Wisconsin/EZ Policies

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EZ Policies for Wisconsin

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Download EZ Policies for Wisconsin CSV (rows 1 - 65)

Policy Place Policy Type Active Implementing Sector Summary
Air Pollution Controls (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Various statutes within the Wisconsin Legislative Documents relate to air pollution control. These statutes describe zoning, permitting, and emissions regulations for hazardous and non-hazardous pollutants.
Application Filing Requirements for Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Projects (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province Any utility proposing to construct a natural gas pipeline requiring a Certificate of Authority (CA) under Wis. Stat. §196.49 must prepare an application for Commission review.  These regulations list the information needed for all CA applications, which includes detailed route information and potential environmental impacts. More extensive construction projects may require additional information contained in the application filing requirements (AFR) for pipeline projects.  The AFR also includes information requirements for obtaining wetland or waterway crossing permits from the Department of Natural Resources when coordinated reviews are required under Wis. Stat. §30.025.
Application Filling Requirements for Transmission Line and Substation Construction Projects (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This page describes application requirements for all projects that involve the installation of an electricity transmission line or substation that also require either a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or a Certificate of Authority (CA). Applications must include a discussion of general route impacts, distances to sensitive buildings, impacts on residences and commercial and industrial buildings, and impacts on public and tribal lands.
Brownfield Grants (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Grant Program Yes State/Province WEDC provides Brownfield Grants to local governments and businesses for redeveloping Brownfield sites. The maximum grant award is $1.25 million and a 20-50% match is required, depending on the grant awarded.
Business Opportunity Loan Fund (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Loan Program Yes State/Province WEDC may provide financing options through loans or loan guaranties to businesses that are investing funds to expand or relocate to Wisconsin. WEDC investments generally range between $200,000 and $1 million based on need, quality and quantity of jobs and other program, statute, and policy requirements. Recipients may also be eligible for loan guaranties in addition to or in lieu of loan financing.
Certified Sites (Ready! Set! Build!) (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting
Training/Technical Assistance
Yes Local Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has created, in partnership with Deloitte Consulting (Site Selector Consultant) and community partners, the Ready! Set! Build! Program, which provides consistent standards for industrial site certification in Wisconsin. Certification means that the key approvals, documentations, and assessments most commonly required for industrial uses will already be in place to assist businesses quickly locate on site. Wisconsin communities, organizations, or individuals with a site which has a minimum of 50 contiguous acres that can be developed are eligible for this funding.
City of Madison - Green Madison Residential Revolving Loan Program Wisconsin Local Loan Program Yes Local Green Madison is a revolving loan program for residential energy efficiency improvements. Loans are available for owner-occupied single family residences or owner-occupied multi-family residences of up to three units. Property must be located within the City of Madison. To sign up for the program, interested residents should use the sign up form on the program web site. Residents may also receive cash incentives in addition to the loans through the Residential Incentives Program.
City of Madison - Green Power Purchasing (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Green Power Purchasing Yes Local In 1999, Madison’s Metro Maintenance and Administration Facility began purchasing 25% of its electricity from Madison Gas and Electric’s wind power program. The additional cost to purchase the wind power is approximately $26,000 per year. Metro officials estimate that their wind power purchase is equivalent to running ten buses per year with no carbon monoxide emissions. In 2005, the city established a goal to increase the entire city’s electricity purchases to 10% renewable energy by 2006 and 20% renewable energy by 2010.

In March 2007, the City of Madison Common Council passed a resolution to purchase 10% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2007 and 20% by 2011. The city budget was amended to make available $17,000 for the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs), with a stated preference for those originating in Dane and Madison counties. The Council also resolved to encourage community participation in renewable energy programs through its own Clean Energy Challenge Program, with a goal of being recognized as an EPA Green Power Partner (consumer purchases of green electricity amounting to 2% of total consumption). In 2011, the City now purchases 22% of renewable energy through the Madison Gas and Electric's Green Power Tomorrow program.

