November 16, 2022
Four Wisconsin communities recognized as national leaders in renewable energy
Public power utilities in Wisconsin are once again receiving national recognition from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for their communities’ renewable energy efforts.
NREL evaluated the renewable energy efforts of utilities in four categories and released lists of the top 10 utilities across the nation. Muscoda Utilities, River Falls Municipal Utilities (RFMU), Stoughton Utilities, and Waterloo Utilities all earned a spot. The four utilities are all not-for-profit, locally owned utilities who are members of WPPI Energy, a wholesale power provider owned by the member utilities it serves.
Green Power Sales Rate
Waterloo Utilities received second place in the nation and RFMU ranked seventh on the list for Green Power Sales Rate. The Green Power Sales Rate compares the ratio of a utility’s renewable energy sales to total sales. In 2021, renewable energy accounted for just over 18% of Waterloo Utilities’ sales and 6% of RFMU’s sales.
Green Power Participation Rate
The Green Power Participation rates measure the percentage of customers who participate in a utility’s renewable or ‘green’ energy programs. In 2021, nearly 15% of RFMU customers voluntarily participated in Choose Renewable, putting the utility in second place.
Receiving sixth place for Green Power Participation was Muscoda Utilities, with over 5% of customers participating, and Stoughton Utilities placed eighth in the nation with just under 5%.
Reaching towards a zero-carbon future
“Our member utilities and their customers continue to help lead the way when it comes to renewable energy,” said WPPI Energy CEO Mike Peters. “These results demonstrate that affordable, accessible renewable energy programs are more important than ever for residents in the communities we serve.”
Customer participation in the WPPI Energy membership’s Choose Renewable program helped the communities obtain the recognition. The program allows customers to sign up to increase their monthly bill by a few dollars to offset their energy usage with power from renewable resources such as solar, wind, and biogas. One Choose Renewable block of 300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) costs $2 per month. A typical home can run on the equivalent of two to three blocks.
WPPI Energy and its member utilities continue to add renewable energy to their overall power supply as well. In September, the Point Beach Solar Energy Center celebrated its one-year anniversary. Located near Two Rivers, Wis., the facility features more than 315,000 solar panels with the capacity to generate 100 megawatts of electricity. WPPI Energy is purchasing the energy, and as member-owners of the organization, Muscoda, River Falls, Stoughton, and Waterloo are all powered by a portion of that energy. With the addition of Point Beach Solar, the WPPI Energy membership is on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions approximately 45% by 2025 when compared to 2005.
WPPI Energy has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions 100% by 2050.