The PSC approved:
–        The Badger Hollow Solar Farm project in Iowa County, totaling 300 megawatts. Badger Hollow could become the largest solar electric plant in the Midwest when completed.  In addition, the PSC approved a “tie line” that will deliver Badger Hollow’s output to a nearby substation, where it will be injected into the existing southwest Wisconsin grid.
–        The Two Creeks Solar Project in Manitowoc County, totaling 150 megawatts.  As with Badger Hollow, the PSC also approved a “tie line” that will deliver Two Creeks’ output to a nearby substation.
–        Finally, the PSC approved an application from two Wisconsin utilities, Wisconsin Public Service based in Green Bay and Madison Gas & Electric, to acquire a total of 300 megawatts of this new solar capacity. The utilities will acquire the entire Two Creeks Solar Farm and a 150 MW share of the Badger Hollow Solar Farm.
Here is what a portion of one California solar panel farm looks like.

Far more green power installations are needed, and the PSC has to break through the obstruction of solar generation by We Energies now blocking a City of Milwaukee effort to spread solar arrays on public buildings and supercharge  green energy generation in the city.

Mayor Barrett has pledged expanded green energy initiatives, as has Gov. Evers:
Gov. Tony Evers is proposing to require the state’s utilities be carbon-free by 2050.
The proposal, which would go further than the self-imposed goals of almost all utilities, is part of a budget that would also significantly increase state funding for renewable energy and conservation.
Outgoing Madison Mayor Paul Soglin had also endorsed greater renewable power; green energy production and distribution will be supported and expanded in Madison and Dane County and the courts had signaled that Walker-era rules that hamstrung green energy advancements could not stand. 

And here are two more more drivers expanding renewable energy in Wisconsin, and elsewhere:

* Documented job growth produced in clean power business. 

* Widespread concern about the obvious dangers posed by the continued burning of fossil fuels.

Let's hope this isn't too little, too late.

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