Resources

Bioenergy

 

  • Tennessee State University produced a series of 4 videos that go through the step-by-step production of biodiesel using their mobil demonstration.  They include producing oil from oilseeds, the degumming process, making biodiesel, and separating and cleaning the biodiesel
  • Bioenergy: Biomass to Biofuels, a book published by the University of Vermont,  November 2014, provides an overview and in-depth technical information on solid, liquid and gaseous bioenergy resources, including topics such as microbial fuels and biogas. The book details the trade-offs between various feedstocks, provides evaluation criteria for biofuel project proposals, and features case studies.
  • Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities: A Northern Minnesota Case Study is a paper by Dovetail Partners Inc. (June 2013) of two rural communities, Ely and Grand Marais, examining biomass to meet the 25% renewable energy consumption by 2025 Minnesota target. The study explores using timber harvest residues, sub-merchantable timber, and waste wood to heat homes, businesses, and government buildings, in either stand-alone or district energy systems.
  • The Bioenergy National Facilitation Project provides training programs for Extension educators on issues associated with the bioeconomy including resources, educational training, and assessment materials.
  • The UW-Extension Learning Store’s Farming Energy resources is a collection of over twenty publications centered around energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation options for farmers and greenhouse owners.
  • UW Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resource contains a collection of information on energy conservation and utilization for agricultural enterprises. The site offers publications, spreadsheets, audit tools, and links to other sites and presentations.
  • UW-Extension's Guide to Wood Heating Appliances for Homes and Businesses. This resource provides guidance on how to choose clean burning wood heating equipment that maximize benefits while minimizing health effects to owners and their neighbors.

Tools

  • The Bioeconomy Tool Shed is a USDA resource to aid those in, or interested in, starting a bio-energy business. The Tool Shed is a portal offering users access to a complement of web-based tools and information, statistical data and other resources related to the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into products and fuel, a process often referred to as the bioeconomy.
  • The Bioenergy Training Modular Course Series provides a blueprint for facilitating potentially controversial bioenergy issues. It offers suggestions for Extension Educators focused on the technical feasibility of bioenergy generation and approaches to assist communities in understanding the comprehensive implications of bio-based alternative energy.
  • The fourth module in the Bioenergy & Sustainability Series Course considers a wide range of community interests and concerns related to bioenergy generation and offers suggestions of public participation strategies.
  • The Bioenergy and Renewable Energy Community Assessment Toolkit provides guidelines for community leaders and residents to discuss alternative energy options and community energy planning. It includes a discussion guide, checklist, and an overview of lessons learned from research on community-based energy projects.

Studies/Reports

  • Wisconsin Biogas Survey Report, Released by the Office of Energy Innovation (May 2016), this report  examined the current status of the state’s anaerobic digester industry and identified primary operational challenges, key financial barriers to project development, and opportunities for future industry development.

  • Pellets – A Fast Growing Energy Carrier, a fact sheet by the World BioEnergy Association, October 2014, provides an overview of wood pellets, their properties, economics, and production in large and small-scale technologies. Due to their high-energy content, high-density, and positive CO2 balance, pellet production and use for power generation is growing. They are being used residentially and in power plants to fully or partially replace coal.

  • Biomass Energy Resources Center Publications lists publications on biomass energy systems using wood fuels at the community scale and small commercial level from the Biomass Energy Resource Center, a nonprofit research organization. Includes studies on Fuels for Schools, Wood Chip and Wood Pellet Heating systems and technologies and case studies of community-scale systems.

  • Recycle, Bury, or Burn Wood Waste Biomass?: LCA Answer Depends on Carbon Accounting, Emissions Controls, Displaced Fuels, and Impact Costs
    This study, in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, extends existing life cycle assessment (LCA) literature by assessing seven environmental burdens and an overall monetized environmental score for eight recycle, bury, or burn options to manage clean wood wastes generated at construction and demolition activity 

Climate Change

  • eGRID, EPA’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) is a comprehensive source of data on the environmental characteristics of almost all electric power generated in the United States. The new edition, eGRID2014 contains year 2014 data on emissions rates for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases, electric generation, emissions, resource mix information, and power plant attributes. It can be used to help calculate greenhouse gas registries and inventories, carbon footprints, consumer information disclosure, emission inventories and standards, power market changes, and avoided emission estimates.
  • Wisconsin Local Governments and School Districts in a New Energy Economy: Budgeting for the Clean Power Plan, is a National Law Review article by Von Briesen & Roper focuses on potential impacts of the Clean Power Plan on local government and school district budgets and reviews measures that can be taken to lessen or even neutralize the future increases in energy costs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted the Clean Power Plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which calls for a 32% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2030.  
  • Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.  This report summarizes results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project. It shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.
  • Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change, is a report from the National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines the current state of science of extreme weather attribution, and identifies ways to move the science forward to improve attribution capabilities.  Event attribution can answer questions about how much climate change influenced the probability or intensity of a specific type of weather event.  As event attribution capabilities improve, they could help inform choices about assessing and managing risk and in guiding climate adaptation strategies. 
  • The Threat of Carbon Pollution: Wisconsin, a report by the White House, includes data on the impacts of pollution and extreme weather in Wisconsin, anticipated climate-related risks in the Midwests, and approaches to cut carbon pollution and increase in Wisconsin. This is a part of the President's climate change plan: http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan
  • EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program site is designed for State and local officials interested in more information about developing and implementing cost-effective climate and energy strategies that help further environmental goals and achieve public health and economic benefits.
  • EPA's Climate Impacts & Adaptations in the Midwest is a series of web fact sheets on climate impacts and climate adaptations with links to relevant initiatives in individual states in the Midwest. Included are impacts of climate change on human health, water resources, and argiculture, forests, and other ecosystems.
  • EPA’s Webcast Series on Climate Change Adaptation for State and Local Governments- EPA’s Local Climate and Energy Program and the State Technical Forum jointly held a series of three webcasts on this topic in November and December 2010 and January 2011. All of the presentations, papers, and audio recordings from these webcasts are available on EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program website. The webcasts covered climate impacts and risk communication, adaptation planning and implementation, and federal resources and support for climate change adaptation.
  • Public Health and Climate Communication Resources at Climate AccessFrom allergies and asthmas to heat stroke and vector-borne diseases, the public health impacts of climate change are n increasing concern. The resources in this Climate Access collection provide background information and recommendations for communicating a public health message within a climate context.

  • EPA's Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, provides evidence that certain kinds of land use and transportation strategies – where and how we build our communities – can reduce the environmental and human health impacts of development. Read the press release. Learn about the webinar.

