Energy Leaders Gather in Madison for Electrify Wisconsin Event
Energy leaders from electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities as well as state and local leaders joined together in Madison recently for a full-day event dedicated to beneficial electrification. The forum was designed to advance cost-effective electrification measures that save consumers money, reduce emissions, and improve the electric grid.
The presentations covered electric vehicle use and charging station expansion and highlighted the many new economic opportunities in electrification including billions in federal funding for electric school buses, upgrading school buildings, and more. The event was sponsored by the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association and the Beneficial Electrification League. Read more here.
Customers First Hosts Forum on Electric Vehicle Policies
Customers First! Coalition hosted “A Candid Conversation About Electric Vehicle Policies” in Madison recently, with industry leaders, utility representatives, and state and local officials in attendance. The discussion centered on policy decisions that will impact the economics of electric vehicles for drivers, utility customers, and taxpayers.
Panel participants included Craig Thompson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation; Josh Fisher, director of state affairs for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation; Steve Baas, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association; Deb Erwin, director of policy and program planning and clean transportation for Xcel Energy; and Kathy Kuntz, director of the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change.
“The private sector has spoken,” Thompson said about the impending increase in electric vehicle use, as evidenced by declarations from automakers who are transitioning their products to electric-powered vehicles.
Wind Energy Share Grows to 8.4 Percent in 2020
The amount of energy the nation gets from wind was up from 2.9% in 2011 to 8.4%, or 337.7 million MWh, in 2020, according to the EIA. The increase is driven by expansion in middle America. Iowa, where wind makes up 57% of the state’s energy output, leads the nation, followed by Kansas at 44%, and South Dakota at 41%. Wisconsin’s wind energy output is about 3%.
White House to Expedite Clean Energy Projects
The White House has launched multiple initiatives aimed at expediting a transition to clean energy—including a fund for major transmission projects and a new “action plan.”
The Department of Energy is creating a new $2.5 billion revolving fund to spur construction of major transmission projects. The Biden Administration has acknowledged that new and upgraded transmission is needed to link expanding renewable power to areas where it is needed.
Biden officials also announced a multi-step “action plan” aimed at streamlining environmental reviews for infrastructure development as the federal government seeks to meet the goal of 100% zero-carbon power by 2035 and a 50% cut in economy-wide emissions by 2030.
Clark Honored at Richland Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting
After more than 31 years of working at Richland Electric Cooperative—the last 25 of them as CEO—Shannon Clark was honored for his service at the Richland Electric Cooperative annual meeting on Saturday, April 30. State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) joined co-op members, staff, and directors in presenting Clark with a legislative Certificate of Commendation honoring his years of service and congratulating him on his upcoming retirement.
Marklein spoke of Clark’s leadership not just at Richland Electric but at the state and national levels as well, noting his work on the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access among other accomplishments.
Amy Martin, the co-op’s current chief financial officer, has been named the co-op’s next CEO.
World Bank: Global Energy Prices to Jump This Year
World Bank released its latest Commodity Markets Outlook report recently, which states commodity prices will remain elevated for years to come, due in part to the war in Ukraine. Food and fuel prices will rise sharply, according to the report, which will be particularly difficult in developing countries.
World Bank predicts global energy prices will jump 50.5% this year compared to last year, after nearly doubling in 2021. Increases in global energy prices over the past two years have been the most significant since the early 1970s, according to Wall Street Journal. The World Bank expects energy prices will fall more than 10% in 2023.
EPA Accepting Applications for Electric School Bus Funds
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting applications for $500 million in funds under the Clean School Bus Rebate Program. The effort is aimed at helping to prompt school districts and their contractors to transition to clean and zero-emission school buses.
School districts may apply for grants ranging from $15,000 to $395,000 per bus to replace diesel engine buses. High-need and low-income school districts, such as those with 20 percent or more students living in poverty, will get priority, as well as rural and remote school districts.
This is the first phase of distribution of the $5 billion program.
For more information, go to www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus .