MILWAUKEE (July 31, 2020) – On Monday, July 27, 2020, the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and the Great Plains Institute (GPI) jointly announced 14 recommendations in their Wisconsin Energy Distribution and Technology Initiative report to accelerate innovation and technology deployment in the rapidly-evolving utility sector. These recommendations aim to fuel economic development, drive clean energy job growth and reduce utility customer costs in Wisconsin.
Godfrey & Kahn shareholder, Arthur Harrington, helped shape these recommendations through his role as co-chair of the M-WERC Policy Committee and as a member of the Wisconsin energy stakeholder group.
The stakeholder group included representatives from utilities, consumer advocacy groups, environmental organizations, technology providers, universities, transmission entities and government. In addition to Harrington, members included:
- Tim Baye, University of Wisconsin
- Scott Blankman, Clean Wisconsin
- Tom Content, Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board
- Dennis Derricks, WEC Energy Group
- Tari Emerson, Charter Steel
- Deb Erwin, Xcel Energy
- Joe Fontaine, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
- Pat Henderson, Quad Graphics
- Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin
- Andy Kellen, WPPI Energy
- Bob McKee, American Transmission Company
- Stephen Memory, A.O. Smith
- Maria Redmond, State of Wisconsin
- Keith Reopelle, Dane County
- Jeff Ripp, Alliant Energy
- Brian Rude, Dairyland Power Cooperative
- Erick Shambarger, City of Milwaukee
- Scott Smith, Madison Gas and Electric
- Carrie Templeton, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
- Dan Tarrence, Franklin Energy
- Elizabeth Thelen, Milwaukee 7
- Dan Winter, Faith Technologies
The recommendations, which have been presented to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission and Governor Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change, include:
- Accelerating the 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
- Advancing 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
- Increasing transparency of distribution planning and grid modernization plans through voluntary collaboration between utilities and stakeholders
- Updating Wisconsin’s interconnection rules through a consensus effort that involves key stakeholders
- Fostering innovative programs to help low-income customers, multifamily customers and renters reduce overall cost
“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 highlighted how the recommendations build on existing efforts by companies in the state’s energy, power and controls sector to leverage new technology in solving tough problems and finding 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 said.
The full report contains 14 recommendations regarding emerging energy technology for consideration by the PSC. The PSC plans to conduct a public informational hearing on the recommendations contained in the report this August.
# # #
Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. was founded in 1957 and has more than 170 attorneys located in six offices throughout Wisconsin and in Washington, D.C. As a leading Wisconsin business law firm, Godfrey & Kahn provides a wide range of legal services to businesses and their owners, including guidance on corporate, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, data privacy, digital business, tax and estate planning matters. Visit gklaw.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.