• Biogas 101: Back to Basics, a 2017 webinar from Sustainable City Network, is a free, downloadable, 1-hour program to learn the basics of the biogas conditioning process. The download includes the presentation slides (PDF) and video recording (MP4).

  • Biodiesel Production, a 2015 five-part video series from Tennessee State University Extension, goes through the step-by-step production of biodiesel using their mobile demonstration. The steps include producing oil from oilseeds, the degumming process, the biodiesel conversion process, making biodiesel, and separating and cleaning the biodiesel.


  • Wisconsin Biogas Survey Report, a 2016 report from the Office of Energy Innovation, examines the 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.

  • Recycle, Bury, or Burn Wood Waste Biomass?: LCA Answer Depends on Carbon Accounting, Emissions Controls, Displaced Fuels, and Impact Costs, a 2016 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. 

  • Pellets – A Fast Growing Energy Carrier, a 2014 fact sheet by the World BioEnergy Association, 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.

  • Bioenergy: Biomass to Biofuels, a 2014 book published by the University of Vermont, 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.

  • Wood Heating Appliances for Homes and Businesses, a 2014 guide from UW-Extension, provides guidance on how to choose clean burning wood heating equipment that maximize benefits while minimizing health effects to owners and their neighbors.

  • Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities: A Northern Minnesota Case Study, a 2013 paper by Dovetail Partners Inc., looks at two rural communities, Ely and Grand Marais, examining biomass to meet the 25 percent 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 Training Center provides training programs for Extension educators on issues associated with the bioeconomy including resources, educational training, and assessment materials.

  • Farming Energy, a collection from UW-Extension's Learning Store, contains over twenty publications centered around energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation options for farmers and greenhouse owners.

  • UW Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resource, a website, 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.

  • The Bioeconomy Tool Shed, a portal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gears to help those in, interested in, or starting a bio-energy business. The Tool Shed offers 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 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 guidechecklist, and an overview of lessons learned from research on community-based energy projects.

  • 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.

Climate Change


  • Air-quality-related health impacts from climate change and from adaptation of cooling demand for buildings in the eastern United States: An interdisciplinary modeling study, a 2018 article in the Public Library of Science Journal of Medicine, finds that by mid-century, about 5 - 9 percent of air-pollution-related deaths will correspond to increased emissions from the use of air conditioning in buildings. This finding indicates that current air conditioning practices may effectively reduce heat exposure while contributing to different, adverse human health impacts. The analysis highlights the importance of clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation for global warming adaptation.

  • Project Drawdown, a 2017 comprehensive proposal from a diverse group of researchers around the world, seeks to reverse global warming. It offers a comprehensive analysis of climate solutions and their financial, social, and environmental impacts over the next 30 years. Of the 100 solutions provided, wind turbines (onshore) ranked 2nd, solar farms 8th, rooftop solar 10th, geothermal 18th, nuclear 20th, wind turbines (offshore) 22nd, and concentrated solar 25th. Some other solutions in the top 25 included refrigerant management, reduced food waste, tropical forests, and clean cookstoves, among others. Ninety-nine of the 100 solutions result in regenerative development creating jobs, meaningful work, and an economy that works for the people and the planet.

  • Climate Impacts & Adaptations in the Midwest, a 2017* series of web fact sheets from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), focuses 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 agriculture, forests, and other ecosystems.This page and its resources are being changed to reflect the Trump administration priorities, July 2018. Snapshot of original materials. *This snapshot reflects the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2017.

  • Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change, a 2016 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. 

  • Wisconsin Local Governments and School Districts in a New Energy Economy: Budgeting for the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 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 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2030.

  • Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, a 2015 report that summarizes the results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. It shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.

  • 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 Midwest, and approaches to cut carbon pollution and increase in Wisconsin. This is a part of the President's climate change plan: This link and its data were removed from the federal website.

  • Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, a 2013 report from the Environmental Protection Agency, 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.

  • Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions, a 2011 report from the University of Michigan and US Green Building Council, looks at the likely impacts of climate change on the built environment and the adaptation strategies, codes, standards, and practices to adopt at the regional, neighborhood, and building scale so that environments designed and built today will be suitable for a range of uncertain futures.

  • Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments, a 2007 guidebook 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.