In November 2009, the City passed a resolution to join the Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership and become and Energy Independent Community. In joining the Partnership, the City resolved to procure 25% of the City's electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by 2025. According to the 2011 Madison Sustainability Plan, the City plans to continue increasing its purchases.
City of Milwaukee - Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Local Loan Program Yes Local Beginning July 28, 2011, the City of Milwaukee will be offering low-interest loans for solar energy under its Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing program. Loans are available to homeowners of 1-3 unit, owner-occupied homes in Milwaukee. Interest rate maximum is prime rate plus 2.5%, and as low as prime plus 1.5%. Loans are limited to $20,000 and 15 years. Eligible equipment includes solar electric systems of up to 6 kilowatts (kW) and solar hot water systems of up to 8 panels. Projects must be installed by a Focus on Energy Residential Ally installer. Installers can be found here.


The Milwaukee Shines program is also offering a $1,000 cash-back reward to the first 20 participants in the loan program.


Application information is available on the Milwaukee Shines web site.
Climate Action Plan (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Climate Policies Yes State/Province In April 2007, Governor Doyle signed Executive Order 191 which brought together a prominent and diverse group of key Wisconsin business, industry, government, energy and environmental leaders to create a Task Force on Global Warming. The Task Force proposed measures to reduce a variety of the state's greenhouse gas emissions. In July 2008, the Task Force voted overwhelmingly to approve the final report and recommendations, Wisconsin's Strategy for Reducing Global Warming, and forwarded the document on to Governor Doyle for consideration. WICCI formed in 2007 and is a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin–Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. The goal of WICCI is to assess and anticipate climate change impacts on Wisconsin's natural resources, ecosystems, regions and industries (including agriculture, tourism and other human activities) and develop and recommend adaptation strategies that can be implemented by businesses, farmers, public health officials, municipalities, wildlife managers and other stakeholders.
Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States) United States Grant Program
Loan Program
Yes Federal Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.
Dam Design and Construction (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Safety and Operational Guidelines Yes State/Province These regulations apply to dams that are not owned by the U.S. government and (a) have a structural height of more than 6 feet and a maximum storage capacity of 50 acre–feet or more of water, (b) have a structural height of 25 feet or more and a maximum storage capacity of more than 15 acre–feet of water, or (c) have a structural height of 6 feet or less or a maximum storage capacity of less than 50 acre–feet of water if the department determines that the dam is likely to endanger life, health or property if it is not designed, constructed or reconstructed in accordance with this chapter. Dams are exempt from the requirements of these regulations if they meet requirements which are at least as restrictive. Prior to dam construction or reconstruction, hazard ratings must be assigned to the project and estimated costs must be calculated. Additionally, a professional engineer registered in the state of Wisconsin must prepare several documents, which must be submitted to and approved by the Department of Natural Resources prior to the start of the project. These documents include plans and specifications for the dam project, as well as hydraulic, hydrologic, and stability analyses.
Development Opportunity Zone Credits (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Corporate Tax Incentive
Personal Tax Incentives
Yes State/Province The Development Opportunity Zone Credits incent new and expanding businesses in the Cities of Beloit, Janesville and Kenosha by providing non-refundable tax credits to assist with the creation and retention of new, full-time jobs, environmental remediation, and capital investment.
Economic Development Tax Credit Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province The Economic Development Tax Credit (ETC) program was enacted in 2009 and eliminated five existing tax credit programs (Agricultural Development Zones, Airport Development Zones, Community Development Zones, Enterprise Development Zones and Technology Zones) and replaced them with a comprehensive program enabling businesses to earn tax credits based on jobs, capital investment, training and the location or retention of corporate headquarters. The Economic Development Tax Credit Program offers tax credits against a business’s income tax liability. Tax credits may be earned 1) through the creation of full-time positions meeting a pre-determined rate; 2) through capital investments on property and equipment; 3) by providing training to employees; and 4) by locating company headquarters in Wisconsin.
Energy and Utility Project Review (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province The DNR's Office of Energy and Environmental Analysis is responsible for coordinating the review of all proposed energy and utility projects in the state. The Office provides project management within DNR, acting as the main point of contact for project applicants, the Public Service Commission (PSC), other DNR programs and affected stakeholders. The Office provides statewide guidance and consistent application of the regulatory processes established by statutes and rules and provide a corps of experienced natural resource experts whom understand the specifics of energy and utility projects. While the primary mission is to coordinate the regulatory review for siting utility projects, the Office also serves all DNR programs by developing guidance and information on natural resources issues as they relate to the broader planning and infrastructure development efforts for Wisconsin’s energy future.
Enterprise Zone Tax Credits (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Personal Tax Incentives
Corporate Tax Incentive
Enterprise Zone
Yes State/Province The purpose for the Enterprise Zone Tax Credits is to incent projects involving major expansion of existing Wisconsin businesses or relocation of major business operations from other states to Wisconsin. Refundable tax credits can be earned through job creation, job retention, capital investment, employee training and supply chain purchases from Wisconsin vendors.
Focus on Energy Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Public Benefits Fund Yes State/Territory Wisconsin Focus on Energy supports statewide programs that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy*. The program was initially created by Act 9 of 1999 as a public benefit fund (PBF), which also provided energy assistance programs for low-income residents (the Home Energy Plus Program). Focus on Energy was restructured in March 2006 by S.B. 459 (2005 Act 141). This law, most of which took effect July 1, 2007, replaced existing renewable energy and energy efficiency PBF programs with programs that utilities create and fund through contracts with private program administrators, with oversight and approval by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC). Because Act 141 requires utilities to pay directly for programs, the state will not be able to transfer or otherwise use these funds for general obligations. (From 2002 to 2006, the governor and legislature transferred or reallocated more than $108 million from the PBF to the state's general fund or for other uses.) Thus Focus On Energy is no longer precisely a state public benefits program, although it remains a statewide program that serves many of the same purposes that PBFs serve in other states. The 2011 total Focus on Energy budget is approximately $100 million; estimates for 2012 and 2013 are the same.

