Green power

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published September 1, 2004  | September 2004 issue

The state is taking steps toward increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable sources.

A gubernatorial panel recommended that utilities be required to produce 6 percent more of their electricity from nonfossil sources by 2015. That would raise to 10 percent the mandatory amount of renewable energy produced statewide.

Although the panel did not estimate the total cost of the transition to utilities and customers, it did make recommendations for improving energy efficiency to keep costs under control.

For now, the goal is only a recommendation, but it will likely go before the Legislature next year. The initiative is strongly supported by Gov. Jim Doyle and represents a compromise between environmentalist and utility representatives on the panel.

Environmentalists wanted a higher portion of green energy, while utilities wanted a loophole in case the transition proved too costly. The panel settled on the 6 percent figure and a longer time frame for the switch, with the option for utilities to delay the transition if it isn't cost effective.

The task force also recommended that state buildings lead the way by getting 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. The estimated cost of the state's transition is $2.6 million.

Joe Mahon