The current population of Wisconsin is estimated to be 5.83 million people. In April 2019, state utilities used coal (38.1%), natural gas (38.1%), nuclear energy (12.6%) and renewable energy (11.2%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, biomass, wind and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s reliance on coal contributes to state’s above average electricity costs. In April 2019, the average cost of electricity in Wisconsin was U.S. 14.8 ¢ per kWh, which is the 13th most expensive state in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States is 13.3 ¢ per kWh.
Concerns over climate change and escalating coal prices have prompted legislators to encourage utilities to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy projects. Wisconsin is one of thirty states that has an enforceable statewide renewable portfolio standard. The standard requires that 10% of all electricity consumed in the state comes from renewable energy. Wisconsin is one of 24 states with a state-run grant program for utility scale renewable energy projects.
Recently, Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) and We Energies have partnered to acquire 150 MW capacity of the 300 MW capacity of the Badger Hollow Solar Farm in southwestern Wisconsin. The is subject to final approval of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC).
MGE is a regulated electric and gas utility, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. MGE provides electricity to approximately, 315,000 customers in Wisconsin. We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a regulated electric and natural utility. We Energies provides electricity and natural gas to 4.4 million customers in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has long relied on coal to provide power to the state’s grid. Since 2005, coal prices have steadily increased, while renewable energy prices have dramatically fallen. Today, the cheapest forms of power are onshore wind, solar and hydropower. Power from coal-fueled plants is more than double the cost of power from onshore wind farms. Economics and concerns over climate change are causing Wisconsin to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
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