  • 53 Sources for Climate Change News, published in 2017 by George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, shares 53 outlets that provide breakings news, research, reports, and expert analysis of topics related to climate change.

  • Climate Access Resource Hub, a collection of resources from Climate Access, describes how from allergies and asthma to heat stroke and vector-borne diseases, the public health impacts of climate change are an increasing concern. The collection provides background information and recommendations for communicating a public health message within a climate context.

  • eGRID, the 2016 Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) from the Environmental Protection Agency, is a comprehensive source of data on the environmental characteristics of almost all electric power generated in the United States. The new edition, eGRID2016 contains year 2016 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.

  • Climate Modeling 101, a website from the National Academy of Sciences, explains 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.

  • The U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, a 2012 tool by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, provides 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 webinars on the new protocol.

  • Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments, a 2012 toolkit from the Georgetown Law Center, can help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. The toolkit includes an analytical 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. The toolkit 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.

  • State and Local Climate and Energy Program, a website designed by the Environmental Protection Agency for state and local officials, provides information about developing and implementing cost-effective climate and energy strategies that help further environmental goals and achieve public health and economic benefits. The program runs a series that covers energy efficiency (2013), transportation (2011), community planning and design (2011), solid waste and materials management (2012), and renewable energy (2014).

  • EPA Directories of Adaptation Tools and Resources for Public Officials, a part of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) State and Local Climate and Energy website, 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. This page and its resources are being changed to reflect the Trump administration priorities, September 2018.

Controversial Issues


  • Hydrofrac Sand: The Resource and the Issues in Wisconsin, a 2011 lecture by Professor Bruce A. Brown of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, provides information on Wisconsin’s hydrofrac sand characteristics, resource locations, and potential problems of mining.


Educator and Youth Resources


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 NRES 730-Energy Education in the Classroom KEEP course can be adapted for 4H face-to-face training; speak with Susan Schuller (
  • 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, the course overview includes resources and activities and basic energy facts – free.
  • Renewable Energy Education Online Course NRES 735 (content is free; credit option is available through the Unviersity of Wisconsin-Stevens Point).

Energy Efficiency


  • Understanding and managing power quality issues with LED lightinga 2018 webinar by Seventhwave, discusses LED lighting power quality specifications that should be considered before purchasing and installing LED systems. Also discussed are several current voluntary and mandatory government and industry standards that offer guidance and present minimum recommended values to avoid common issues that arise with LED lighting systems. Viewers can learn about strategies to troubleshoot LED lighting issues on their own, as well.

  • Public Procurement of Energy Efficient Products: Lessons from Around the World, a 2013 webinar from the Responsible Purchasing Network, features discussion by representatives of the World Bank, US EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program, and the District of Columbia’s procurement office about key elements of a successful program for procuring energy-efficient products, including product testing and labeling systems; policy drivers; educational strategies; incentives to bring about behavior change; tracking and reporting systems; and more.


  • Here Come the Wedding Bells: The Surprise Engagement of Energy Efficiency and Electrification, a 2018 Whitepaper by the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp (WECC), discusses what makes electrification beneficial, how the value of beneficial electrification can be assessed, best practices for implementation, and more.

  • ​ The High Cost of Energy in Rural America: Household Energy Burdens and Opportunities for Energy Efficiency, a 2018 coalition report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), focuses on the energy burdens shouldered by those living in rural America. It finds that rural households across the United States spend a disproportionately high share of their income on energy bills - for air conditioning, heating, lighting, appliances, etc. - of about 40% more than their metropolitan counterparts. Energy efficiency upgrades can lessen these burdens by as much as 25%, resulting in up to $400 in annual energy bill savings while also reducing indoor health risks that can contribute to asthma, respiratory problems, heart disease, arthritis, and rheumatism for some households.

  • Quantifying the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: A Guide for State and Local Governments, a 2018 report by EPA, discusses how state and local energy efficiency and renewable energy investments can produce significant benefits, including lower fuel and electricity costs, increased grid reliability, better air quality and public health, and more job opportunities. While the costs of clean energy initiatives get the most attention, less is devoted to the many benefits of clean energy, often because there isn't a clear understanding of the benefits and how to estimate them. Analysts can use EPA’s this updated edition to learn how to quantify these benefits so that they can compare costs and benefits and comprehensively assess the value of energy policy and program choices.

  • Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing: A Guide for Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs, a 2018 report by EPA, helps readers understand energy efficiency in terms of benefits, step-by-step approaches to green, affordable housing, key stakeholders, supportive policy mechanisms, implementation strategies, and investment and financing opportunities. It includes case studies from communities across the United States and links to resources, tools, and sources of funding.
  • The 2018 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.

  • Energy Savings, Consumer Economics, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions from Replacing Oil and Propane Furnaces, Boilers, and Water Heaters with Air-Source Heat Pumps, a 2018 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), found that when it is time to replace heating or cooling equipment or in new construction, high-efficiency electric heat pumps or water heaters can often provide an attractive alternative to homeowners looking for a cost-effective solution. This strategy is part of the clean energy transformation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and electrification using carbon-free electricity.
  • Lifting the High Energy Burden in America’s Largest Cities: How Energy Efficiency Can Improve Low-Income and Underserved Communities, a 2016 coalition report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), contains measurements of the energy burden of households in 48 of the largest American cities, including Milwaukee. It finds that low-income, African-American, Latino, low-income multifamily, and renter households all spend a greater proportion of their income on utilities than the average family. The report identifies energy efficiency as an underutilized strategy that can help reduce high energy burdens by as much as 30% and the policies and programs to ramp up energy efficiency investments in low-income and underserved communities.

  • Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan: Steps to Success and Best Practices in Developing State Lead-by-Example Programs and Considerations for Clean Power Plan Compliance, two 2016 white papers by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, guide 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.

  • Energy Efficiency in Separate Tenant Spaces - A Feasibility Study, a 2016 report 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.

  • 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, a 2016 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), quantitatively discusses the importance of energy efficiency in the US power sector.

  • Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan: Steps to Success and Best Practices in Developing State Lead-by-Example Programs and Considerations for Clean Power Plan Compliance, two 2016 white papers from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), provide 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, as well as a strategy for reducing pollution.
  • The 2015 State Energy Scorecard, a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (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.

  • Clean Energy Champions, a 2015 report by CleanEnergy States Alliance, 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.

  • New Horizons for Energy Efficiency, a 2015 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), found that 22 percent of the total projected electricity use in the year 2030 could be saved by the use of certain energy efficient practices.

  • Energy Efficiency in Water and Wastewater Facilities, a 2013 guide released by the EPA as part of the Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, describes how water and wastewater facilities can achieve multiple benefits by improving energy efficiency of their buildings and day-to-day operations. It includes steps and considerations for developing and implementing these improvements to energy efficiency.

  • Saving Water and Energy through Clothes Washer Replacement in the Great Lakes Region, a 2013 white paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), profiles various opportunities for energy and water savings in the residential and commercial sectors.

  • Army Net Zero: Energy Roadmap and Project Summary, a 2013 report by the US Army partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), assesses 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.

  • Beyond the Tip of the Energy Iceberg: Why Retrofits Create More Value Than You Think, an 2013 article by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), 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.

  • The 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 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. 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.

  • Bright Future Seen for LED Streetlights, a 2012 article from Sustainable City Network, describes several factors to ask about in purchasing LED streetlights to ensure maximum performance and ultimate payback.

  • Keeping it in the Community: Sustainable Funding for Local Energy Initiatives, a 2012 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 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.

  • Energy Efficiency in K-12 Schools, a 2011 report by EPA, discusses how energy costs are second only to personnel costs as the leading draw on K-12 school district operating budgets. The report describes how to achieve energy savings and is designed for school district energy program managers, school districts and school boards, local government agencies, and mayors and city councils. The report is part of the Local Government Strategy Series.
  • The 2011 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report by 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.

  • Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, a 2009 report from Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory


  • The Flip Your Fridge Calculator, a tool from ENERGY STAR, shows how much your old (10 years and older) refrigerator or freezer costs to operate and how much you can save by flipping it to ENERGY STAR. Carbon pollution savings are shown as well.

  • EnergyBoom, a website, helps consumers identify the most energy efficient products from laptops and waterheaters to LED lights, cars, and trucks. They use data and analysis from independent and government sources and report the basis for each listing.

  • The purpose of the policy tool for new buildings, an 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 help identify the combination of elements to move the building stock in a particular region towards zero energy.

  • The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), a tool from the Green Electronics Council, uses the standard from 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.

