New Energy Efficiency Study Finds Big Opportunity for State

, By Jon Drewsen

Focus on Energy Potential Study for 2016 shows how increased funding could save energy and benefit Wisconsin’s economy

A recent study on energy efficiency potential released by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin finds that Wisconsin’s energy efficiency program, Focus on Energy, holds significant economic opportunity for the state that has remained largely untapped.

“Energy efficiency already saves homeowners and local businesses millions of dollars a year, but this study shows that we could be doing so much more,” said Tyson Cook, Clean Wisconsin Senior Director for Energy, Air, and Science. “There’s an opportunity for huge economic benefits on the table here, and the state should seize that opportunity.”

Currently, Wisconsin ranks 20th nationally in saving electricity through efficiency measures, and lags behind Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois, which all save more annually than Wisconsin. The study, released at the end of June, identified $3.02 billion in economic potential with increased funding levels of Focus on Energy in Wisconsin. Current funding levels of Focus on Energy are capped, despite the program providing a more than 3-for-1 return on investment.

“The numbers in the new study are clear: a boost in Focus on Energy funding will bolster the economy and reduce the amount of fuel and energy we need to import from out of state,” said Cook. “Ultimately this will keep costs down for everyone, and will mean more money in the pockets of homeowners and small businesses, and less pollution in our air and water.”

In 2015, Wisconsin sent an estimated total of nearly $4 billion out of the state for coal, natural gas, and electricity. Energy efficiency measures reduce drag on the state economy by cutting spending on energy and increasing investment on in-state solutions.

“Previous studies have shown that energy efficiency boosts the economy and creates jobs throughout the state. With this latest study giving an even clearer picture of just how significant those benefits can be, now is the time to seize the opportunity with increased funding for Focus on Energy.”