Across the Grid: Fair Rates for Wisconsin’s Dairyland’s 2017 Newsletter

From the desk of the Executive Director

Welcome to the inaugural edition of FRWD’s newsletter. Going forward, pun intended, we plan to reach out to you, your friends, and neighbors, to help get engaged in Wisconsin’s energy discussion. As an organization, we are look toward the needs of the ratepayers of Wisconsin and work within the energy community to ensure that you, as an end user of energy, are afforded the best access to the source of warmth in the winter, cool air in the summer, and light whenever you need it. And we advocate on your behalf to ensure the best possible price for your energy needs.

FRWD looks at the energy discussions of the day with an eye on the future and how access to reliable, affordable energy is brought to you, the consumer.

With that in mind, do you know what the greatest invention in the history of mankind is?

Is it the automobile? The airplane? The telephone? The computer? The short answer to all of these questions is a simple one: no.

The answer is is Electrification. Don’t take my word for it. The National Academy of Engineering named Electrification as the “The Greatest Engineering Achievement of the 20th Century” and called it the “workhorse of the modern world”.

Here at home, the Wisconsin Power Grid brings safe, reliable, and affordable energy to 2.3 Million homes and 400,000 businesses statewide.

It is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, all at the flip of a switch. It also comes in the quantity you want. Whether you need a little to charge your phone or a lot to run your air conditioner the Wisconsin power grid delivers what you need when you need it, without fail.

So what? This all seems fairly obvious.

While it may be obvious, it is now a deeply involved conversation about how electricity is generated and delivered to your home or business. There has never been a greater focus on how energy is generated and brought to the plug in your wall than there is today. This ongoing discussion is vitally important as our grid evolves to ensure that we do not lose sight of what many take for granted.

FWRD is committed to making sure that whatever changes are made involving the Wisconsin electric grid continue to ensure that it brings electricity to our doorsteps when we want it, and in the amounts we want to use, and at a price that we have paid for fairly.

At FRWD, we look forward to a robust 2017. We pledge to continue spreading the vital message of the importance of the grid and the stability that it brings to families and businesses throughout Wisconsin.

Thank you for taking the time to read our first newsletter, we look forward to engaging directly with you in the ongoing discussion of Wisconsin’s energy needs. Make sure you take a minute and like our Facebook page HERE.

For more about Fair Rates for Wisconsin’s Dairyland, please visit our website at www.fairwisconsinrates.com.

Best,

Mark Meyer
Executive Director
Fair Rates for Wisconsin’s Dairyland

Solar Power in Wisconsin – Adding to the Mix
2016 proved to be a banner year for solar power activity in the Badger state. As more and more ratepayer would like to see an increase in their control over the energy that they consume, there has been an uptick in both residential and industrial solar build out in the past year.

Most notably the there have been larger scale development projects that have began either adding to solar arrays in the state or have come into existence through ground breaking projects in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s energy providers have heard the call from their customers and they have begun to spend resources to help their customer base purchase the power that they would like to run their homes and their lives.

For instance, in the spring of 2016 Alliant Energy finished the construction of their energy-learning lad with a number of small solar arrays, several electric vehicle charging stations as well as an energy battery storage system at their Madison headquarters. This in addition to the groundbreaking of the 2-megawatt solar facility that will help run the auxiliary power at the Riverside Energy Center Expansion project in Beloit.

Also, NextEra has announced that they will be building a 100-megawatt solar array in northern Wisconsin and Sun Prairie’s WPPI stated that it is in the midst of contacts to purchase all of the power generated for by that installation for the next 20 years.

Couple this with the announcements last year of initiatives by several municipal utilities for local solar community gardens and we can see why ratepayers in Wisconsin are excited by the growth and opportunity for solar power here at home.

There is an all-time high for the amount of electricity created by solar power, and while it is not enough maintain a secure and reliable grid 24 hours a day, it is a step in the right direction to increase the awareness for renewable energy and how it can work hand in hand with traditional energy resources in the Badger State.

Wisconsin’s utilities have been spending a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources listening to their customer base and are finding new and innovative ways to increase the access to renewable energy while also maintaining the ratepayer’s link to a reliable grid.

