Wisconsin lags behind other states in renewable energy standards, should do major overhaul of utility regulations to encourage utilities to invest in alternative energy, new technology, says expert

LOS ANGELES , January 21, 2014 () – Wisconsin should conduct a major overhaul of its utility regulations in an effort to encourage utilities to invest in alternative energy and new technology, said Madison Wisconsin Energy Director of Midwest Energy Policy Analysis Gary Radloff, WisBusiness.com reported on Jan. 21.

On a national level, Wisconsin ranks about in the middle in terms of its renewable energy standards, Radloff noted.

Wisconsin’s renewable portfolio standards currently require regulated utilities to produce 10% of their total energy from green sources by 2015.

The state legislature is currently tweaking the renewable portfolio standard, including passing bills that expand the list of qualifying energy sources. Radloff said that these changes are fairly minor and fall short of actually restructuring the standard.

Radloff said that he would like to see Wisconsin allow third parties to finance energy production. Currently, such companies are reluctant to get involved with energy production because of existing laws, Radloff added, noting that some utilizes oppose third-party financing because it would lower the utilities’ revenue.

However, in areas with different laws, third parties are leading the renewable energy push, in particular when it comes to solar, Radloff observed. 

Currently, regulations do not encourage innovation, Radloff said, noting that utility companies invest about 2% of their money in technology innovation, which is far below what other economic sectors typically invest.

Coal and other carbon sources presently account for more than 50% of Wisconsin’s energy production, Radloff noted, adding that state should diversify its sources of energy production beyond the 10% mandate.

The primary source of this article is WisBusiness.com, Madison, Wisconsin, on Jan. 21, 2014.

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