We Energies Terminates Its Renewable Energy Program at the Halfway Point

Utility pulls the plug on its $6 million per year commitment to renewable energy.

The hidden $100 million... dirty air, emergency room visits, lost business and a compromised environment.

As reported on its Web site, Milwaukee-based We Energies will discontinue an innovative and effective renewable energy development program, one that supported scores of renewable energy systems throughout its service territory.

“It’s a sad day when the state’s largest utility decides to walk away from its commitment to a clean energy future,” says Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide organization advocating for public policies and private initiatives that advance renewable energy.

As indicated in various filings with the Public Service Commission, We Energies had committed to spend $6 million a year over 10 years to increase its renewable energy supplies and make renewable energy more affordable to its customers through grants and incentives. We Energies’ commitment came in the wake of a settlement with RENEW over the utility’s plans to build two coal-fired power stations in southeast Wisconsin.

Of the $60 million committed, the utility has provided approximately $30 million since 2006.  This program will be zeroed out in We Energies’ next rate filing, which will cover 2012 and 2013.

This program supported numerous customer-sited renewable energy installations (see list below), conferences and workshops, research and development activities and innovative buyback rates.

“Perhaps not coincidently, the decision to terminate this program comes just months after We Energies placed its second coal-fired plant in service. The $6 million a year was a small price to pay for the all of the renewable energy advances that occurred while the utility built two coal plants,” says Vickerman. “Now that the coal plant is up and running, it appears that the program has outlived its usefulness to We Energies.”

The six million dollars equates to about .025 percent of We Energies’ annual expenditures.

“This cancellation comes as a blow to area contractors and businesses that were relying on the program to create jobs and clean energy,” said Vickerman.  “The achievements leveraged far outweigh the program’s negligible cost.”

“Between utility program cutbacks and state government rollbacks, Wisconsin’s policy framework for supporting renewable energy will be largely dismantled by the end of the year,” says Vickerman.

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance a sustainable energy future through public policy and private sector initiatives.  More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

Customer-owned renewable energy success stories and live data

A growing number of customers have their own renewable energy facilities. The links below go to summaries of the projects and/or real-time production data from the solar photovoltaic, solar hot water and wind renewable energy generation systems.

Solar electric photovoltaic

Ascension Lutheran Church
Cedar Community
City of Brookfield Safety Building
Concordia University Wisconsin
Cooper Elementary School
Cross Lutheran Church
Crown of Life Lutheran Church
Energy Producing Home #1
Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ – Waukesha
Fairview Charter School
Family Enrichment Center of Ozaukee County
First Congregational Church – Port Washington
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee
Fox River Christian Church
Fox Valley Lutheran High School
Gateway Technical College Horizon Center Solar Tracker
GE Healthcare
GE Research Park
Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church and School
Growing Power – Milwaukee
HOPE Christian School
Johnson Foundation
Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School
La Casa de Esperanza
Lake Country School
Lake Park Lutheran Church
Lawrence University
Madison Area Technical College – Fort Atkinson Campus
Madison College – Fort Atkinson
Menomonee Falls North Middle School
Milwaukee Area Tech College – Oak Creek
Milwaukee Central Library
Milwaukee County Zoo
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Milwaukee Recycling Education Facility
MSOE:Fat Spaniel Tech MSOE Monitor
Navarino Nature Center
North Shore Presbyterian Church
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Outpost Natural Foods
Pragmatic Construction Home 1 – PV
Purdy Elementary School – Fort Atkinson
Racine City Hall Annex
Racine Eco-Justice Center
Racine St. Catherine’s High School
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Shoreland Lutheran High School
Shorewood School District
Still Point Zen Center
The Order of Julian of Norwich
Town of Greenville
Town of Menasha
Unitarian Universalist Church West
United Community Center
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin – Parkside
Urban Ecology Center
Village of Marshall Wastewater Treatment Facility
Village of Wind Point
Walden III Middle and Senior High School
Waukesha County Technical College
Wauwatosa Fire Department
Whitewater Innovation Center
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Wisconsin State Fair Park

Solar water heating

Fort Atkinson High School Solar Thermal
Fort Atkinson Middle School Solar Thermal
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity SHW 1
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity SHW 2
We Energies HQ: Fat Spaniel Tech Wired Solar

Solar electric photovoltaic and wind

Discovery World
Lakeshore Technical College
Mequon Nature Preserve
Milwaukee Area Tech College – Mequon


Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee – Camp Whitcomb Mason
Village of Cascade Wastewater Treatment Plant

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