  • Municipal Energy Planning: An Energy Efficiency Workbook, a step-by-step guide prepared by University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension faculty serving on statewide Energy Conservation and Sustainability Teams, provides information for developing an energy efficiency (or energy conservation) plan for municipal governments. This guide seeks to address an educational need of elected officials and municipal staff to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and operations.

  • Smart Location Database version 2.0, published by EPA's Smart Growth Program, 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.

  • SmarterHouse, a website by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Enervee, helps consumers find quality products that reduce their energy bills. Consumers can visit the website to find energy-saving tips and buying guidance for purchasing new products like refrigerators and TVs, rated by the 0 - 100 Enervee Score. Shoppers can visit Enervee's portal to find product information, pricing, and incentives offered by their utility.

  • 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.

  • ENERGY STAR's Most Efficient 2019 List recognizes the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.

  • 2018 Energy Star Top Cities, an annual list from EPA, shows which metro areas were home to the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year. These regions continue to make impressive strides in cutting American energy bills and pollution through energy efficiency. More than 32,000 buildings have earned EPA's ENERGY STAR since 1999!

  • The 10 Tactics of Successful Energy Managers, a 2015 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.


Energy Organizations

Wisconsin Organizations

  • Citizens Utility Board (CUB)

  • Customers First

  • Focus on Energy operates out of the Office of Energy Innovation and functions as a public benefits program, funded through utility partners. Focus on Energy's programs address businesses, industry, residents, local governments, and schools in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

  • RENEW Wisconsin (RENEW), an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, advances state renewable energy policies through advocacy, education, and collaborative initiatives.

  • Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WisCEF)

  • The Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) researches electricity systems, transportation and fuels, and sustainability and society, focusing on the transition to new, clean energy systems and solutions . WEI fosters interdisciplinary projects, educates and prepares the energy leaders of today and tomorrow, and enhances public understanding of energy issues.

  • 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.

  • The Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation (OEI) promotes innovative and effective energy policies and programs for the benefit of Wisconsin's citizens and businesses.

Federal Organizations

  • The Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

  • The Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs provides federally recognized Indian tribes, including Alaska Native villages, tribal energy resource development organizations, and other organized tribal groups and communities with technical assistance at no cost to advance tribal energy projects. Technicians provide support to assist Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages with energy planning, housing and building energy efficiency, project development, policy and regulation, resilience, and village power.

  • The Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT) Network gathers NREL solar technology and deployment experts to provide unbiased information on solar policies and issues for state and local government decision makers. The STAT Network is a project of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office that is implemented in partnership with NREL. The Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Team assists policymakers and regulators in making informed decisions about energy efficiency programs and policies. Requests for technical assistance must be submitted by state officials, including state legislative or regulatory bodies and their staff members.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE)

National Organizations

  • 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, like trainings and certifications for solar and wind installation, to the broad via its annual Energy Fair for the public.

  • Sierra Club Ready for 100

  • Slipstream, a combination of former organizations Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) and Seventhwave, partners with utilities, local and state governments, regulatory agencies, and other organizations to create, test, deliver and scale the next generation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

  • 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.

Energy Policies

Local and Tribal Government Policies and Plans

  • Middleton Renewable Energy Resolution, the 2018 100 Percent Renewable Energy Resolution for the City of Middleton in Dane County, seeks to address global warming through ambitious yet achievable targets for energy-use reduction and renewable energy generation for City operations and the community as a whole. The mayor signed the Mayors' Pledge in 2017 to support the Paris Climate Agreement. The City plans to reduce energy use for City operations by at least 15 percent by 2030; and by 50 percent by 2050; for community-wide energy needs by at least 10 percent by 2030; and by 40 percent by 2050. The City plans to meet 66 percent of City operations with renewable energy by 2030; 88 percent by 2035; and 100 percent by 2040; 21 percent of community-wide energy needs with renewable energy by 2030; 80 percent by 2040; and 100 percent by 2050. For more information and the infographic

  • The Madison Sustainability Plan: Fostering Environmental, Economic and Social Resilience, a 2011 plan written by the Sustainable Madison Committee (SMC) for the City of Madison in Dane County, outlines the vision for becoming sustainable as well as goals in ten categories: Natural Systems; Planning and Design; Transportation; Energy and Climate; Economic Development; Employment and Workforce Development; Education, Arts, and Community; Affordability and Social Equity; Children, Health, and Safety; and Arts, Design, and Culture. 

State and Federal Government Policies and Plans


  • Wisconsin Electric Rate Restructuring Webinar: What are the Costs?, a 2014 webinar from UW-Extension, 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.


  • Net Metering in Missouri, a 2018 report from RENEW Missouri, 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.

  • Standards and Requirements for Solar Equipment, Installation, and Licensing and Certification: A Guide for States and Municipalities, a 2017 guide from the CleanEnergy States Alliance, provides information 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.

  • A Handbook for States: Incorporating Renewable Energy Into State Compliance Plans for EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a 2015 publication from the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, 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 can 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.

  • Solar Power Purchase Agreements: a Toolkit for Local Governments, a 2015 toolkit from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), can help local governments 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.

  • Deploying Distributed Energy Storage: Near-Term Regulatory Considerations to Maximize Benefits, a 2015 report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), 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.

  • Nevada Net Energy Metering Impacts Evaluation, a 2014 study from Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, investigates 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, a 2014-revised report for the Vermont Public Service Department, 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.

  • Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for Electric Utilities?, a 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. The authors detail evidence driving adaptation, identify the special vulnerabilities of utilities as regulated monopolies, and consider how utilities might effectively adapt to emerging conditions.

  • Third-Party Distributed Generation: Issues and Challenges for Policymakers, a 2014 report from the Energy Center of Wisconsin (now Slipstream), 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.

  • Guide to Successful Implementation of State Combined Heat and Power Policies, a 2013 report from the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network, provides state utility regulators and other state policymakers with actionable information to assist them in implementing key state policies that impact combined heat and power.

  • The Potential Impact of Solar PV on Electricity Markets in Texas, a 2012 study conducted by the Brattle Group, evaluates the potential effects of adding solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in the Texas wholesale energy market. Using a hypothetical situation, the study finds 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?, a 2011 report, 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.

  • Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government, a toolkit from UW-Extension, 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.

  • America’s Power Plan, a website that compiles collaborations from more than 100 of the nation’s top energy experts, can help policymakers at the state and local levels address the challenges of improving energy regulatory policies as renewable energy use continues to rise. The website details recommendations for improving policies in key areas: power markets, utility business models, finance poly, distributed energy resources, distributed generation policy, transmission policy, and siting of new power infrastructure. 

Funding, Economics, and Economic Development



  • The Wisconsin Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Sensors & Controls for Advanced Energy, a 2018 report from the Wisconsin Energy Institute, Midwest Energy Research Consortium, and American Jobs Project, shows that Wisconsin’s sensors and control industry could potentially support an annual average of 44,000 jobs through 2030. Sensors and controls allow systems to respond to changing conditions (weather, changes in input, changes in demand). Wisconsin is poised to tap into the $287 billion global advanced energy systems market due to its strong existing sensor and controls industry, university research expertise, and potential demand for biodigester technology by agricultural businesses. The report outlines a range of policy recommendations that could encourage the development of this growing industry.

  • The Economics of Electrifying Buildings: How Electric Space and Water Heating Supports Decarbonisation of Residential Buildings, a 2018 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, analyzes the economics and carbon impacts of electrifying residential space and water heating both with and without demand flexibility—the ability to shift energy consumption in time to support grid needs. The study compared the life-cycle costs of cold climate air source heat pumps (ASHPs) with conventional heating with and without air conditioners under various electric rate structures in Oakland, Houston, Providence, and Chicago.

  • Wisconsin State Profile and Energy Estimates, an updated in 2018 resource from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, focuses on energy industry statistics for the state of Wisconsin and compares these to other states.

  • 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, a 2018 publication by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, provides new industry information and trends for the U.S. energy economy, with an in-depth look at energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy sectors as well as emerging areas such as battery storage and sustainable transportation.

  • Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, presents key findings related to the continued decline in the cost of renewable power generation globally in 2017. Topics include cost reduction drivers for renewable power, power generation industry trends, and the outlook for renewable energy costs.

  • 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, the second annual employment analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy, 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 percent of all those created in the country.

  • The National Solar Jobs Census, an annual report, last published for 2017, by the Solar Foundation, reviews current employment and projected growth in the United States solar industry. The reports includes factors likely to impact the solar industry, as well as information on research and development, production, sale, installation, and use of all solar technologies.

