|Mar 13, 2006|
|NCEL participant Wisconsin Senator Rob Cowles reports his energy efficiency and renewable power bill, SB459, is heading to the Governor's desk. In what one editorial described as a "rare display of bipartisanship," the bill passed by a vote of 32-1 in the Senate and 94-0 in the Assembly this week. The major components of the legislation include:
Public Benefits Reform: Reform the energy efficiency program, known as Public Benefits or Focus on Energy by securing funding at an appropriate level for cost-effective energy efficiency programs. These funds will no longer be used to balance the budget.
Energy Independence for Wisconsin: Increase Wisconsin’s utility renewable usage to 10% by 2015 to reduce the state’s dependence on out-of-state energy. So-called “offramps” were included to mitigate any potential negative rate impacts.
Government Leading By Example: The bill also has sections devoted to increasing conservation and renewable purchases for state government. A lot of energy will be saved by improving building codes for energy efficiency standards and construction practices for both the public and private sector.
Local Government and Agricultural Development: The bill requires a competitively bid program to reduce property taxes by reducing energy costs of schools and local units of government. It will also improve the economic viability of Wisconsin’s farms by reducing on-farm energy costs and promoting renewable infrastructure such as wind and manure digesters.
A copy of the bill can be downloaded here: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2005/data/SB-459eng.pdf
A related article can be viewed online here: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=403255&date=2/21/2006
A press release from Senator Cowles along with a related editorial is attached.
Renewable Bill Assembly Vote 3-06.doc
WI - 2-28-06 Press Gazette editorial re SB 459.pdf