MILWAUKEE – The Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and the Great Plains Institute (GPI) today announced new recommendations to accelerate innovation and technology deployment in the rapidly-evolving utility sector to fuel economic development, drive clean energy job growth, and reduce customer costs in Wisconsin.
M-WERC and GPI assembled a diverse group of stakeholders in May 2019 to guide decision-makers as they consider grid modernization efforts in Wisconsin. The group included members from investor-owned and public utilities, electric cooperatives, consumer advocacy groups, environmental organizations, technology providers, universities, third-party energy providers, transmission entities, and state and local government.
“There was a strong consensus that we’re experiencing a fundamental change in the utility space brought about by new technology, changing market forces, and climate change,” said M-WERC Executive Director Dan Ebert. “These recommendations are meaningful and actionable, and they define the role technology can play in helping Wisconsin respond to rapid changes to how power is produced, distributed, and consumed.”
Ebert says the recommendations also build on the existing efforts by companies in the state’s Energy, Power and Controls sector to use new technology to solve tough problems and find clean energy solutions. “They are focused on driving economic development for the Energy, Power and Controls sector and for the state as a whole,” he says.
The recommendations, which now go to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) and Governor Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change, include:
- Accelerate deployment of new technology in the utility space by fast-tracking PSC consideration of $100 million a year in utility pilot programs for three years.
- Advance clean energy through enhanced efficiency by aligning Focus on Energy program goals with utility and state carbon reduction/clean energy goals and promoting more funding for cost-effective programs.
- Increase transparency of distribution planning and grid modernization plans through voluntary collaboration between utilities and stakeholders.
- Update Wisconsin’s interconnection rules through a consensus effort that involves key stakeholders.
- Foster innovative programs to help low-income customers, multifamily customers, and renters reduce overall costs.
- Advance key market rule changes related to distributed energy resources with participation and leadership from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, utilities, and other Wisconsin stakeholders.
“This forward-looking effort between utilities and stakeholders provides a blueprint for a grid that can meet Wisconsin’s energy needs in the future,” said GPI Vice President Doug Scott.
M-WERC is a coalition of academic partners, utilities, and companies that uses science and technology–driven innovation to spur economic development in Wisconsin’s Energy, Power and Controls (EPC) sector, which employs 100,000 people. Learn more at www.m-werc.org.