With 2016 now behind us, the future in Wisconsin is on a fantastic trajectory to find new and innovative ways to bring customers access to they types of energy they desire.

A Strong Grid, A Strong Workforce, A Stronger Tomorrow
Much like manufacturing, the field of utility work has grown and dramatically changed in the last fifty years.

It used to be that an able bodied person could start work with their local utility fresh out of college, and some time straight out of high school and have a job for life.

Unfortunately those days are behind us, and a new age is upon us. The work force is constantly changing and the typical individual that is a member of today’s growing workforce will work between nine to eleven full time career jobs in their adult life.

What once was unheard of is now commonplace. Like the rest of the economy and today’s more plugged in society, it is time for the utility workforce to evolve, grow, and change with the times.

Life is more faced paced, and our need for access to strong and reliable energy is greater today that it was even 15 years ago.

This is why the marketplace for utility workers is ever changing and adapting to the daily rigors of this ever-changing field continues.

Currently, thousands of people are employed at Wisconsin’s utility companies. Those people are more tuned into to their jobs today, they are more attached to what that job means and how it is directly attached to the state’s budding economy.

People have always taken pride in their work, but the near constant upkeep and construction throughout the state to ensure the stability of our power grid has taken this a step beyond what is to be expected.

Today’s utility workers are plugged into the regulatory atmosphere of what they do, they are plugged in to how the hard work they do every day on the job keeps the lights on and engages the economic engine of the Badger state.

Today’s new utility employees have environmentally conscious, they know exactly what their environmental foot print is, and they know that the work they do today will provide for a cleaner world tomorrow. They know that the all on the table approach toward energy in Wisconsin helps fuel today’s needs while also provides for a new way to look at energy tomorrow.

Utility workers today provide for a vibrant economy while ensuring access to reliable power on a daily basis.

Gone are the days of yesteryear, where one could learn a trade on the job. The workers of today have spent countless hours in classrooms from high schools, to tech colleges, to university lecture halls in order to hone their craft and help make their jobs and immeasurable part of not only our economy, but our communities.

Our lights are on because the utility workers of Wisconsin ensure that they stay on. They have and will continue to be the true muscle behind the engine that makes Wisconsin work, day or night.

Make sure to watch our latest video, below, on the importance of the grid, and how we in Wisconsin rely on it every single day. 

What We Are Reading
Keeping an eye on energy and industry news throughout Wisconsin and beyond

Stevens Point Journal – Pour these 6 ‘green’ Wisconsin beers with pride
Green-dyed beer on St. Patrick’s Day? Yeah, I confess to having quaffed a pint or two in my younger days. I’m not proud of it.

La Crosse Tribune – Dairyland Power wind agreement boosts renewable portfolio
Dairyland Power is adding 80 megawatts of wind energy, a significant step toward reducing the La Crosse, Wis.-based utility’s reliance on fossil fuels.

WFRV News 5 (Green Bay) – Wisconsin’s largest solar power plant to be built in Manitowoc County
Two Rivers and the surrounding area prides themselves on diversifying clean renewable energy and with plans for the largest solar farm in the state of Wisconsin Manitowoc County is becoming a power house in green energy.

Breaking Energy – SolarCity and Tesla – Was It Worth It?
Whether or not SolarCity was a good investment on the part of Tesla has been of speculation late as the company released its latest quarterly report.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – New Upper Peninsula utility to be formed by We Energies, WPS
Wisconsin utility customers won’t have to contribute toward the $255 million price tag to expand the supply of electricity for iron-ore mines, other businesses and homes in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Associated Press – Wisconsin has most successful year for solar power in 2016
New data show that the Wisconsin solar industry saw its most active year of development as it was boosted by a major investment in solar by Dairyland Power Cooperative, other utilities and Target Stores Inc., as well as projects around the state.

Wisconsin Public Radio – As state plans for more digesters, questions pile up
It looks like Wisconsin will be counting on more animal waste digesters to handle the growing amount of cow manure at large dairy farms. The state’s Public Service Commission recently authorized spending up to $20 million in utility ratepayer money on the large waste-to-energy units.

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