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Renewable Energy Efforts Made Big Gains In Wisconsin In 2018, Advocate Says

RENEW Wisconsin's Tyler Huebner Says Major Commitments Made By Utility Companies

Solar panel
Michael Mazengarb (CC-BY-NC)

One of the state’s leading advocates for renewable energy says 2018 saw historic commitments by utility companies to embrace wind and solar to power Wisconsin homes.

Each year, RENEW Wisconsin outlines the state’s efforts to embrace renewable energy. Executive director Tyler Huebner said the number of community wind and solar projects are growing, but he said some of the biggest renewable news came from Wisconsin’s largest utilities.

“This was a year we also saw some really big commitments from our utility companies, our major utility companies,” said Huebner. “Xcel Energy, a couple weeks ago, made the commitment across their whole corporation to go 100 percent carbon free energy by 2050.”

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Heubner said We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Alliant Energy Corp. and Madison Gas and Electric Co. have pledged to reduce 80 percent of their carbon output by 2050.

“All of our utilities are now making real big plans for transitioning away from carbon pollution like coal power plants and towards carbon free, which right now the most cost effective way to do that is with renewable energy like wind and solar,” said Huebner.

He added that the company goals are now in line with recommendations contained within the international Paris Agreement, which aims to combat climate change.

Overall, Huebner said solar power generation has seen the biggest gains in 2018, though utility-scale wind projects are being planned in southwestern Wisconsin.

Next year, a utility-scale solar project is planned for Iowa County that Huebner said will triple the amount of power generated from solar panels. The Badger Hollow Solar farm is expected to have as many as 1.2 million solar panels over 3,500 acres.