Wisconsin utilities contract with Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc. to administer the mass markets, targeted markets, and research portfolios. Collectively, the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and research components comprise the Focus on Energy initiative. Focus on Energy provides information, financial assistance, technical assistance and other services to residents, businesses, schools, institutions and local governments. Financial assistance takes the form of rebates, grants and loans.

Under Act 141, each electric and natural gas investor owned utility is required to spend 1.2% of the latest 3-year average of its gross operating revenue on energy-efficiency programs and renewable-resource programs. With PSC approval, a utility may retain a certain portion of the revenue it is required to spend on statewide programs to administer or fund a new energy-efficiency program for the utility's large commercial, industrial, institutional or agricultural customers. Act 141 originally authorized the PSC to specify a higher funding level which would be recovered by utilities through rate increases, but this measure was removed by the 2011 budget act.

"Large energy customers" may implement and fund an energy efficiency project with PSC approval, may deduct the cost from the amount the customer is required to pay its utility for cost recovery. The utility, in turn, deducts that amount from the amount that it is required to spend on statewide or utility-administered programs. A "large energy customer" is defined as a customer that has a monthly energy demand of at least 1,000 kilowatts or 10,000 therms of natural gas and, in any month, has been billed at least $60,000 for electricity or natural gas -- or both -- for all its facilities within a utility's service territory.

The state's municipal utilities and electric cooperatives have the option of participating in the state program or operating their own "commitment-to-community" programs, which are similar to Focus on Energy. There is a cap on fees for these programs of the lesser of $375 per month or 1.5% of the total other monthly charges. The PSC does not oversee "commitment-to-community" programs, but Act 141 does require cooperatives and municipal utilities to submit annual program audit reports to the PSC. These programs remain otherwise unaffected by the Act 141 amendments.

Act 141 also requires the PSC to conduct a review of the programs every 4 years. Focus on Energy is required to meet certain energy savings requirements over each 4-year period. An evaluation issued in November 2012 shows that Focus did not meet its savings requirements in 2011, but still has through 2014 to meet the requirements. In April 2012, as part of the Quadrennial Planning Process, the PSC ordered the funding for renewable resource funding for 2013 and 2014 will only be upheld if 1) the benefit-to-cost ratio of the renewables programs is at least 2.3 and 2) the renewables programs do not reduce energy savings of the entire Focus program more than 7.5%.

