For immediate release
January 31, 2012
Small Businesses Request Resumption of Renewable Energy Support
Over 150 small businesses, organizations, schools, and local officials appealed to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to restore full funding for a nationally recognized renewable energy program that reduces the cost of solar, wind, and biomass installations for Wisconsin utility customers.
In an open letter delivered to the PSC yesterday, the signers asked the PSC to “to exercise its oversight authority over Focus on Energy and restore funding, without delay, for renewables at a level consistent with previous years’ allocations.”
The impetus for the open letter arose from RENEW Wisconsin’s Energy Policy Summit held two weeks ago in Madison. At the summit, the 140 people who participated asked RENEW to make Focus on Energy funding restoration its highest policy priority for 2012.
Focus on Energy suspended its support for customer-sited renewable energy systems last July, when rising demand for renewables outstripped available funds. The program administrator said that incentives will be resumed later this year, but no firm timeline has been set.
“This problem needs to be fixed as expeditiously as possible before the funding interruption permanently damages Wisconsin’s renewable energy marketplace,” said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide, nonprofit renewable energy advocacy organization.
“A number of renewable energy installers and contractors are already feeling the effects of the funding hiatus, and the result is less new hiring and potential layoffs down the road. However, we remain optimistic that once funding is restored renewable energy development will once again become a dynamic economic sector and a source of new jobs here in Wisconsin,” said Vickerman.