News Briefs


Baldwin, Green, Shankland Honored

The Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association recently presented Champion of Electric Cooperative Awards to U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), and Wisconsin State Representatives Chanz Green (R-Grand View) and Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) for their support of Wisconsin electric cooperatives.

Baldwin played a key role in the 2019 passage of the SECURE Act, which saved co-ops tens of billions of dollars in pension insurance premiums and supported direct-pay incentives for co-ops to deploy new energy technologies. She advocated for funding for Washington Island Electric Cooperative when the underwater power cable suffered catastrophic damage and has fought for broadband funding for rural areas.

In his first term in office, Green has already been instrumental in his work for Wisconsin electric cooperatives. He co-authored the bill to allow electric cooperatives to operate ATVs and UTVs on state highways in certain conditions, which has now been signed into law.

Shankland has been an advocate for electric cooperatives on key issues, including authoring legislation on wild parsnip, which poses an exposure danger to line crews in the field. In 2017, Shankland led the charge advocating for changes to the law relating to the placement of sexually violent persons after a designated placement near the Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, where children are often present.

Sheffield Brings Leadership Message to Co-op Meeting

Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team Head Coach Kelly Sheffield was the featured speaker at WECA’s Education and Lobby Days. Under Sheffield, Wisconsin women’s volleyball has had unrivaled success including four Final Fours and a 2021 NCAA Championship.

Sheffield, speaking with much humility, talked about the importance of good communication, positive thinking, and taking accountability as a leader.

“I think leaders have to have that mindset that if the group isn’t where you want them to be, that is your fault rather than their fault. And that’s something that we try to get our captains to embrace, our seniors to embrace, and our coaches to embrace,” Sheffield said.

Sheffield said the greatest teams are those that demonstrate consistency and are an example of excellence year after year.

New Maps Change Districts

The maps which designate the voting districts for Wisconsin lawmakers will soon be revised. The state Supreme Court ruled the maps are unconstitutional. Political analysts agree they favor Republicans.

The court says new maps must be in place by mid-March because candidates begin filing for office April 15. Several proposals are up for consideration, and the legislature and Governor Tony Evers could select new maps, if they can agree.

For voters, redistricting means incumbent lawmakers, voting districts, and designated polling places will change in some areas of the state.

Home Energy Rebates Programs Coming Soon

Wisconsin’s Home Energy Rebates programs, which will offer rebates for a variety of electric appliances and efficiency upgrades, are getting closer to implementation. Wisconsin has been allocated $149 million for Home Energy Rebates through the Federal Inflation Reduction Act. Focus on Energy recently gathered public feedback on the program.

There will be two program offerings—including a home energy efficiency rebate program—and an instant discount program for efficient electric appliance and home upgrades. The launch date will be announced once the final details of the program are in place.

2024 PAC Fundraiser a Success

The fundraising efforts for Wisconsin’s Electric Cooperatives PAC held in connection with Education and Lobby Days brought in the second-highest total ever at $15,290, and the most since 2019, which set a record at $17,000.

The live auction this year brought in $10,775. The live auction item that earned the highest bid was a hand-made wooden bucket truck, donated by Riverland Energy Cooperative.

The online silent auction brought in a record $2,125, eclipsing last year’s record by more than 50%.

IEA: U.S. Electric Demand Expected to Grow 1.5%

Electricity usage in the United States is expected to increase 1.5% per year from 2024 through 2026, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This is a rebound from last year, when electricity use was down 1.6% due to mild weather, strikes in the manufacturing sector, and inflationary pressures.

The report also says the IEA expects global electricity use will surge 3.4% a year in the next three years, driven by growth in China and other emerging markets.

Meanwhile, the report predicts that wind and solar production in the U.S. will outpace coal-fired generation for the first time in 2024 as more coal plants are retired.