MADISON — Dozens of Wisconsin businesses gathered at the Wisconsin Energy Expo in Madison today to showcase their clean energy and energy efficient technologies and services and call on state leaders to create jobs by strengthening Wisconsin’s energy policies. An impact analysis released by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance detailed benefits to date from Focus on Energy programs and highlighted additional job and consumer energy savings, if energy efficiency policies are reinstated.
“Clean Energy and energy efficiency businesses like ours provide family-supporting jobs for thousands of Wisconsin residents,” said Vicki Lipinski of Procorp Enterprises, a designer of bioenergy digesters based in Milwaukee. “By strengthening clean energy and energy efficiency policies, our leaders can help us create thousands more family-supporting jobs and reduce our dependence on expensive, dirty out-of-state fossil fuels.”
In addition to digester designers, the expo featured Wisconsin-based wind turbine and solar product manufacturers, utilities, and companies that specialize in making homes and businesses more energy efficient. It took place at the Inn at the Park, across from the State Capitol, and legislators were invited to attend and tour the booths displayed by businesses.
The event began with a press conference where the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance unveiled a new report demonstrating the cost-savings and job-creation potential of Focus on Energy, the statewide energy efficiency program. Expanding funding for Focus on Energy to levels recommended by the Public Service Commission in 2010 could create as many as 14,600 new jobs and save Wisconsin homeowners and businesses as much as $946 million on their energy bills, according to the report.
“In the decade since it’s inception, Focus on Energy has proven its ability to lower energy bills and create jobs,” said Kevin Cullather, senior policy manager for Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. “There is no question that expanding funding to Focus on Energy will help create thousands more jobs and save homeowners and businesses millions.”
Clean energy and energy efficiency policies have faced significant rollbacks this year. In March, a legislative committee voted to suspend PSC 128, a rule package that creates uniform statewide standards for the development of safe wind farms in Wisconsin. That suspension created regulatory uncertainty that drove several wind developers out of the state, costing Wisconsin an estimated 950 jobs. Then in May, the Joint Finance Committee voted to eliminate a previously approved funding increase for Focus on Energy that was expected to create thousands of new jobs.
“Clean energy and energy efficiency businesses hold the potential to create thousands of new jobs and be a bright spot in today’s otherwise sluggish economy. Unfortunately, we’ve been moving in the wrong direction this year,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin. “It Gov. Walker and legislative leaders are serious about creating 250,000 new jobs, then they must strengthen clean energy and energy efficiency policies and embrace the job-creating power of businesses like those here today.”
The event was sponsored by: Helios USA, Orion Energy Systems, Wasco Windows, Environmental Systems Inc., Renewegy, Alliant Energy, Franklin Energy, GDS Associates Inc., Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Renew Aire, Riley Electric Supply, and Werner Electric Supply.
Click here for a full copy of the MEEA report.