History
The original PBF legislation required utilities to fund energy efficiency programs and renewable-energy programs through (1) a public benefits fee that utilities collect directly from customers and (2) mandatory utility "contributions," which utilities recover from customers in rates. The amount of the charge was based on levels of utility expenditures for energy programs prior to the enactment of Act 9. The fee generated approximately $16 million annually, and the charge generated approximately $46 million annually. In fiscal year 2005, these two sources of revenue generated a combined total of $62.9 million for renewables and efficiency. In addition, the state's five major investor-owned utilities administered and funded several related programs required by the PSC. In 2004, the five utilities spent a combined total of approximately $38.8 million on these programs, which included energy-efficiency projects, renewable-energy projects, load management, and related measures.


*The definition of "renewable resource" under Wis. Stat. § 196.374 includes solar, wind, water power (i.e., hydroelectric), biomass, geothermal, tidal or wave, and fuel cells that use renewable fuels. However, at present Focus on Energy does not offer incentives for all of these technologies. Please see the individual listings on the program website for detailed eligibility information.
Forest Road Building Regulations (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has regulations for building a forest road, if development requires one. Regulations include zoning ordinances and permits for stream crossing, grading, stormwater, and wetlands.
Forestry Policies (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The State of Wisconsin has nearly 16 million acres of forested lands in the state. The Statewide Forest Plan, completed in 2004, is carried out by the Wisconsin Council on Forestry together with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. This Plan has been augmented with the Statewide Forest Strategy and Statewide Forest Assessment, both completed in 2010.

The Statewide Forestry Strategy includes goals with respect to Energy and Climate Change, in terms of both use of forestry residues for energy as well as the use of forests in mitigation of the impacts of climate change. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestPlanning/documents/ThemeC.pdf

In addition to these resources, the Wisconsin Council on Forestry issued "Wisconsin's Forestland Woody Biomass Harvesting Guidelines" in 2008 and reviewed in 2013. This document offers specific recommendations for the harvesting of woody biomass from forest land based on best available information. http://wisconsinforestry.org/initiatives/other/woody-biomass

The State Energy Division issued in 2006 the report "Bioenergy in Wisconsin: The Potential Supply of Forest Biomass and Its Relationship to Biodiversity", discussing the potential for forestry residues in renewable energy generation: https://focusonenergy.com/sites/default/files/research/tikalskyfishmurcury_summaryreport.pdf

Policy regarding public forests is governed by Wisconsin Statute Chapter 28: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/28

Financial incentives for the harvesting of forest residues are available in the form of both a corporate and personal tax credit. These credits apply to expenses for harvesting and processing equipment for woody biomass used as fuel. http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Tax_Credits/Woody_Biomass_Harvesting_and_Processing_Investment_Credit/index.aspx

The State Energy Office has launched the Biomass Market Development Initiative, to contribute to the success of the State's Gigawatt Scale Clean Energy Capacity efforts:

http://www.stateenergyoffice.wi.gov/category.asp?linkcatid=3377&linkid=1448&locid=160
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (multi-state) Illinois
Indiana
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin
Ontario
Quebec
Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This Act describes the management of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River basin, and regulates water withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses from the basin. The Act establishes a Council, which is responsible for water conservation and efficiency programs and reviewing proposed projects. Projects which may lead to new or increased water diversions are limited; exceptions are described in this statute. More information can be found on the website of the Council: http://www.glslcompactcouncil.org/
Green Power Purchasing (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Green Power Purchasing Yes State/Territory Under terms of legislation (SB 459) enacted in March 2006, Wisconsin's Departments of Administration, Corrections, Health and Family Services, Public Instruction, Veterans Affairs, and the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System have a goal of purchasing or generating 10% of their power from renewable energy by December 31, 2007, and 20% by December 31, 2011. In July 2008 the Governor announced that the state had completed a green electricity purchase of 92,400 Megawatt-hours (MWh), equivalent to roughly 10% of the annual electricity consumption of the agencies covered by the mandate.