Tools

  • Climate Modeling 101: The National Academy of Sciences has created a website to explain the basics of climate modeling. The six-part primer starts by describing the differences between weather and climate, and then provides an overview of computer models, the process of constructing a climate model, the steps involved in validating climate models, examples of individuals and companies that use climate models, and links to key developers of climate models.
  • EPA Directories of Adaptation Tools and Resources for Public Officials- EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy site has a topic page on impacts and adaptation that includes links to state adaptation plans, guidebooks, programs, and tools. EPA’s Climate Change Site includes a list of adaptation-related tools, guidebooks, clearinghouses, and other resources for public officials. The page includes links to clearinghouses (online directories of adaptation resources), sector-specific tools and resources, region-specific tools and resources, and a series of guidebooks on adaptation-related topics.
  • Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments- This guidebook, published in 2007 by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, presents a detailed, easy-to-understand process for climate change preparedness based on familiar resources and tools. ICLEI’s website also provides links to a number of other free adaptation resources.
  • Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments- In August 2012, the Georgetown Law Center released a toolkit to help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing criteria for selecting among these approaches. It also examines the roles that governments can play in pursuing these changes: shaping their own operations, mandating or providing incentives for private choices, and engaging in public education.
  • The U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, released on October 4, 2012 by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA is a national standard for measuring and reporting the greenhouse gas emissions associated with communities. The tool simplifies and standardizes the technical guidance necessary to complete a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, allowing local governments to gain a clearer understanding of which sources and activities within their communities are most responsible for their greenhouse gas emissions. The Community Protocol incorporates a range of new innovations in greenhouse gas accounting, and is designed to be flexible. Local governments just beginning their climate action work can follow its basic methodology and minimum reporting requirements, while more advanced cities can choose to report a wider set of greenhouse gas activities or conduct a deeper analysis. ICLEI is also scheduling webinars on the new protocol.

Studies/Reports

Controversial Issues

  • The Bird Mortality by Event Histogram was prepared by Mick Sagrillo based on data from Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. in the report “Avian Collisions With Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States,” commissioned by the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC), 2001. It illustrates the major causes of bird mortality with the smallest relative impact from wind turbines. (Full report).
  • Hydrofrac Sand: The Resource and the Issues in Wisconsin, a lecture by Professor Bruce A. Brown of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (November 30, 2011), provides information on Wisconsin’s hydrofrac sand characteristics, resource locations, and potential problems of mining.
  • In Fracking’s Wake: New Rules are Needed to Protect Our Health and Environment from Contaminated Wastewater,” a report published by Natural Resources Defense Council—May 2012, evaluates federal and state laws regulating the wastewater generated with hydraulic fracking and reviews the health and environmental risks posed by the waste stream and current disposal methods.
  • Migratory Bird Mortality,” from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2002, discusses various threats by humans to the migratory bird population including deaths caused by collisions with power lines and buildings, poisoning, and by-catch in fisheries.
  • Planning and Zoning for ‘Frac Sand’ Mining” reports characteristics and processing of frac sand and discusses the regulation of frac sand mining, focusing on comprehensive planning and zoning.

Educator and Youth Resources

  • Spanish-language version of the USDOE Get Current coloring book is part of an ongoing effort to expand educational resources for the growing Spanish-speaking population in the United States.
  • The Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education is intended for formal and informal energy education, standards development, curriculum design, assessment development, and educator trainings. The guide is for anyone involved in energy education and focuses on areas of energy understanding essential for all citizens that will help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions.
  • The Department of Energy and the National Science Teachesr Association's American's Home Energy Education Challenge is a fun way for students in grade 3-8 to learn about energy conservation. The challenge runs during the 2013-2014 school year and registration closes November 15, 2013. Teams of students will win over $60,000 competing in the Home Energy Challenge and Energy Poster Competition.
  • CLEAN Teaching Climate and Energy Science provides a guide for educators built off the original climate and energy literacy frameworks. Educators can find summaries of each principle, possible challenges when teaching the principle, suggested pedagogic approaches for each grade level for grades 6-16, and relevant teaching materials from the CLEAN reviewed collection.
  • Climate Change and Transportation resources for educators.
  • The NRES 730-Energy Education in the Classroom KEEP course can be adapted for 4H face-to-face training; speak with Susan Schuller (susan.schuller@uwsp.edu).
  • KEEP, The Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program, provides resources geared to educators to increase their own knowledge about energy and to provide resources for students.
  • KEEP Energy Resources, fact sheets and activities that can be downloaded on energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.
  • NRES 733 Energy Education: Concepts and Practices Course overview includes resources and activities and basic energy facts – free.
  • Renewable Energy Education Online Course NRES 735 (content is free; credit optioin is available through the Unviersity of Wisconsin-Stevens Point).

Energy Efficiency

Tools

  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) white paper series is a"how-to" guide for states as they embark upon the path to meeting Clean Power Plan emission reduction targets. Even with the Supreme Court stay, energy efficiency is a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable, and a strategy for reducing pollution.  The first guide: http://aceee.org/white-paper/ee-cpp-steps.  The second guide: http://aceee.org/white-paper/lbe-best-practices
  • Compare dynamic energy efficiency policies for new buildings-This interactive tool by the Global Building Performance Network (GBPN) shows how 25 of the “world’s best” energy codes (loosely defined) compare across 12 metrics, including their holistic approach to addressing all energy loads in a building, the technical revision process, the establishment of future EE targets, enforcement standards, and integration with other related policy packages. The tool is designed to enable identifying the combination of elements to move the building stock in a particular region towards zero energy.
  • The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standard is a global rating system for greener computers and other imaging equipment.  The EPEAT system combines strict, comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use and recycling with ongoing independent verification of manufacturer claims. EPEAT can be specified as a requirement in purchasing proposals. Model contract language is provided on the website for PCs/displays, imaging equipment and televisions. Anyone can look up products and see the level of certification different brands and models have achieved.
  • U.S. EPA's guide for local governments, Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs.
  • EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager allows users to track and assess energy and water consumption across a portfolio of buildings by entering energy consumption and cost data into a Portfolio Manager account. Users can benchmark building energy performance, assess energy management goals, and identify strategic opportunities for energy savings.
  • Municipal Energy Planning: An Energy Efficiency Workbook provides a step-by-step guide for developing an energy efficiency (or energy conservation) plan for municipal governments. It was prepared by University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension faculty serving on the statewide Energy Conservation and Sustainability Teams to address an educational need of elected officials and municipal staff to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and operations.
  • EPA’s Smart Growth Program has released its Smart Location Database version 2.0. The database is a consistent nationwide GIS data resource for measuring location efficiency. The Smart Location Database may be appropriate for use in local and regional planning studies when local data is unavailable. The database includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale. Users can download data for their selected region, view data online in an interactive map, or access data through a variety of web services.
  • The 10 Tactics of Successful Energy Managers, eBook by EnergyCAP, Inc. 2015 shows how the value of energy information is on the rise, how energy performance mandates, both public and private, are proliferating, and how energy management tools are becoming more powerful and complex.  This concise eBook provides useful information in a clear, simple, stepwise format to assist energy managers in effectively and efficiently tracking and managing their organization's energy use and communicating energy savings and performance internally and externally.
  • How-to Guide to Help States Cut Their Emissions with Energy Efficiency - This white paper series by The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) is a guide for states as they embark upon the path to meeting Clean Power Plan emission reduction targets.  Even with the Supreme Court stay, energy efficiency is a tool for creating jobs and keeping electricity affordable, and a strategy for reducing pollution.  
    The first guide: http://aceee.org/white-paper/ee-cpp-steps
    The second guide: http://aceee.org/white-paper/lbe-best-practices

Studies/Reports

  • Bulding Commissioning A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Ph.D. Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory. 2009
     
  • The Greatest Energy Story You Haven't Heard: How Investing in Energy Efficiency Changed the US Power Sector and Gave Us a Tool to Tackle Climate Change
    This 2016 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) quantitatively discusses the importance of energy efficiency in the US power sector
     
  • The 2011 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), is a comprehensive ranking of the states based on leadership in energy efficiency policy, energy program implementation, and best practices to advance energy efficiency in residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors.
  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report that ranks 34 of the most populous U.S. cities on policies to advance energy efficiency. The report includes recommendations and strategies for all cities to lower energy use. ACEEE also launched a new interactive infographic accompanying the report that highlights each city's best practices and scores. The report ranks cities exclusively on energy efficiency efforts. Cities are evaluated on what actions they are taking to reduce energy use in five key areas: buildings; transportation; energy and water utility efforts; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives. 

