New Year, New Energy Tax Credits
New federal tax credits included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 are now available for consumers as the Biden administration seeks to improve energy efficiency and move toward more clean energy. There is a significant increase in the tax credits available for things such as heat pumps and electrical panels, and energy-efficient windows and doors. The credits are available through 2032 and offer up to $3,200 per year to subsidize the cost of energy-efficient home upgrades including heating, cooling, and water heating.
Also, the state’s Residential Clean Energy program offers a 30 percent income tax credit for rooftop solar, wind energy, geothermal heat pumps, and battery storage through 2032, then drops to 22 percent for 2033 and 2034.
HOME Rebates Now Available
Additional benefits are available from the state for lower- and moderate-income residents of Wisconsin. The state received $75 million in federal funds for the HOME Rebates program, which offers up to $14,000 per household for energy-efficient upgrades, depending on income.
The program covers up to $8,000 for heat pumps, $4,000 for electrical panel/service upgrades, and $1,750 for heat pump water heaters. Investments in efficient electric stoves, electric clothes dryers, and insulation may also be eligible for rebates.
Evers Signs Second Energy Emergency Order
On Friday, January 6, Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #183 declaring an energy emergency in the state of Wisconsin, for the second time in a matter of weeks. Executive Order #183 exempts drivers working to transport fuel from state and federal restrictions for 30 days.
According to the governor’s office, “Due to persisting challenges caused by weeks of severe winter weather and the impact it has on the distribution of residential heating fuel, including heating oil and propane, this Executive Order will allow for the swift and efficient delivery of these products throughout the state.”
In December Evers signed a 10-day order waiving hours-of-service requirements for lineworkers and certain requirements for drivers transporting fuel needed for home heating.
Dairyland Appoints New CFO
Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) has announced that April Wehling, Dairyland’s chief strategy officer, will succeed Phil Moilien as executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Moilien is retiring from the position, which includes oversight of accounting, finance, rates, financial forecasting, enterprise risk management, corporate budget, and supply chain.
Wehling joined Dairyland as controller in October 2016 and also served as director of the enterprise program management office and AVP, strategy. She also has more than two decades of experience working in finance and accounting.
Wisconsin Receives $6 Million for Broadband
Governor Tony Evers and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) announced the state will receive an additional $5,952,197 to plan “for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed internet throughout the state.” The funding, awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The funds will go to the PSC’s Wisconsin Broadband Office to support the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program planning process. BEAD planning funds will support capacity building with regional and local government partners, technical assistance and outreach events, broadband mapping, and workforce planning efforts.
State Accepting Broadband Grant Applications
The state is now accepting applications for the latest round of broadband expansion funds. Governor Tony Evers and Rebecca Cameron Valcq, chair of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC), announced $14.1 million will be awarded in the spring for the Broadband Expansion Grant Program from the Universal Service Fund.
The application period opened December 7, 2022, and ends on February 22, 2023. More information about the Broadband Expansion Grant Program can be found on the PSC website at psc.wi.gov.
Podcast Features Wisconsin Electric Cooperatives
Customers First! Coalition (CFC) featured Wisconsin electric cooperatives in its “Electric Wire” podcast. Rob Richard, WECA director of government affairs, led the discussion along with Kristin Gilkes, CFC executive director. Joining the conversation were Robert Cornell, general manager, Washington Island Electric Cooperative; Monica Obrycki, president and CEO, Eau Claire Energy Cooperative; Karen Newbury, director, Price Electric Cooperative; and Nate Boettcher, president and CEO, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services.
The group covered how cooperatives differ from investor-owned utilities, and the benefits to members because of cooperation among co-ops. They also discuss energy generation and reliability, the new CHARGE EV network for electric vehicle charging at cooperatives, and bringing broadband to cooperative members. This podcast is the third in a series profiling the structure of different utility types.
You can listen to “Getting to Know Wisconsin’s Electric Cooperatives” wherever you get your podcasts, or listen and watch on the CFC YouTube channel.