Eligible resources include tidal and wave power, fuel cells using renewable fuels, hydropower facilities less than 60 megawatts (MW), solar thermal-electric systems, photovoltaics (PV), wind, geothermal, biomass, and any other non-conventional energy resources deemed eligible by the state Public Service Commission.

According to the statute, agencies are not required to generate or purchase electricity derived from renewables if the generation or purchase of renewables is not technically feasible or cost-effective.
Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Grant Program Yes State/Province The Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program offers grants of up to $1,000,000 to Wisconsin communities for implementation of redevelopment plans for large industrial sites that have been idle, abandoned, or underutilized for a period of at least five years. Approved projects can use funds for demolition, environmental remediation, or site-specific improvements defined in a redevelopment plan to advance the site to shovel ready status or enhance the site’s market attractiveness.
Impact Loans (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Loan Program No State/Province This program is no longer available.

WEDC may provide forgivable loans to businesses that have expansion projects that will have a significant impact on job creation, job retention, capital investment, and on the surrounding area as a whole. Loans may be up to $2,000,000 and may be forgiven if contract requirements are met for high performing projects.

WEDC will direct Impact Loan funds to the following targeted industry sectors:

- Advanced manufacturing
- Food and beverage processing
- Printing
- Aerospace
- Research and Development
Loan requests under $200,000 should be referred to the appropriate local or area regional loan fund first. Under no circumstances, should WEDC ever serve as the primary lender and the total contribution of public funding should generally not exceed 35% of the total project budget and never exceed the private portion.
Industrial Revenue Bond Issuance Cost Assistance (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Bond Program Yes Local Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) are tax-exempt bonds that can be used to stimulate capital investment and job creation by providing private borrowers with access to financing at interest rates that are lower than conventional bank loans. The IRB process involves five separate entities – the borrower, lender, bond attorney, issuer, and WEDC. WEDC allocates the bonding authority or the volume cap for the program under Wis. Stat. § 238.10.
Interconnection Standards (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Interconnection Yes State/Territory In February 2004, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission adopted interconnection standards for distributed generation (DG) systems up to 15 megawatts (MW) in capacity. All investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and municipal utilities are required to abide by the standard provisions. Electric cooperatives are encouraged -- but not required -- to adopt the state standards. The rules categorize DG systems by capacity and provide for several levels of interconnection review, as follows:
  • Category 1: 20 kilowatts (kW) or less
  • Category 2: larger than 20 kW, but no larger than 200 kW
  • Category 3: larger than 200 kW, but no larger than 1 MW
  • Category 4: larger than 1 MW, but no larger than 15 MW

The PSC has published two sets of standard forms for interconnection, available on the program web site. One set pertains to systems up to 20 kW while the second set applies to larger systems up the maximum size of 15 MW. The PSC also maintains a list of utility interconnection contacts on their Distributed Generation web site. The Wisconsin Distributed Resources Collaborative (WIDRC) has published a set of interconnection guidelines that offer some additional details on the interconnection process.

Generally speaking, Wisconsin's interconnection requirements become more stringent as the system size increases. The rules apply to all public utilities. The 20-kW dividing line between Category 1 and Category 2 installations corresponds to the maximum individual system capacity allowed under the state's net-metering rules. Systems that qualify for net metering are not considered commercial ventures that require commercial liability insurance.

Minimum liability insurance of at least $300,000 per occurrence is required for systems 20 kW and smaller (Category 1) with higher amounts for larger systems based on the category of review under which they fall. However, the law also permits applicants to prove financial responsibility using a negotiated agreement with the utility in lieu of the insurance requirements. Additionally, Category 2-4 facilities must name the utility as an additional insured party in the insurance policy.