  • The 2015 State Energy Scorecard issued by ACEEE shows Wisconsin ranked 22nd in energy efficiency. With a score of 18 out of 50, criteria included items like financial incentives, public building requirements, fleets, performance contracting, and research and development.  Massachusetts ranked first scoring 44, followed by California scoring 43.5.  Illinois and Minnesota both ranked 10th.  Iowa ranked 12th and Michigan 14th.  Wisconsin's rank fell from 17th in 2014.

  • 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook by Bloomber New Energy Finance (BNEF) provides up-to-date, market information about the broad range of industries- energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas- that are contributing to the country's move towards cleaner energy production and more efficient energy usage.

  • Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) Beyond the Tip of the Energy Iceberg: Why Retrofits Create More Value Than You Think is an article that discusses the value beyond energy cost savings (VBECs) of deep energy efficient retrofits, including saved energy costs, health and productivity benefits, reputation and leadership, and risk reduction. RMI developed a retrofit value model for assessing VBECs and shows how value knowledge will expand energy investment.

  • Bright Future Seen for LED Streetlights describes several factors to ask about in purchasing LED streetlights to ensure maximum performance and ultimate payback (PDF available in Resources, “Other” Sharepoint folder).
  • Clean Energy Champions shows the importance of State Programs and Policies.  States have pursued many paths to the robust clean energy expansion underway today.  The report provides a comprehensive review of all the significant ways in which states have advanced clean energy in the last 15 years with 31 case studies.  The study finds four lessons for state effectiveness in advancing clean energy: innovation, consumer protection, distributed generation policies, and broad-based nonpartisan or bi-partisan involvement by both parties.

  • ENERGY STAR's Most Efficient 2013 List recognizes the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.
  • Keeping it in the Community: Sustainable Funding for Local Energy Initiatives a report by ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy), outlines local funding options for community energy efficiency projects including utility partnerships, energy or carbon taxes, systems benefit funds, bonds, and revolving loan funds. Case studies of city programs using each funding strategy are presented.
  •  Leaders in Efficiency: Energy Star Buildings in Wisconsin by Cool Choices details the growth of Wisconsin's ENERGY STAR certified buildings between 2000 and 2013, which have  increased from 43 commercial buildings in 2000 to 582 as of last year.
  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published New Horizons for Energy Efficiency, a report that found that 22% of the total projected electricity use, in the year 2030, could be saved by the use of certain energy efficient practices. 

  • Public Procurement of Energy Efficient Products: Lessons from Around the World, is a webinar from the Responsible Purchasing Network. Representatives of the World Bank, U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program and the District of Columbia’s procurement office discussed key elements of a successful program for procuring energy-efficient products, including product testing and labeling systems, policy drivers, educational strategies, and incentives to bring about behavior change, tracking and reporting systems, and more.
  • The U.S. Army partnered with NREL to assess opportunities to increase energy security through improved energy efficiency and optimized renew­able energy strategies at nine of its installations. The Army tasked NREL to help develop roadmaps and recommend energy projects to meet the Army's Net Zero goals. This report provides summary information, sample projects, and examples.

  • A white paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Saving Water and Energy through Clothes Washer Replacement in the Great Lakes Region, profiles various opportunities for energy and water savings in the residential and commercial sectors.
  • TopTen USA identifies the most energy efficient consumer products from laptops and waterheaters to LED lights, cars, and trucks. They used data and analysis from independent and government sources and report the basis for each listing.
  • Working Trees for Energy, a brochure by the National Agroforestry Center,explains how trees and shrubs can provide an energy source, reduce energy demand, and sequester carbon for farms, homes, and communities.
  • Energy Efficiency in Separate Tenant Spaces- A Feasibility Study
    by the US Department of Energy finds significant potential to improve energy efficiency during the design and construction of tenant spaces and describes several possible steps to encourage owners and tenants to improve the efficiency of those spaces.

Energy Organizations

  • Wisconsin State Energy Office (SEO) focuses on the implementation of energy independence initiatives, developing energy independence policy options, and identifying funding opportunities to make clean energy more affordable. In 2015 the SEO launched the Municipal Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Program (MEETAP) to assist municipalities and schools with the implementation of successful energy projects.
  • The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. MREA education ranges from the technical–trainings and certifications for solar and wind installation, to the broad via its annual Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair for the public.
  • RENEW Wisconsin (RENEW), an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, advances state renewable energy policies through advocacy, education, and collaborative initiatives.
  • Windustry, a non-profit partnered with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), provides information and tools for evaluating easement contracts, landowner options, and economic impacts of wind energy to rural landowners, elected officials, utility representatives, and community planners.
  • Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI) seeks to create, evaluate, commercialize and promote bioenergy solutions through research, education and outreach. WBI educates bioenergy industry leaders and provides access to research and technologies that contribute to the economic viability of bioenergy.
  • Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) works with utilities, municipalities, regulators, government agencies, and consumer groups. Services include consulting for the design and implementation of energy programs, efficiency improvement loans, renewable energy educational tools, and building performance training.
  • Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) assesses climate change impacts on natural resources, ecosystems and regions and evaluates potential effects on industry, agriculture, and tourism. WICCI develops strategies that can be implemented by businesses, farmers, public health officials, municipalities, resource managers and other stakeholders.
  • Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), through the Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI), works with state manufacturers to identify and implement projects targeting energy and environmental improvements including energy upgrade audits. PSI Services involve three phases—diagnostic, assessment, and implementation—focused on realizing the highest ROI that can be achieved through profitable sustainability solutions.
  • Seventhwave (formerly Energy Center of Wisconsin) delivers trusted expertise for bold energy leadership. Seventhwave's goal is to advance powerful strategies for real energy impacts through engineering, education and research.