  • Bringing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Low-Income Communities, a 2016 resource from the Environmental Protection Agency, offers informational resources to help state and local energy, environmental, housing, 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.       

  • The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuels, a last revised in 2016 resource from the Union of Concerned Scientists, examines the hidden health and environmental costs, or externalities, resulting from the extraction, transportation, and consumption of fossil fuels. Externalities including global warming, air pollution, water use, and fossil fuel waste are presented and explained alongside real world examples and the latest research.

  • Integrating Community Values into the Full Cost of Electricity, a 2016 white paper by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas, examines movement toward community or values-based energy systems and asks if these values should be considered as one of the inputs into a model for the cost of electric service. Traditional cost modeling assumes individuals and communities will choose the lowest cost source for electricity; however, the marketplace is increasingly showing otherwise. The study looks at community energy systems including: District energy utilities, community-owned renewable generation, community approved use of eminent domain, and community choice aggregation. This paper is part of a series of white papers on the full cost of electricity.

  • Strategic Roadmap on the Energy Water Nexus, a 2015 report from the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and The Water Council (TWC), projects 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.

  • Empowered: A Tale of Three Cities Taking Charge of Their Energy Future, a 2015 book by Midwest Energy News and author Bentham Paulos, examines the current clash between regulated utilities and cities and their citizens over clean energy sources, energy pricing, and market choice in Boulder, CO, Minneapolis, MN, and Madison, WI.

  • Spatial patterns of solar photvoltaic system adoption: The influence of neighbors and the built environment, a 2014 article in the Journal of Economic Geography, examines 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.

  • Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies, a 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, 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.

  • City Power Play - 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy, a 2013 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 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 Solarize Guidebook: A community guide to collective purchasing of residential PV systems, a 2012 guidebook by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the City of Portland, provides 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 U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

  • Keeping it in the Community: Sustainable Funding for Local Energy Initiatives, a 2012 report by the 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.

  • Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), a 2012 factsheet from the Solar Energy Industries Association, describes what a PPA is, how they benefit consumers, and key points interested consumers should consider before entering into a PPA.

  • Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal, a 2011 paper published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, presents a life cycle study that analyzes the full range of monetized, external ecological and public health costs resulting from using coal for electricity generation. The authors "estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually ... Accounting for the many external costs over the life cycle for coal-derived electricity conservatively doubles to triples the price of coal per kWh of electricity generated" [beyond the prices we pay for electricity]. Amounts and costs of each of the health, social, employment, and environmental impacts are provided.

  • Solar PV Project Financing: Regulatory and Legislative Challenges for Third-Party PPA System Owners, a 2010 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 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) municipal utilities' and rural cooperatives' concerns over opting into deregulation of electricity generation, and; (5) determining whether third-party owned systems may net meter.


  • Got Moola, a last updated in 2015 resource from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Division of Agribusiness compiled for small agricultural businesses in Wisconsin, provides links to banks, technical assistance, funding opportunities, and many programs and organizations to help grow their businesses.

  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), a tool from the U.S. Department of Energy, provides state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

  • Farm Energy, a website 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.

  • Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide Public Benefits Program, works with residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The website provides information, resources, and financial incentives to implement energy projects.

  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), a website from PACENation, offers details about 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.

  • The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a website from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers cost-share grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency improvement or renewable energy development projects.

LEED/Green Building


  • 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and Zero Energy Buildings List, a report from New Buildings Institute, summarizes the growth and trends from nearly 500 certified, verified, and emerging zero energy projects across the U.S. and Canada. The 2018 list reflects a 700 percent increase in six years from 2012. Wisconsin has five projects: Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Baraboo (2007), Appleton General Aviation Terminal (2013), Green Leaf Inn in Delavan (2013), UW Arlington Ag Research Station, and Gundersen Health Systems, LaCrosse (2013).
  • Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) Market Analysis By Equipment (Lighting, Walls & Roofs, HVAC Systems), By Services, By Type, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2014 - 2025, a 2017 report from Grand View Research, indicates that in 2016, the U.S. accounted for the largest market share of the net-zero energy building industry, where onsite renewable sources generate 100% of a building's energy needs. The report analyzes net-zero energy building market trends and projects that the market will reach over $78 billion globally by 2025. Opportunities and barriers involved in achieving net-zero energy targets and the role that green buildings can play in business improvement efforts are discussed as well. 
  • Case Study: Parking Ramp Solar Array in Healthcare, a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Alliance, describes Gundersen Health System's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified parking structure with solar PV panels that offset 100 percent of its energy needs.
  • Green Building Economic Impact Study, a 2015 report prepared for the U.S. Green Building Council, quantifies the economic impact of green construction and of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green building on the national and state economies. Findings include that green construction will 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.
  • The Cost of LEED v4, an updated report 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. The report details which credits are likely to produce cost savings, cost synergies for bundling credits, and other strategic information.