Application and study fees vary by category, but systems 20 kW and smaller are not required to pay any fees for application reviews, engineering reviews, or distribution system studies. Facility owners are permitted to file an appeal with the PSC if they believe they are being held to unreasonable requirements, but the rules provide do not provide any guidance on how such appeals will be addressed. In practice, such an appeal would be addressed as a complaint under s. 196.26, Wis. Stats.
Jobs Tax Credit (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province Businesses relocating to Wisconsin or expanding in Wisconsin that are creating full-time employment may be eligible for The Jobs Tax Credit . Jobs created as a result of the tax credit must be maintained for at least five years after an eligibility date set by WEDC.
Local Option - Energy-Efficiency Improvement Loans (Wisconsin) Wisconsin PACE Financing Yes State/Territory Note: The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) issued a statement in July 2010 concerning the senior lien status associated with most PACE programs. In response to the FHFA statement, most local PACE programs have been suspended until further clarification is provided.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Wisconsin has authorized certain local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Wisconsin offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)

Wisconsin enacted legislation (A.B. 255) in May 2009 that amended local governments' existing authority to impose "special charges" for certain services. Originally, local governments were authorized to create programs that charge its citizens for "services," such as snow/ice removal, garbage collection, recycling, weed control, among others. A.B. 255 added energy efficiency improvements -- including renewable energy devices -- to the list. Furthermore, the legislation authorizes local governments to make a loan to property owners for energy efficiency and/or renewable energy improvements. In May 2010 S.B. 624 added water efficiency measures to the list of eligible improvements.

The original legislation limited such loans to residential premises, but the law was expanded by S.B. 624 to include commercial and industrial properties. The repayments are considered a "special charge" and may be collected in installments. Responsibility for the charge may be passed on to the next owner of the property if it is not completely repaid by the time of sale. Municipalities may enter into an agreements with the owner or lessee regarding loan payments to a third party for owner-arranged or lessee-arranged financing. Additionally, such a third party may collect the special charges allowed under the law.

Each local government that chooses to offer a PACE financing program must determine the eligible energy efficiency or renewable energy technologies, identify a funding source, develop the terms of the loan, and program specifics. For projects of $250,000 or more, all municipalities must require that contractors or projects engineers guarantee that the improvements will result in a savings-to-investment ratio of greater than 1.0. If the project fails to meet that standard, the contractor or engineer must pay the owner any shortfall in savings below that level. For projects less than $250,000, municipalities may require a third-party review of the projected savings before approving the project.

As of August 2011, local PACE programs had been launched by three local governments, as follows:

  • Milwaukee - Milwaukee Shines Solar Loan Program (this has since been suspended)
  • River Falls Municipal utilities - Save Some Green Renewable Energy Finance Program
  • Racine - Retrofit Racine Energy Efficiency Program (this has since been suspended)
Capital Assets Deferral and Asset Exclusion Qualified Wisconsin Business (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Personal Tax Incentives
Corporate Tax Incentive
Yes State/Province WEDC may certify businesses as a “Qualified Wisconsin Business”. The designation allows investors with WI capital gains tax liability to both defer that tax liability and if an investment is maintained for a minimum of 5 years to exempt the asset from Wisconsin capital gains tax on exit of the investment. As of January 1, 2014, this program will be transferred to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. This program expands and improves on a program under Wis. Stat. 238.20 the “Qualified New Business Venture Capital Gains” program that allows for long term capital gains deferral. The intent is to promote the development of early-stage capital availability by providing an incentive to reinvest capital gains into Wisconsin business and for holding WI based investments long term.
Madison Gas & Electric - Clean Power Partner Solar Buyback Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Performance-Based Incentive Yes Utility The Clean Power Partners Program has reached the 1 MW cap. Applicants can be placed on a waiting list or participate in MGE's net metering program.


Customer-generators enrolled in the Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) green power purchase program (Green Power Tomorrow) are eligible to receive a special rate for the power produced from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Under this program, the electricity produced from 1 to 10 kilowatt (kW-DC) PV systems will be purchased by MGE at a rate of $0.25/kilowatt-hour (kWh). This rate will apply to all electricity produced by the system. As the program is limited to Green Power Tomorrow participants, customers will purchase electricity from the utility at the normal retail rate plus the green power premium (currently $0.0125/kWh).