Energy Policies

  • Standards and Requirements for Solar Equipment, Installation, and Licensing and Certification:
    The Clean Energy States Alliance has produced a guide on standards and requirements for solar equipment, installation, and licensing and certification. The guide is designed for state and municipal officials who are developing or revising solar standards and requirements. 
  • WI Electric Rate Restructuring Webinar: What are the Costs?, October 2014, discusses the proposed electric rate structure changes, the issues underlying them, possible alternative approaches, and their potential impacts on energy efficiency, renewable energy and your bottom line. Several Wisconsin electric utilities propose fundamental changes in their pricing to prepare for what they see as an increasingly competitive marketplace, one in which more customers will generate at least some of their own power from renewable sources like solar and biogas. These changes would noticeably increase bills for customers who use less than average amounts of power and substantially lower bills for high users. The pricing changes would make renewable resources less attractive financially and would significantly reduce the incentive for customers to use energy more efficiently. Also, some utilities are proposing rule changes that would further restrict the ability of customers to install renewable energy generation. The utilities argue that their proposed changes would not only allow them to recover their system costs with greater certainty, but would also more fairly allocate those costs among their customers. Learn from a distinguished panel of experts on both sides of the debate: 
  • Steve Kihm, Principal and Chief Economist, Energy Center of Wisconsin
    Bert Garvin, Senior Vice President External Affairs, Wisconsin Energy Corp
    Ashley Brown, Executive Director, Harvard Electricity Policy Group
    Chuck McGinnis, Sr. Director-North America State Government & Higher Education Building Efficiency,
    Johnson Controls Inc.
    Brad Klein, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center 
    Tyler Huebner, Executive Director, RENEW Wisconsin
  • Distributed Generation in Wisconsin: Wisconsin Administrative Code - Chapter PSC 119: Rules for Interconnecting Distributed Generation Facilities; Wisconsin Public Service Commission Chapter PSC 119 Website
  • Wind Siting in Wisconsin: Wisconsin Administrative Code - Chapter PSC 128: Wind Energy Systems; Wisconsin Public Service Commission Chapter PSC 128 Website
  • Proposed Legislation:
    Wisconsin Renewable Energy Act 
    Summary: The goals of the Renewable Energy Act are: cheaper energy; energy freedom; and job creation/economic development. One of the main features of the legislation is to increase the state’s Renewable Electricity Standard from 10% by 2015 currently to 20% by 2020, and 30% by 2030.
    Assembly Bill 34
    Summary: Allows the use of nuclear energy to comply with renewable portfolio standards.
    Senate Bill 47
    Summary: The bill would freeze renewable energy standards at 2010 levels for Wisconsin

Studies/Reports

  • The Solar Power Purchase Agreement Toolkit, released by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) March 2015, is designed to help overcome the common challenges and costs associated with solar power purchase agreements (PPAs). The Toolkit is intended to provide the information local governments need to accomplish their solar procurement goals. It contains a variety of resources including: general guidance on Request for Proposal (RFP), previously published reports, fact sheets, model PPAs, prior webinars, example RFPs and executed PPAs.
  • A Handbook for States: Incorporating Renewable Energy Into State Compliance Plans for EPA’s Clean Power Plan, published by the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, February 2015, details how states can incorporate renewable energy into their plans to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Renewable energy can provide large emissions reductions in a cost-effective manner when part of a balanced energy portfolio and provide positive economic returns to a state. This handbook contains detailed information on the impacts of renewable energy policies and programs, calculating carbon reductions from renewable energy, and drafting compliance plans incorporating renewable energy.
  • Net Metering in Missouri, released by the Missouri Energy Initiative, Winter 2014, details net metering’s potential impact on energy affordability and reliability for stakeholders. Net metering is a billing mechanism that allows solar energy system owners to earn credits for the electricity they add to the grid. Findings: net metering contains ongoing benefits while the main costs to ratepayers are either one-time administrative fees or transfer fees from cross-subsidization effects.
  • Nevada Net Energy Metering Impacts Evaluation is a study prepared for the State of Nevada Public Utilities Commission, July 2014, on the value of distributed solar to the state's utilities. Findings for 2014 and 2015 are that, under the current rate structure, rooftop solar reduces costs for all. It is a net benefit to the utility companies and to all Nevada ratepayers - even customers without solar.
  • Evaluation of Net Metering in Vermont, conducted by the Vermont Public Service Department as per 2012 Act 125, January 2013, analyzes the cross-subsidization effects of net metering on Vermont’s ratepayers. Cross-subsidization exists when customers using net metering systems do not pay for utility fixed cost and those costs are shifted onto other retail electricity customers. The report found that net-metered systems do not impose a significant net cost to ratepayers who are not net metering participants.
  • The Potential Impact of Solar PV on Electricity Markets in Texas, conducted by the Brattle Group, June 2012, evaluates the potential effects of adding solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in the Texas wholesale energy market. Using a hypothetical situation, the study found that total electricity production costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy prices for electric customers were reduced. During summer months, when energy prices are highest, the short-term benefits of increased solar PV production approach or exceed the likely cost of incremental solar PV generation.

  • Solar Power Generation in the US: Too Expensive or a Bargain?, released in 2011, is a report that identifies the combined value that solar electric power plants deliver to utility ratepayers and society’s taxpayers. Using New York as a case study, the report found that, overall, solar electric installations deliver between 15 to 40 cents per kWh to ratepayers and taxpayers. The report identified benefits from solar electric power plants, which include environmental, fuel price mitigation, outage risk protection, and long-term economic growth components.  

  • Deploying Distributed Energy Storage: Near-Term Regulatory Considerations to Maximize Benefits, released by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), February 2015, identifies near-term regulatory policy considerations to help regulators and to facilitate growth in distributed energy storage. The report reviews current state policies and examines: updating interconnection standards, clarifying eligibility rules for Net Energy Metering programs, creating markets for ancillary services and demand response, designing rate structures that send economic signals to energy storage customers, and implementing a broader scope for distribution system planning and management.
  • USDOE Guide to Successful Implementation of State Combined Heat and Power Policies, released March 2013, informs state utility regulators and other state policymakers with actionable information to assist them in implementing key state policies that impact combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Third-Party Distributed Generation: Issues and Challenges for Policymakers, released March 2014 by the Energy Center of Wisconsin, is a report that addresses the impact that third-party distributed generation has on utilities and the associated rate design implications. With solar PV system installations increasing and third-party distributed generation contributing to the trend, utilities have acted to reduce the short-term financial impact by requesting approval of increased monthly fixed fees for customers. This report focuses on the market trends in distributed generation, policy actions of different states, and details the current utility cost 
  • Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for Electric Utilities?, a May 2014 article in Energy Law Journal, examines the disruptive competition facing electric utilities from significant increases in on-site solar generation, as well as new public policies and business practices. Graffy and Kihm detail evidence driving adaptation, identify the special vulnerabilities of utilities as regulated monopolies, and consider how utilities might effectively adapt to emerging conditions.
  • America’s Power Plan: A Toolkit for Decision Makers, 2013, a collaboration of more than 100 of the nation’s top energy experts, is a resource designed to help policymakers at the state and local levels address the challenges of improving energy regulatory policies as renewable energy use continues to rise. The report details recommendations for improving policies in seven key areas: power markets, utility business models, finance poly, distributed energy resources, distributed generation policy, transmission policy, and siting of new power infrastructure. 