  • The New Building Institute website contains many tools on zero net energy buildings
  • 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.
  • 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). 
  • Energy and Civilization: A History
    This book by Vaclav Smil explores how human innovations in energy have driven economic and cultural progress over the past 10,000 years. He traces the ways that society exploited energy in order to move forward and describes how energy innovations enabled major societal and technological advancements.
  • 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

  • Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective, a 2019 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), analyzes extensive survey data they collected on gender equality in the renewable energy industry to ensure equitable distribution for the large job growth accompanying the global energy transition to renewable, distributed energy systems. Researchers found that globally, women are largely underrepresented, though renewable energy employs more women than the energy sector overall at 32 percent compared to 22 percent. Opportunities and barriers to gender equality are explored, including the diverse skill sets needed along the renewable energy supply chain as opportunities, with perceptions of gender roles that hinder women from pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers as barriers. The researchers propose policies and solutions to advance gender equality in the renewable energy sector. A Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) has launched along with the second women’s mentoring program beginning March 2019.
  • Floating PV: Assessing the Technical Potential of Photovoltaic Systems on Man-Made Water Bodies in the Continental U.S, a 2018 paper from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), found floating PV (FPV) projects across more than 24,000 man-made US reservoirs could generate around 10% of US annual electricity production, which would reduce the land requirements for conventional ground mount PV power plants by at least 2.1 million hectares. This could be useful in the Midwest where there is conflict over solar encroaching on farmland and in areas of the US that are land-constrained.
  • New U.S. Power Costs: by County, with Environmental Externalities, the first in a series of white papers from the University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute about the full cost of electricity. The study examines the total direct and indirect costs of generating and delivering electricity under the quickly changing conditions of the U.S. power industry. The researchers conclude that natural gas combined cycle, wind, and nuclear power appear the least-cost options across the most counties. The researchers created online calculators, as well, for people who want to understand the dynamics of determining the full cost of electricity. Daily Energy Insider

  • Solar Knowledge LibraryThe Solar Institute at George Washington University has created a Solar Knowledge Library that provides videos about key solar energy topics, as well as links to additional resources. The videos are aimed at educating professionals who are not part of the solar industry but still play a key role in expanding solar deployment opportunities in the United States. The library project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative's Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) program. The STEP program enables solar training and education for professionals in indirect and related fields such as real estate, finance, insurance, fire and code enforcement, and state regulations, and has established new credentials in solar operations and maintenance. The Solar Knowledge Library aims to foster a workforce familiar with solar, improve inspection compliance, expedite system permitting, reduce liability and insurance costs, and increase consumer confidence.

  • Renewable Electricity Futures Study, This NREL, 2012 study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels—from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation—in 2050. It provides initial answers to important questions about the integration of high penetrations of renewable electricity technologies from a national perspective, focusing on key technical implications. 

  • 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.

Microgrids and Storage

  • Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) Formed in 2013, the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) is a non-profit organization comprised of owners, operators, developers, suppliers and investors in the microgrid industry working together to advocate for policies and regulations that support microgrid deployment. The MRC promotes widespread implementation of microgrids through laws, regulations, and tariffs that support microgrid access to the market, compensation for services, and a level playing field for deployment and operation.


  • Energy Zones Mapping Tool (EZMT)
    The Energy Zones Mapping Tool by Argonne National Lab is a free online mapping tool to identify potential energy resource areas suitable for power generation and energy corridors in the United States. Features include: Nine energy resources: Biomass, Coal, Geothermal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Solar, Storage, Water, and Wind; flexible modeling of power plant and corridor siting factors such as slope and land protections; tools to generate and analyze potential corridor routes; searchable database of policies and regulations.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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. 