Annual green energy purchases must be at least as large as the AC output of the PV system. This arrangement requires that the customer have two electricity meters: one to measure electricity production and one to measure electricity consumption. MGE will provide the additional meter but the customer must pay for an electrician to supply and install a two-meter socket and any other modifications necessary for system function.

Only PV systems installed after March 6, 2007 are eligible for this program. The favorable purchase rate does not apply to other types of customer-owned renewable energy systems, however, such systems remain eligible for net metering provided they meet the state requirements. Participants must sign a 10-year contract with MGE but may opt-out with 30 days notice. Systems must be designed and installed to comply with Wisconsin interconnection standards. Any renewable energy credits (RECs), emission allowances, or other environmental attributes generated by the system while the contract is in force will accrue to MGE rather than the customer-generator. The overall enrollment for this program is capped at 1,000 kW.

Further information on this program is available from the program website or through consultation with the utility.
Midwest Independent System Operator (Multiple States) Montana
North Dakota
South Dakota
Minnesota
Iowa
Missouri
Wisconsin
Illinois
Michigan
Indiana
Kentucky
Manitoba
Interconnection Yes Non-Profit Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) is a Regional Transmission Organization, which administers wholesale electricity markets in all or parts of 11 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO administers electricity transmission grids across the Midwest and into Canada, and provides tools, transmission planning strategies, and integration for utilities in those markets. MISO is working with PJM Interconnection to develop complementing system operations and one robust, non-discriminatory wholesale electricity market to meet the needs of all customers and stakeholders in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Canadian province of Manitoba. The market is being developed through an open stakeholder process and is being designed to serve residents regardless of whether they reside in states with bundled or unbundled retail rates.
Midwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste (Multiple States) Indiana
Iowa
Minnesota
Missouri
Ohio
Wisconsin
Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact is an agreement between the states of Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin that provides for the cooperative and safe disposal of commercial low-level radioactive waste. The Compact was enacted into law by each member state legislature during the period from 1982 through 1984, and received Congressional consent in 1985. The Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission is the administrative body of the Compact. It consists of one voting Commissioner from each of the six member states. Each state determines how it will appoint its Commissioner, and the state’s Governor must provide written notification to the Commission of the appointment of a Commissioner and any Alternate Commissioners.
Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (Multiple States) Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Montana
North Dakota
Ohio
South Dakota
Wisconsin
Manitoba
Green Power Purchasing Yes Non-Profit The Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS®) tracks renewable energy generation in participating States and Provinces and assists in verifying compliance with individual state/provincial or voluntary Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and objectives. M-RETS® is a tool to keep track of all relevant information about renewable energy produced and delivered in the region. Currently, several States and Provinces participate in M-RETS®: Illinois, Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have policies in place requiring or strongly encouraging utility development of renewable resources. M-RETS® uses verifiable production data for all participating generators and creates a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) in the form of a tradable digital certificate for each MWh.
Navigable Waters, Harbors and Navigation (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This statute details regulations relevant to navigable waterways and harbors. Depending on the project design of a proposed dam or hydropower structure, some of these regulations may apply.
Net Metering (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Net Metering Yes State/Territory The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) issued an order on January 26, 1982 requiring all regulated utilities to file tariffs allowing net metering to customers that generate electricity with systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW)* in capacity. The order applies to investor-owned utilities and municipal utilities, but not to electric cooperatives. All distributed-generation (DG) systems, including renewables and combined heat and power (CHP), are eligible. There is no limit on total enrollment.

The PSC has not adopted administrative rules for net metering.** Utilities' net-metering tariffs contain some variations. Customer net excess generation (NEG) is generally credited at the utility's retail rate for renewables, and at the utility's avoided-cost rate for non-renewables. NEG credit is carried over to the customer's next bill. If NEG credit exceeds $25, then the utility must issue a check for the amount, payable to the customer. In December 2011, the PSC approved a process for Xcel to reconcile NEG credits to customers on an annual basis at the avoided-cost rate.


* Some utilities allow net metering for systems larger than 20 kW. In these cases, excess generation rates, carry-over processes, and capacity limits vary by utility. These provisions are specified in the utility tariffs.