Funding and Economic Development

 

  • Energy-Water Nexus Industry Roadmap Report: The Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and The Water Council (TWC) collaborated to publish this report on the roadmap for the Energy-Water Nexus (EWN) industry. It is projected that the EWN market will grow dramatically from the current $240 billion to nearly $500 billion by 2025. The EWN roadmapping report significantly expands the baseline EWN opportunity set to include many large water and energy embedded consuming applications in agriculture, industry, buildings and residences outside of the traditional water and energy cycles. The report also defines and classifies six market segments and numerous products that make up the industry, focusing on the most potentially impactful EWN applications. Market projections, by market segment, from both top-down and bottom-up projections are contained in the report.    

  • 2017 US Energy and Employment Report, is the second annual employment analysis by the US Department of Energy. The 2017 report finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country.    
  • Bringing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Low-Income Communities:
    EPA offers informational resources to help state and local energy, environmental, housing, and social services agencies, non-profits, and utilities understand successful models that they can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by bringing energy efficiency and renewable energy to low-income communities.                                                                                                      
  • Empowered: A Tale of Three Cities Taking Charge of Their Energy Future is a short book by Midwest Energy News and author Bentham Paulos, 2015, which examines the current clash between regulated utilities and cities and their citizens over clean energy sources, energy pricing and market choice in Boulder, CO, MN, Minessota and Madison, WI
  • Spatial Patterns of Solar PV System Adoption, released by the Journal of Economic Geography, October 2014, is an article that studies the main drivers influencing the spread of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system adoption.  The analysis may be useful to marketers and policymakers interested in promoting PV systems.
  • The National Solar Jobs Census 2013, by the Solar Foundation, is an annual report of the current employment and projected growth in the United States solar industry. Since 2010, solar jobs have increased over 50 percent to 143,000 workers - more than the US auto industry and almost 50,000 jobs more than the coal mining industry. With continued growth in installed solar power capacity, solar employment is expected to continue to grow. The report includes factors likely to impact the solar industry over the upcoming year, as well as information on research and development, production, sale, installation, and use of all solar technologies.

  • Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies, 11/17/2013. This US Department of Energy report focuses on four technology revolutions that are here today: onshore wind power, polysilicon photovoltaic modules, LED lighting, and electric vehicles. Since 2008 they have achieved dramatic reductions in cost accompanied by a surge in consumer, industrial and commercial deployment. This analysis explains both the magnitude of and mechanisms behind these nascent revolutions. Each of the sectors examined has also become a major opportunity for America’s clean energy economy.

  • U.S. DOE's Wisconsin State Summary Report on the Office of Energy Efficiencies and Renewable Energy (EERE)'s investments in Wisconsin highlights an extensive range of public and private energy projects.
  • DSIRE - Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency by the US Department of Energy provides state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Farm Energy - sponsored by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), provides information on the Federal Farm Bill, including summaries of new energy programs, REAP application assistance, and energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
  • Finding and Obtaining Energy & Energy Efficiency Grants for Cities - The webinar was captured by the Sustainable Cities Exchange. Topics include the types of energy efficiency or renewable energy projects that are eligible for a grant, how cities can learn about where to obtain a grant, what the requirements are for a city to receive a grant, tips for writing your own grant, and a description of the most effective renewable energy and energy efficiency grant programs in several states.
  • Focus on Energy - Wisconsin’s statewide Public Benefits Program, works with residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. FOE provides information, resources, and financial incentives to implement energy projects.
  • Got Moola - a resource compiled for small agricultural businesses, provides links to banks, technical assistance, funding opportunities and many programs and organizations to help grow their businesses. Assembled and updated by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Division of Agri-Business.
  • Industry Cluster Profile-Energy; Fond du Lac County Wisconsin - describes the Energy industry cluster, which encompasses 183 establishments and employs 3,070 people in direct cluster jobs in Fond du Lac County. Wages in this industry cluster are well above average at $59,124 for total earnings of $184.5 million.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) - a local government initiative in which private capital funding allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for residential and commercial buildings. With PACE financing, interested owners repay the cost of energy improvements through an assessment on their property taxes for up to 20 years.
    • Municipal Financing of Efficiency Improvements to Private Premises- a Wisconsin law, 2011 Act 138, passed in April 2012, made changes to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to leverage private sector investment. Under previous law, a city, village, or town could make a loan to, or enter into a loan repayment agreement with, an owner or lessee of premises for making or installing renewable energy improvements.  The change in the law allows private lenders to be the bank for PACE projects, instead of requiring municipalities to provide the financing, and would allow those private lenders to collect the payments.
    • San Francisco’s Innovative Commercial PACE Program: The webinar was captured by the Sustainable Cities Exchange. It highlights the City and County of San Francisco’s development and launch of an “open market” commercial Properly Assessed Clean Energy financing (PACE) Program that enables private investment from multiple capital sources.
    • Case Study: Three Successful PACE Models Collaborate to Provide Best Practices for an Emerging PACE Program-Applied Solutions hosted this collaborative webinar to leverage the expertise of local government staff to support the design, development and implementation of energy, water and transportation public projects. Properly Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Programs from California, Maine and Florida were highlighted.
  • The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) - offers cost-share grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency improvement or renewable energy development projects.
  • Wisconsin Grant Programs - compiled by the State Energy Office, provides a listing of renewable energy related funding opportunities offered by government entities, utilities, companies, and organizations in Wisconsin with links to each program.
  • Keeping it in the Community: Sustainable Funding for Local Energy Initiatives” a report by ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy), outlines local funding options for community energy efficiency projects including utility partnerships, energy or carbon taxes, systems benefit funds, bonds, and revolving loan funds. Case studies of city programs using each funding strategy are presented.
  • The Institute for Local Self Reliance released a study of 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy, which shows local government officials how to boost their local economies with clean energy policies that address key economic and environmental problems.  A case study is provided for each policy.
  • The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) has created a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) factsheet, which describes what a PPA is, how they benefit consumers, and key points interested consumers should consider before entering into a PPA.
  • RENEW Wisconsin has created a Clean Energy Choice factsheet describing how a power purchase agreement (PPA) mechanism in Wisconsin could unlock the benefits of renewable energy generation for consumers, businesses, schools, local governments, and non-profit organizations.
  • The National Renewable Energy Labratory (NREL) released a study, titled Solar PV Project Financing: Regulatory and Legislative Challenges for Third-Party PPA System Owners, which details five challenges that Third-Party PPA system owners are facing: (1) definition of electric utility as seller of electricity; (2) power generation equipment included in definition of electric utility; (3) defintion of provider of electric services; (4) municpal utilities and rural cooperatives concerns over opting into deregulation of electricity generation, and; (5) determining whether third-party owned systems may net meter.
  • The Solarize Guidebook: A community guide to collective purchasing of residential PV systems
    by NREL and the City of Portland, is intended to be a roadmap for project planners and solar advocates who want to create their own successful Solarize campaigns. It describes the key elements of the Solarize Portland campaigns and variations from projects across the country, along with lessons learned and planning templates. The guidebook is funded by the DOE SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

