Wisconsin RPS Approved by State Senate

Wisconsin is on its way to joining the ever-growing list of states with a requirement for renewable energy use. The state’s senate voted overwhelming by a vote of 32 to one to authorize the Senate Bill 459 the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Act, authored by Senator Robert Cowles and Representative Phil Montgomery.

The legislation requires utilities to produce 10 percent of all their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015, reforming the Public Benefits program, requiring more energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources by state government, and updating building codes to include higher energy efficiency standards. The legislation is based on the recommendations of Governor Jim Doyle’s Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables. Governor Doyle created the Task Force in 2003 with representatives from all corners of the energy community including customer groups, utilities, environmentalists, businesses and labor. “Record home heating costs that are squeezing middle-class and working families this winter further illustrate the importance of reducing Wisconsin’s dependence on outside energy sources,” Governor Doyle said. “And while I’m working to get relief to these families now by expanding eligibility for heating assistance, it is essential that we also plan for our energy future.” Gov. Jim Doyle is expected to sign the bill into law if the legislature passes the measure. “Whether it’s with wind power or energy resources grown right on Wisconsin farms, we have the resources here to move toward energy independence. Doing so will keep our energy dollars in our local economies instead of purchasing fuels from outside the state. And investing in new renewable energy technologies will create more good jobs right here in Wisconsin. I hope the Assembly will follow the Senate’s lead, and act quickly to get this legislation to my desk.”
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