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Paving the Way for a Sustainable Future: Rethinking Utility Regulations in Wisconsin 

Addressing Affordability with Dedicated Renewables 

The affordability gap in Wisconsin's energy sector could be addressed by dedicating a portion of our renewable energy infrastructure to assist struggling customers. Currently, Wisconsin utilities are building thousands of megawatts for commercial use, often outside of Milwaukee, where the largest customer base resides.




As we look towards the future, it's clear that the days of traditional industrial systems are numbered. In Wisconsin, it's time to reconsider our approach to energy and utilities. With over 60,000 people eligible for energy assistance, it's clear our current system isn't working for everyone. Energy affordability is a real issue and with all the talk about renewable investment utility prices are not getting lower they are rising. We need to rethink antiquated laws around net metering, master metering, multi-unit residential, and community solar, and explore new, sustainable solutions that benefit all Wisconsinites. 


The Potential of Community Solar 

Community solar programs allow multiple individuals to share the benefits of a solar farm. Such programs could be a game-changer for Wisconsin, offering a more affordable and accessible solution for those struggling to afford their energy bills. However, current regulations do not fully support such initiatives. "GOP-backed community solar bill in Wisconsin stymied by utility and labor opposition."

Nowhere in We Energies plan do they have a dedicated strategy to address affordability in Milwaukee, it unacceptable especially during a time new long-term investment are being made in utility infrastructure.

 

The Rising Cost of Utilities 

Recent reports have indicated that customers of four out of five of Wisconsin's largest utilities can expect to pay more for electricity in 2024. This increase is primarily driven by the rising costs of natural gas and renewable energy construction costs. These rising costs underscore the pressing need for change in Wisconsin's utility sector. 

 

The Limitations of Current Laws 

Current laws in Wisconsin restrict the development of renewable energy. For example, existing net metering rules limit the ability of solar energy users to sell excess power back to the grid. This reduces the financial incentives for adopting solar power, making it less attractive for homeowners and businesses alike. 

 

Laws around master metering and multi-unit residential restrict the deployment of shared energy systems. This makes it difficult to implement community solar projects, which have the potential to dramatically increase access to renewable energy. 


The time is ripe for change in Wisconsin's utility sector. By updating outdated laws and embracing renewable energy, Wisconsin can unchain itself from outdated industrial systems and create a diverse, efficient, and sustainable utility system that serves all residents equitably.


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