  • Strategies for Integrating EVs into the Grid
    ACEEE released a report, Strategies for Integrating EVs into the Grid, that examines how utilities and other stakeholders are responding to the large growth in electric vehicles, and how their actions relate to broader environmental goals. The report focuses on five categories of utility strategies: rate design, smart charging, charging station investment and ownership, vehicle purchase incentives, and coordination with state and local efforts. To provide insight into these strategies, the report includes case studies of three utilities that have implemented multifaceted EV integration plans.
  • From Power to Empowerment: Plugging Low Income Communities Into the Clean Energy Economy
    This 2017 white paper from Groundswell, a community power nonprofit, details the critical relationship between energy and economic opportunity in the United States, and the case for making renewable energy accessible to low income households, for expanding and supporting energy efficiency programs that align with community solar, and for driving consumer adoption of these programs through place-based community organizations.
  • 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.


  • STAR Communities: Measuring Community Resilience with the STAR Community Rating System, This guide shows how municipalities can use STAR’s framework of goals, objectives, and evaluation measures to better understand and baseline community conditions, set goals for improvement, identify best practices, and measure progress over time. It includes metrics and case studies that communities can use to measure local resilience, recognize connected community systems, and start to set a path towards becoming a more resilient and sustainable community.


  • 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.


  • Resilient Solar Case Study: The Marcus Garvey Apartments Microgrid
    This 2017 case study from the City University of New York's Smart DG Hub examines the solar+storage microgrid system in the Marcus Garvey affordable housing complex in Brooklyn, New York, a neighborhood that experiences rolling blackouts more frequently than other parts of the city. The housing complex uses its solar+storage microgrid system to cut electricity costs, improve grid reliability, and provide resilient backup power for tenants during extended outages. The $1.3 million project features an anticipated 6.6 year system payback for the battery storage.
  • Solar and Storage for Energy and Resiliency
    This guide about integrating solar into emergency preparedness by Utah Clean Energy provides essential information about solar + storage and how it can enhance resilience.
  • Smart DG Hub: Value of Resiliency Survey Results
    The City University of New York’s Smart DG Hub recently formed a Value of Resiliency (VoR) Strategy Team to recognize the value of resilience offered by solar+storage system installation. This report details the Smart DG Hub’s findings from interviews with three key industries—insurance, government, and banking. 

Solar Energy Financing

Wisconsin Solar Energy Financing Guide

  • 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.


  • The Solar Energy Financing Panel, a recording from the Leading the Charge 2018 Summit in Eau Claire, WI, features the discussion about solar energy financing in Wisconsin.
  • The Vision for US Community Solar: A Roadmap to 2030 and Beyond, A new study from GTM Research found that the U.S. community solar market could grow up to 50-80 times its current size by 2030 to 57-84 GW. This equates to serving nearly nine million new solar customers, including four million low-to-moderate income households, and amounting to $120 billion in capital investments. The Vision for U.S. Community Solar: A Roadmap to 2030, … also informs state policy recommendations for delivering on that enormous and largely untapped potential to serve American households and businesses with affordable and reliable solar power…
  • 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.
  • Community Solar Business Case Tool
    The Community Solar Business Case Tool provides a flexible financial model that projects the costs and benefits to the system developer and subscriber of a single community solar project. The tool development was supported by the US DOE SunShot Initiative's Solar Market Pathways program. 
  • Fact Sheet; How to Estimate Demand Charge Savings from PV on Commercial Buildings This document from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory explains the basics of demand charges- the maximum rate at which a business consumes electricity each month,  and provides a new method that a potential customer or PV developer can use to estimate a range of potential savings in demand charges from a proposed PV system.
  • New Distribution Grid Integration Unit Cost Database for PV
    A new database from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provides information to utilities, developers, and analysts for assessing distribution grid integration costs associated with PV.
  • 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
  • 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.


  • Midwest EVOLVE, The U.S. Department of Energy in February 2017 awarded a three-year grant program, the Midwest Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience (EVOLVE) project. The program is a partnership between the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and seven midwestern Clean Cities coalitions in seven states. The purpose of the project is to educate consumers, as well as public and private fleets, about the performance and environmental advantages of electric vehicles.
    For a list of electric vehicles on the market
  • Reports on EV Charging, released July, 2018 by Greentech Media examine the impact electric vehicle charging infrastructure will have on grids around the world.
  • 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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.