LEED/Green Building

Tools

  • A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development is a hands-on introduction developed for local environmental groups, smart growth organizations, neighborhood residents and those interested in making their communities greener.
  • Energy Savings Plus Health: Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for Multifamily Building Upgrades, is an EPA publication to help ensure that energy upgrades to multifamily buildings don't come at the expense of healthy indoor air.  Organized around a set of 24 priority issues addressing key pollutants, sources and building systems, the guidelines outline specific assessment protocols for 16 different types of energy or other building upgrades.  EPA also developed a "Checklist Generator" tool that lets a user zero in on just the guidelines relevant to the project being undertaken, including a verification checklist to help track progress of recommended actions.
  • Energy Savings Plus Health:  Indoor Quality Guidelines for School Buildings Upgrades, created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2015 to help school officials protect and improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools during building upgrades.​
  • Green Buildings for Cool Cities: A Guide for Advancing Local Green Building Policies by the US Green Building Council and Sierra Club, provides cost effective steps and avenues local governments can take to reduce energy use and green gas emissions of buildings. Buildings are important to target given that they use 70 percent of US electricity and are responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. This guide includes examples of municipalities engaged in each of the programs highlighted. First published January 2011, Green Buildings for Cool Cities will be updated in 2016.
  • Sustainable Design and Green Building Toolkit for Local Governments by US EPA, this 2010 resources guides local officials through assessing their codes and ordinances in relation to green building. This can help officials remove any barriers to sustainable design.
  • Roadmap to Green Government Buildings, from the US Green Building Council, is a guide for government professionals implementing green building programs and initiatives. It highlights key issues and references resources created by government green building experts.
  • Wisconsin LEED Certified Buildings, is a searchable database of LEED certified commercial projects in the state, compiled by UW-Extension.  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system of the US Green Building Council.  As of February 2016, Wisconsin has more than 600 LEED certified and registered projects with most of the buildings in the Quad counties that include Milwaukee, followed by the southern then eastern districts (includes Green Bay and Fox Valley).  LEED Gold certification is earned by 109 buildings with 23 at the platinum level.  The data base can be searched by building type certification category, firms, municipality, and county.

Studies/Reports

  • The Cost of LEED v4 by BuildingGreen answers questions by owners and design teams about the affordability of LEED certification and the costs associated with each sustainable design strategy on a LEED for a new construction project.  It details which credits are likely to produce cost savings, cost synergies for bundling credits, and other strategic information.
  • Green Building Economic Impact Study prepared for the US Green Building Council September 2015 quantifies the economic impact of green construction and of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building on the national and state economies. Findings include that green construction will directly be responsible for 1.1 million jobs and contribute $29.8 billion to the GDP by 2018, with LEED responsible for 386,000 jobs. See infographic for report summary.
  • Wisconsin LEED Certified Buildings, maintained by UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, is a GIS searchable database of the more than 200 LEED certified projects in Wisconsin and the firms that designed and built them.
  • Zero Net Energy Policies and Projects, maintained by UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, is a database of the policies, projects, and research in the U.S. and beyond that are moving zero net energy into goals and the marketplace.

Other Useful Sites

  • The Capacity Center, a web resource of UW-Extension’s Sustainability Team, provides resources for local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals interested in sustainable community development. Resources focus on economic development, planning and land use, energy and climate change, agriculture and natural resources, consumer choices, and community stories.
  • NABCEP Certified Professionals Locator Map
    The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is an esteemed certification in the solar industry. The NABCEP locator map lists NABCEP certified solar professionals throughout North America with a search engine by state and certification category. Wisconsin has 41 NABCEP professionals: PV Installer (35), PV Technical Sales (4), Solar Heating Installer (2). 
  • eXtension Energy Communities of Practice are resource areas used to organize expertise of professional educators on a specific subject matter. The resource areas also feature answers from experts to user-submitted questions. UW-Extension offers Communities of Practice in farm, home, and wood energy:
    • Farm Energy provides expertise on topics such as anaerobic digestion, biofuel, biomass and energy efficiency and renewable energy for rural applications.
    • Home Energy features information on energy efficiency for both existing and new homes and on renewable energy systems.
    • Wood Energy presents information on wood as renewable energy with wood sources, technologies, benefits, concerns, policies and incentives and provides case studies and success stories of wood energy applications.
  • The UW-Extension Environmental Resources Center  provides education, information and technical assistance to promote sustainable use of natural resources in program areas such as energy and climate, green building, access to plentiful, sustainably managed sources of food, water and energy. 
  • Firesouls on Chequamegon Bay,” a Cooperative Extension video, traces the development of a regional community sustainability movement in the Chequamegon Bay area. The region boasts 5 Eco-municipalities, the successful Alliance for Sustainability and a wide variety of green initiatives including Energy Independent Community. The story highlights how UW Extension educators have been engaged in the initiative, as encouragement for others trying to implement sustainable community initiatives in their hometowns.
  • Star Community Rating System Planning Guide provides guidance on how to use STAR to integrate sustainability into comprehensive, strategic, and sustainability plans. 
  • Sustainable Marshfield,” a Cooperative Extension video, is a narrative of Marshfield's journey toward sustainability. This city of 20,000 in Central Wisconsin is taking action to improve quality of life, work toward energy independence and make the city a place that embraces the future.
  • Wisconsin Land Use Megatrends: Energy gives an overview of energy production and consumption trends in Wisconsin over the past 30+ years and discusses the potential and land use impacts of different future energy scenarios.

Renewable Energy

 

  • The Customers First Coalition (CFC) issue paper, Community Solar in Wisconsin: Responding to Power Customers, highlights the growth of utility-scale community solar offerings from energy providers in Wisconsin. Community solar, also known as shared solar and solar gardens, are solar powered energy plants that pool resources from multiple members of a community to provide power and/or financial benefits in return.
  • DSIRE - Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency by the US Department of Energy provides state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Energy & Environment Consumer Survey, conducted by the Cleantech Market Intelligence firm, found that, of over 1,000 U.S. adults, 79% have a favorable view of solar energy, and 75% have a favorable view of wind energy – in terms of overall support, these were the top two highest ranked areas in a survey that asked consumers about their views on 12 energy and environmental concepts.
  • SunEdison produced the Future of Solar Energy short 5 minute Youtube video, January 2015, that highlights solar power as a transformational technology globally. It documents the increasingly rapid uptake of solar photovoltaic systems due to lower, competitive cost of solar panels, more efficient technologies, and the practicality of distributed decentralized energy generation.
  • Green Power on the Utility Grid gives an overview of renewable energy sources for electric power generation and of policies for renewable electricity in Midwestern states.
  • Green Power in Wisconsin is a factsheet on the programs and policies for generating electricity with renewable energy sources in Wisconsin.
  • Project Profiles, compiled by RENEW Wisconsin, provides descriptions of renewable energy projects across the state, with links to resources for each project. The listing includes solar, wind and biogas projects.
  • Wisconsin Renewables Review of 2011 gives an overview of the progress and setbacks in 2011 to renewable energy policies and projects focused on wind energy, geothermal heat pumps, and solar energy.

