In February 2004, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission adopted interconnection standards for distributed generation (DG) systems up to 15 megawatts (MW) in capacity. All investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and municipal utilities are required to abide by the standard provisions. Electric cooperatives are encouraged -- but not required -- to adopt the state standards. The rules categorize DG systems by capacity and provide for several levels of interconnection review, as follows:
Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) are tax-exempt bonds that can be used to stimulate capital investment and job creation by providing private borrowers with access to financing at interest rates that are lower than conventional bank loans. The IRB process involves five separate entities – the borrower, lender, bond attorney, issuer, and WEDC. WEDC allocates the bonding authority or the volume cap for the program under Wis. Stat. § 238.10.
WEDC may provide forgivable loans to businesses that have expansion projects that will have a significant impact on job creation, job retention, capital investment, and on the surrounding area as a whole. Loans may be up to $2,000,000 and may be forgiven if contract requirements are met for high performing projects.
WEDC will direct Impact Loan funds to the following targeted industry sectors:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Food and beverage processing
- Research and Development
The Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program offers grants of up to $1,000,000 to Wisconsin communities for implementation of redevelopment plans for large industrial sites that have been idle, abandoned, or underutilized for a period of at least five years. Approved projects can use funds for demolition, environmental remediation, or site-specific improvements defined in a redevelopment plan to advance the site to shovel ready status or enhance the site’s market attractiveness.
Through the Home Performance with Energy Star program, Focus on Energy offers instant rewards for installing select recommended efficiency measures following a home energy audit. Energy consultants inspect home energy systems, help identify the most effective measures for increasing home efficiency, and offer an instant reward on completed work based on recommendations. Rewards are available for insulation and sealing improvements for 33.3% of improvement costs up to $1,500.
Through the [http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=WI88F&re=0&ee=0 Home Performance with Energy Star program], Focus on Energy offers in-home energy audits and cash incentives for installing select recommended efficiency measures. Energy consultants inspect home energy systems, help identify the most effective measures for increasing home efficiency, and assist participants in applying for incentives.
Under terms of legislation (SB 459) enacted in March 2006, Wisconsin's Departments of Administration, Corrections, Health and Family Services, Public Instruction, Veterans Affairs, and the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System have a goal of purchasing or generating 10% of their power from renewable energy by December 31, 2007, and 20% by December 31, 2011.
The State of Wisconsin has nearly 16 million acres of forested lands in the state. The Statewide Forest Plan, completed in 2004, is carried out by the Wisconsin Council on Forestry together with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. This Plan has been augmented with the Statewide Forest Strategy and Statewide Forest Assessment, both completed in 2010.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has regulations for building a forest road, if development requires one. Regulations include zoning ordinances and permits for stream crossing, grading, stormwater, and wetlands.
Wisconsin Focus on Energy supports statewide programs that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy*. The program was initially created by Act 9 of 1999 as a public benefit fund (PBF), which also provided energy assistance programs for low-income residents (the [http://homeenergyplus.wi.gov/ Home Energy Plus Program]). Focus on Energy was restructured in March 2006 by S.B. 459 (2005 Act 141).