WICEF Public Comments on Eagle Point Solar
Dear Commissioners, Commission Staff, Interested Public and Utility Representatives,
I respectfully submit the following public comments relating to docket 9300-DR-104, specifically Eagle Point Solar’s appeal of denial of application for interconnection.
At the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, we are focused on free market, conservative principles and solutions to help markets that are undergoing a large-scale transition to renewable sources of power. The incredible cost declines of solar and wind within the last decade are putting these technologies in a position they have never been before; the low-cost options on the marketplace. Policymakers, regulators, and energy providers need to adjust accordingly.
Declines in the price of solar in particular are opening up new markets and opportunities for investment in energy. Wisconsin needs to take seriously the challenges and opportunities that arise from a competitive third party provided solar market. This is an issue we can no longer ignore, as millions of dollars of investment are being left on the sidelines due to unclear, outdated, and unfair regulations. Eagle Point Solar offers a specific example, with nearly two million dollars in project investment potentially threatened.
Customers and solar providers in this state deserve a level of certainty as the market develops. This certainty should extend to projects and contracts no matter how they are funded or structured. If our principles are grounded in a belief in the power of competitive free markets to move us forward it is past time that we stop impeding private sector companies trying to do business in the solar space in our state. Third party, private sector providers of rooftop solar deserve and need certainty in Wisconsin. We urge you to support Eagle Point Solar's petition and determine that their solar financing contract does not make them a public utility so they can move forward and continue providing a valuable and needed service to a growing market in our state.
WICEF Supports Badger Hollow Solar Farm
Development could be a historic opportunity for Wisconsin
Dear Commissioners, Commission Staff, Interested Public and Utility Representatives,
I respectfully submit the following public comments relating to docket 9697-CE-100, regarding the Badger Hollow Solar Farm.
The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum is an organization of conservative leaders across Wisconsin who care about applying conservative, free market solutions to energy issues facing our state. Energy markets around the country are undergoing a large-scale transition to renewable sources of power. The significant cost reductions of solar and wind over the last decade have placed these technologies in a position they have never been before; more and more frequently the lowest-cost options in the marketplace. Policymakers, regulators, and energy providers have an opportunity here; embrace this change, build on its success, and look for ways to help markets in this transition.
Badger Hollow Solar Farm represents a crucial first step for large utility-scale solar in our state. The investment, jobs, economic development, lease payments to residents and farmers, and tax payments to local governments represent just the beginning of the potential that renewable energy development can hold for rural Wisconsin.
The opportunity going forward that this represents is tremendous. For the last century we have always imported energy resources to our state. Without coal deposits, natural gas, or oil every time we fill our cars or flip on the lights, we send our money out of state. In Wisconsin, last year alone, we sent $15 billion out of this state to meet our energy needs. A market driven transition that includes a larger share of renewable energy offers us the opportunity to bring those dollars home.
Badger Hollow represents what we hope this new era of homegrown renewable energy can be. This project brings to Southwest Wisconsin hundreds of construction jobs, five permanent positions in operations and management, over $3 million in annual lease payments to local landowners, and millions of dollars in increased tax revenue to local units of government. When we talk about the potential for economic gains in Wisconsin from renewable energy, this project is exactly what we point to.
The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum supports this project and we urge members of the PSC to do the same.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed the official proclamation below pronouncing September 24 - 28 Clean Energy Week in our state!
Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum Announces New Addition to Leadership Council
Conservative energy organization continues to expand its presence
(Madison, WI) – Today, the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WisCEF) announced the addition of Benji Backer to its Leadership Council. Backer is a conservative activist from Appleton, Wisconsin and a junior at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the founder of the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), the largest right-of-center environmental organization.
Through ACC, Benji is helping unite Americans on pro-environmental reforms, all while changing the narrative when it comes to conservatives and the environment. “A big part of our mission at ACC is communicating a pro innovation, cost effective, and environmentally sustainable vision for energy production in the United States,” said Backer. “This is one of the reasons I’m excited to join WisCEF to help bring that vision to my home state.”
The goal of WisCEF is to spur a dialogue and provide a vehicle for individuals, organizations, and businesses to join a conservative conversation about Wisconsin’s energy future. The organization’s Leadership Council is comprised of conservative leaders that want to shake up the traditional political lines in energy and move Wisconsin toward a more diverse, cleaner, and renewable energy mix.
Scott Coenen, the executive director of the organization, welcomed Backer to the Council. “Benji, through his work on ACC, has made a national impact on the discussion around environment and energy production. As a young conservative he brings a great perspective to our Leadership Council and a valuable connection to ACC. Conservatives need to emphasize the development of cheap, reliable, and cost-effective energy,” he said. “To do that, we also need to recognize that advances in technology increasingly mean renewable and alternative energy sources fit that description; cheap, reliable, and cost-effective. With Benji we have another strong conservative voice looking to shake things up.”
The launch of the forum provides the opportunity to drive a conservative message. “We founded WisCEF in order to start to change a frustrating and polarized discussion around energy, to bring conservatives to the table to discuss new technologies, and introduce a new conservative message to the renewable energy debate,” said Coenen.
The group is made up of forward-thinking conservatives ready to change the dynamic of the state’s energy conversation. The WisCEF Leadership Council currently includes:
· Tommy Thompson – Former Governor of Wisconsin
· Ryan Owens – UW Madison Professor Political Science
· Mark Honadel – Former GOP State Representative and Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
· Debbie Crave – Vice President of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese
· Matt Neumann – President of Neumann Companies Inc. and Sunvest Solar Inc.