Tools

  • Solar Finance Simulator is an online tool that municipalities, universities, hospitals, and businesses can use to forecast the long-term impacts of 4 types of financial investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Plugging in their own values, users can simulate and compare financial projections for direct ownership, power purchase agreement (PPA), debt financing, and operating lease. Please direct any questions about the simulator tool to info@midwestrenew.org.

  • California Solar Center's Guide to Solar Power Purchase Agreements explains PPAs for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations. It also provides examples of projects that have been completed using a PPA.

  • The Energy Aware Planning Guide, developed by the California Energy Commission, presents a menu of strategies and best management practices to help local governments improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption through transportation and land use and enhance renewable sources of energy. Each strategy section contains general plan language ideas; implementation ideas; case studies; and resources. It also contains supporting information and references to help local governments organize strategies into an Energy Action Plan and estimate the likely energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction impacts of their strategies.

  • Energy Self Assessment, created by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), aids farmers and others in identifying ways to reduce energy consumption or produce renewable energy for various agricultural enterprises. It provides information on equipment and methods that can reduce energy usage as well as the cost savings associated with installing equipment.
  • A climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, EPAs Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs provides information about energy sources that generate no greenhouse gas emissions.    This guide is part of EPA's Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.
  • Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals Project, a collaboration between the US DOE and NREL, provides tools and resources to support the development of an effective and highly skilled workforce in the residential energy upgrade industry. The project defines quality work through a standard work specifications tool, creates accredited training programs and advances professional certification for workers.

  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has launched the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST), a voluntary, web-based self-evaluation tool enabling state, regional, and local transportation agencies to evaluate the sustainability of their transportation plans, projects, and programs. The tool includes three score cards: systems planning, project development, and operations and maintenance.
  • The PVWatts Calculator, a new version released by the NREL in September 2014, is a web application that estimates the electricity production of a grid-connected roof or ground-mounted photovoltaic system based on the system’s location, basic design parameters, and system economics. PVWatts calculates estimated values for the system’s annual and monthly electricity production, and for the monetary value of the electricity. The new version more accurately reflects PV performance outputs predicting a 7-9% greater energy output compared to the previous software.  

  • NREL's Renewable Energy Optimization (REopt) early screening tool identifies and prioritizes renewable energy projects at a single site or across a portfolio of sites in multiple cities, states, or countries. Once the REopt analysis is complete, the tool provides a ranked list of renewable energy projects for different potential scenarios and identifies the technology sizes that meet the defined goals at minimum cost, along with the optimal deployment strategies. For more information about REopt, read the fact sheet.

  • The Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Shared Renewable Energy For Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions report provides information and tools for policymakers, regulators, utilities, shared renewable energy  developers, program administrators, and others to support the adoption and implementation of shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to low- and moderate-income individuals and households.

  • Solarize Guidebook: A Community Guide to Collective Purchasing of Residential PV Systems, released May 2012 by the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is a resource for project planners and solar advocates who want to power their neighborhoods with solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity. This solar PV volume-purchasing program is designed to lead customers through a process that highlights awareness, education, enrollment, site assessment, decision, and installation. With the guidance of solar professionals, a committee of neighborhood volunteers preselects contractors and puts out information to the community about the limited time offer along with education/information sessions to simplify and demystify the purchase process. Bulk purchasing and installation helps reduce the costs. The guidebook includes case studies, considerations, and a sample timeline to help implement the campaign.

  • Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government” provides ideas and descriptions of specific actions that a local government can take to transform itself into a model of sustainable practices. These are practices that can result in cost savings and increased employment, as well as enhance environmental quality and community well-being. The message of this toolkit is simple: local governments can lead by example.
  • Clean Edge's 2016 US Clean Tech Leadership Index tracks and ranks the clean-tech activities of all 50 states and the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. – from EV (electric vehicles) and renewables adoption to policy, green building and investment activity. The Index is a tool for regional comparative research, a source for aggregated industry data, and a jumping-off point for deep, data-driven analysis of the U.S. clean-tech market. 
  • "Energy Strategy for the C-Suite: From Cost Center to Competitive Advantage, An Introduction to the Unified Approach to Energy Transformation", a brief by EnerNOC, PwC, and Winston Eco-Strategies provides the value proposition for businesses to manage energy strategically and a roadmap for building an energy strategy that will take business performance to a new level. 

Studies/Reports

  • Trends in Photovoltaic Applications, 2016
    This report by the International Energy Agency is prepared to assist those responsible for developing the strategies of businesses and public authorities, and to aid the development of medium term plans for electricity utilities and other providers of energy services. It provides guidance to government officials responsible for setting energy policy and preparing national energy plans and, an overview of PV power systems applications, markets and production in the reporting countries and elsewhere at the end of 2015.
  • Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report is a comprehensive assessment of advanced energy markets by revenue worldwide and in the US, the Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report found that the advanced energy revenue grew by 8% in 2014 globally or more than 3 times the rate of the global economy.  It is a $200 billion market in the US.  The report was prepared by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy business Leaders.
  • The EPA’s Combined Heat and Power guide was also recently released by their Local Government and Climate and Energy Strategy Series.  This guide describes how local governments can utilize combined heat and power to achieve more efficient uses of existing, local energy sources and provides an overview of the benefits, costs, sources of funding, and case studies.
  • Going Solar in America: Ranking of Solar's Value to Consumers in America's Largest Citiesa report by NC Clean Energy Technology Center with funding from US DOE’s Sunshot grant, January 2015, analyzes energy in America’s 50 largest cities showing that solar can generate both significant monthly savings and long-term investment value. In 42 of 50 cities, solar costs less for average homeowners than energy from some of America’s largest electric utilities.
  • 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows that "the U.S. economy has now grown by 10% since 2007, while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%."
  • Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies Behind a Booming Energy Sector, by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2014, details the major drivers of the rapid adoption of solar power and explores the main types of solar available to individuals, businesses, and utilities. It outlines the technical, economic, environmental, and policy aspects of small- and large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and concentrating solar power systems. Accompanyinginfographics detail the falling rooftop solar costs and their increasing affordability.  

  • Utility-Scale Solar 2014 by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab reveals that the price of solar energy in the US has fallen to a record low of 5 cents per kilowatt hour on average.  Some key findings include: installed project cost have fallen by more than 50 percent since 2009; newspaper solar projects generate electricity more efficiently; solar power purchase agreement costs have declined by 70 percent since 2009; and utility-scale is increasingly competitive with a broader market nationwide. 
  • Transforming the Grid from the Distribution System Out: The Potential for Dynamic Distribution Systems to Create a New Energy Marketplace, released July 2014 by the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI), is a report in which WEI researchers propose a new dynamic distribution system that has the responsibility of tracking load fluctuations, firming intermittent renewables and providing a distribution-level marketplace.

  • Utility-Scale Solar, released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in September 2014, is a report that provides data analysis of the latest large utility-scale solar projects in the United States. The report aims to identify technological trends and tracks data on installed project costs or prices, operating costs, capacity factors, and power purchase agreement prices. 

  • Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies, 11/17/2013. This US Department of Energy report focuses on four technology revolutions that are here today: onshore wind power, polysilicon photovoltaic modules, LED lighting, and electric vehicles. Since 2008 they have achieved dramatic reductions in cost accompanied by a surge in consumer, industrial and commercial deployment. This analysis explains both the magnitude of and mechanisms behind these nascent revolutions. Each of the sectors examined has also become a major opportunity for America’s clean energy economy.

  • Climate Forward: A new Road Map for Wisconsin's Climate and Energy Future, released June 2014 by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, is a report that identifies five “pathways to progress” to reduce Wisconsin’s dependence on fossil fuels and support sustainable energy sources. These solutions focus on energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, improving transportation systems, carbon storage, and developing sustainable business models. The goal of the report is to shine a light on current conditions, barriers to progress, and opportunities—if Wisconsin chooses to engage and lead in the climate arena. 
  • Renewable Energy Parks Webinar: The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) presented a free webinar in their “Community Renewable Energy Success Stories” program.  It provides information on how two cities in Washington and New York integrated multiple renewable energy technologies to create renewable energy parks in their areas.
  • Achieving 25x25 Goals for Energy Independent Communities are 2 reports by the Energy Center of Wisconsin prepared for the State Energy Office that analyze and aggregate the results of the Energy Independent communities’ profiles and plans of the 2009 and 2010 pilot programs.
  • Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development” a report by EPA offers low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened communities a range of approaches to shape development that responds to their needs and reflects their values. The report provides a menu of land use and community design strategies that community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, developers, and others can use to revitalize their communities. Case studies highlight seven communities that have used these strategies.
  • "Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development" a report by EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program identifies dozens of infrastructure financing options for transit-oriented development. The report provides examples of how some communities are using specific tools for individual infrastructure components, as well as strategies for combining and bundling tools to create plans that address construction phasing and market growth over time.
  • Powering the New Energy from the Ground Up,” from nonprofit organization Climate Solutions, profiles a diverse range of cities that are testing and refining local clean energy and energy efficiency strategies. The report describes city-led clean energy economic developments including financial mechanisms, pilot projects, and clean energy marketing.
  • Shares of electricity generation from renewable energy sources up in many states,” a post on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Today in Energy blog, maps the renewable share of total electricity generation by state with and without hydroelectric generation comparing the statistic in 2001 and 2011.
  • Wisconsin Energy Statistics, compiled by the State Energy Office, is a comprehensive source including information on energy consumption and generation, renewable energy, and energy prices and expenditures in a given year. The statistics book is available for calendar years 2006-2010.
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists report of May 2013 titled 'How Renewable Electricity Standards Deliver Economic Benefits' details the many economic benefits of Renewable Energy Standards known as Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS).  29 U.S. states, including Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, have each passed an RPS.  The renewable energy market in the U.S. has grown significantly as a result, and the economic benefits have been far-reaching.
  • EPA’s On-Site Renewable Energy Generation guide describes a variety of approaches that local governments can use to advance climate and energy goals by meeting some or all of their electricity needs through on-site renewable energy generation. As a part of EPA’s Local Government and Climate and Energy Strategy Series, it this guide is designed to be used by municipal energy coordinators, local energy and environmental agency staff, environmental and energy advisors to elected officials, utility staff, and community groups.

Resiliency

  • The SolarResilient sizing tool for solar PV and battery storage systems estimates the required rating and physical size of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage to provide power for extended periods during a large-scale grid power outage. SolarResilient is designed for buildings that form part of a cities resilience strategy - it allows building owners and city departments to develop equipment sizing before embarking on more detailed studies. When used on a portfolio of buildings, optimum performing scenarios can be selected to provide a holistic energy security strategy for a city or county.

Solar Energy Financing

  • Solar Energy Financing Guide: Empowering Wisconsin Local Governments (May 2017): A UW-Extension publication that covers financing for solar projects ranging from local and tribal governments installing solar systems on their own roofs and land, to assisting local businesses and residents with acquiring solar. It includes case studies of successful solar energy systems across the state, and outlines creative local government actions, strategies and partnerships that can lay the groundwork for financing those systems.
  • Solar Finance Simulator (May 2017) is an online tool by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association that municipalities, universities, hospitals, and businesses can use to forecast the long-term impacts of 4 types of financial investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Plugging in their own values, users can simulate and compare financial projections for direct ownership, power purchase agreement (PPA), debt financing, and operating lease. Please direct any questions about the simulator tool to info@midwestrenew.org.

Transportation

  • Straight Talk about CNG, released January 2015 by MG&E, is a video series aimed to inform businesses about performance, safety, availability, and maintenance of compressed natural gas vehicles (CNG). 
  • Big Fuel Savings Available in New Trucks is a 2-page fact sheet from ACEE and other national organizations that models the projected fuel savings from the EPA and NHTSA fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines built for the 2014 to 2018 model years along with an extension beyond 2018 in order to reach 40% reductions from a 2010 baseline. By 2030, this reduction would be the equivalent of saving 1.4 million barrels of oil per day and reduce carbon pollution by 270 million metric tons.
  • EPA's Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, provides evidence that certain kinds of land use and transportation strategies – where and how we build our communities – can reduce the environmental and human health impacts of development. Read the press release. Learn about the webinar.
  • EPA’s Smart Growth Program has released its Smart Location Database version 2.0. The database is a consistent nationwide GIS data resource for measuring location efficiency. The Smart Location Database may be appropriate for use in local and regional planning studies when local data is unavailable. The database includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale. Users can download data for their selected region, view data online in an interactive map, or access data through a variety of web services.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are releasing the 2014 Fuel Economy Guide, consumers identify and choose the most fuel efficient and low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles that meet their needs. The 2014 models include efficient and low-emission vehicles in a variety of classes and sizes, ensuring a wide variety of choices available for consumers.
     

Wind

  • 2009 Wisconsin Act 40 (The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) Wind Siting Rules) directed the PSC to promulgate administrative rules that specify the restrictions a political subdivision (a city, village, town or county) may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system, and to help ensure consistent local procedures for local regulation of wind energy systems. As of March 2011, Wind siting rules, PSC 128, are in effect.

Tools

  • Find It With Focus enables users to locate retailers, installers, contractors, and builders who specialize in wind turbines (residential and business applications).

Studies/Reports

  • Global Wind Energy Fortunes (and Turbines) Growing Fast, at Least in Short Term, released August 2014 by Bloomberg BNA, is a report that highlights the technological advances made and the upcoming challenges facing the wind energy industry

  • The Solar and Wind Energy Supply Chain in Wisconsin,” a study by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), details the role of renewable energy companies in job creation and economic growth. The report highlights some of the over 300 companies serving wind and solar energy markets in the state and provides a list of solar and wind companies and their locations.

  • For wind energy facility developers:  FWS issued a document in 2012 entitled Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (WEG), which provides a structured process for addressing wildlife conservation concerns at wind energy project sites. The WEG are built around a “tiered approach” to assessing potential conflicts. Each of the five tiers builds on information gained from the previous tier, and many smaller-scale or community wind facilities may not need to go beyond Tiers 1 and 2. The tiers encompass both pre-construction and post-construction timeframes and focus on establishing a scientific process focused initially on analyzing the potential project site, and later on gauging and monitoring impacts at that site.