· Jon Hochkammer – Outreach Manager of the Wisconsin Counties Association
· Benji Backer – President of American Conservation Coalition
Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum Announces Energize WI Tour
(Madison, WI) – The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WisCEF) is pleased to announce our “Energize Wisconsin” tour. Energize WI is an unprecedented effort, over the next five months, to visit thirteen locations showcasing the future of energy markets across our state.
Due to falling costs and the increased efficiency of technologies like wind, solar, and battery technology, energy markets have begun a market driven transition to renewable energies. Our goal is to connect legislators, media, and stakeholders with the people working in Wisconsin to turn this transition into an opportunity for economic development, job creation, and inexpensive home-grown power.
WisCEF is a group of conservative individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in sparking a dialogue about Wisconsin’s energy future. We believe that an “all of the above” energy policy must be pursued by increasing our state’s commitment to reducing energy waste and developing “Wisconsin-grown” clean energy resources. Leveraging Wisconsin’s transition to clean and renewable energy will stimulate our economy, lower electricity costs, protect our national and grid security, reduce pollution, and improve public health for all Wisconsinites.
Scott Coenen, Executive Director of WisCEF, said energy markets are changing rapidly, new technology is emerging, and competitive markets are moving in the direction of renewables. Leaders in our state have an opportunity here; embrace this change, build on its success, and look for ways to help markets in this transition,” Coenen said. “Through this tour we hope to help decision makers and stakeholders learn what is already underway in energy markets in every corner of our state, and start having conversations about what we can do to leverage this to Wisconsin’s benefit.”
Energize WI will showcase the significant work already being done in our state to capitalize on and lead the emerging renewable energy economy – ensuring Wisconsin remains competitive regionally, nationally, and even globally for years to come. This tour series will feature sites across Wisconsin, including utility scale wind and solar, bioenergy plants, companies committed to sustainability, rooftop solar installations, and manufacturers up and down the renewable energy supply chain. Energize WI will showcase the future of energy markets in our state and launch a discussion about how we can leverage an emerging international industry to our benefit.
Attached you will find a save the date detailing the sixteen sites we will be visiting across the state and the dates for each tour. Individualized invitations will follow as we get closer to each event. We look forward to seeing first hand how Wisconsin is working to ensure our state has affordable, reliable, and efficient energy for generations to come. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.
Announcing the Launch of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum
Conservative educational organization seeks to highlight “all of the above” approach to energy
(Madison, WI) – Conservative community leaders gathered today at the Wisconsin State Capitol to announce the launch of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WISCEF), an organization that seeks to be a long missing voice for conservatives in the state’s energy policy discussion.
Scott Coenen will serve as the executive director of the organization. Coenen said that WISCEF launches in a unique moment in U.S. energy history. For the first time, many renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind, are cost competitive with fossil fuels. “Conservatives need to emphasize the development of cheap, reliable, and cost-effective energy,” he said. “To do that, we need to recognize that advances in technology increasingly mean renewable and alternative energy fits that description; cheap, reliable, and cost-effective. However, for too long conservatives have not engaged on this issue and we’ve allowed groups on the left to drive the message.”
The launch of the forum provides the opportunity to drive a conservative message. “We founded WISCEF in order to start to change this dynamic, to bring conservatives to the table to discuss these new technologies, and introduce a new conservative message to the renewable energy debate,” said Coenen.
Coenen said too often renewable and alternative energies are thought of as “green” experiments that only serve to drive up the cost of energy. “As new technologies are developed and the market changes, we need to change our pre-conceived notions too. Renewable energy can be about job creation, economic development, and sustainable cost-effective energy. That message is a conservative message.” The group is made up of forwardthinking conservatives ready to change the dynamic of the state’s energy conversation. The WISCEF Leadership Council currently includes:
• Tommy Thompson – Former Governor of Wisconsin
• Ryan Owens – UW Madison Professor Political Science
• Mark Honadel – Former GOP State Representative and Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
• Debbie Crave – Vice President of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese
• Matt Neumann – President of Neumann Companies Inc. and Sunvest Solar Inc.
• Jon Hochkammer – Outreach Manager of the Wisconsin Counties Association
• Jake Margis – Chairman of the Wisconsin Young Republicans
The goal of WISCEF is to spur a dialogue and provide a vehicle for individuals, organizations, and businesses to join the conservative conversation about Wisconsin’s energy future. WISCEF believes that an “all of the above” energy policy, with an emphasis on stimulating the state economy, lowering costs, and protecting national and grid security must be pursued by increasing the commitment to developing “Wisconsin-gown” clean energy resources and expanding energy efficiency. The WISCEF Statement of Principles is attached.
For more information, follow updates on Twitter at @WISCEF and visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WISCEF.
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Announcing the launch of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum
WHO: Scott Coenen – Executive Director, Members of the WISCEF Leadership Council
WHAT: News conference announcing launch of Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum
WHEN: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: State Senate Parlor, Wisconsin State Capitol
Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WISCEF) will announce its launch as a new, innovative organization. The Conservative Energy Forum is dedicated to changing the dynamics of the renewable energy conversation in Wisconsin. The Forum will work to bring conservatives to the table to discuss changes in energy markets, including the development of clean and renewable energy resources, energy efficiency technologies, and the impact these projects can have on jobs and economic development.
The event will take place on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 10 a.m. in the Senate Parlor at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Several members of the WISCEF Leadership Council will be on hand to give brief remarks, followed by time for questions from the media.