** Subsequent PSC decisions issued June 21, 1983 in docket numbers 05-ER-11, 05-ER-12 and 05-ER-13, further implemented Sections 201 and 210 of the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA). These decisions were confirmed by an order issued September 18, 1992, in docket number 05-EP-6. This last order addresses net metering as it applies to Wisconsin's investor-owned utilities.
Nonmetallic Mining Reclamation (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province These regulations describe standards relevant to reclamation that must be followed both during and after the completion of mining in a given area. An operator who wishes to engage in nonmetallic mining must obtain a mining reclamation permit, which sets standards for the eventual reclamation of the site. Additional provisions apply for mining for transportation purposes and mining that occurs near waterways. Subchapter II of these regulations sets standards for oil and gas exploration and production. Exploration requires a license from the Department of Natural Resources and cannot extend beneath the beds of the Great Lakes or of bays or harbors adjacent to the Great Lakes.
Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals Yes State/Province This entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in Wisconsin as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (North Dakota, South Dakota) may be lower.
Rate-Making Policy (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Generating Facility Rate-Making Yes State/Province WI Act 7 states that, when proposing the purchase or construction of an electric generating facility, a utility may "apply to the [WI Public Service Commission] for an order specifying in advance the rate-making principles" that the Public Service Commission will use for "future rate-making proceedings." The Nuclear Energy Institute highlights that "There is no restriction on the type or the size of electric generating unit for which rate-making principles can be set in advance." Rate-making principles apply to the utility's capital cost recovery, including: (i) price of the facility, (ii) modifications, and/or (iii) improvements. Therefore, a utility can undertake a project with clear expectations for future cost recovery.
Regulation of Dams and Bridges Affecting Navigable Waters (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province Chapter 31 of the Wisconsin Statutes lays out the regulations relevant to dams and bridges on or near navigable waters. This statute establishes that the Department of Natural Resources has regulatory oversight of all such structures, and describes the permitting and inspection process for dam construction, maintenance, and operation. Dam construction is expressly limited or prohibited on several rivers and river segments, including the Brule River and the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Dams proposed on non-navigable streams are not subject to these restrictions, and may be built for any purpose with the consent of the land owner, unless additional municipal regulations apply.
Relocated Business Tax Credit or Deduction (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Corporate Tax Incentive No State/Province Relocated Business Tax Credit or Deduction is available for an income tax holiday to businesses that relocate to Wisconsin if they have not done business in the state during the two previous taxable years. The company must also move at least 51 percent of the business workforce payroll or at least $200,000 of the workforce wages to Wisconsin during the year the credit is claimed. The credit is equal to the amount of income or franchise tax liability, after applying all other allowable credits, deductions, and exclusions, for two consecutive taxable years beginning with the year in which the taxpayer’s business relocates to Wisconsin from another state and begins doing business in Wisconsin. A relocated business tax credit or deduction is available for taxable years beginning January 1, 2011 and before January 1, 2014.
Renewable Energy Competitive Incentive Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin State Grant Program Yes State/Territory Note: See the program web site for information regarding future solicitations.


Wisconsin Focus on Energy offers a competitive grant to support the deployment of large renewable energy projects. Grant recipients and projects must be located in a participating electric or gas utility's service territory. The program web site above contains an interactive tool to assist people in determining their eligibility for different programs.


2014 Program Year


The program did not have a budget for 2014. However, the grant amount increased from 40% - 50% of total project costs. Maximum incentive amounts for eligible technologies remains the same. See the program website for information on grant recipients this year.


2013 Program Year


Eligible technologies for the 2013 grants include biomass, biogas, geothermal, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, and wind technologies. Grants are available for between 10% and 40% of eligible projects costs, with a minimum award of $5,000. Required payback periods and grant maximums vary by technology and are outlined below. Focus on Energy has allocated $9 million for the competitive grant program for 2013, with 75% reserved for Group One technologies (biogas, biomass, and geothermal) and 25% reserved for Group Two (solar PV, solar thermal, and wind).


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Renewable Energy Sales Tax Exemptions (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Sales Tax Incentive Yes State/Territory Wisconsin has two sales tax exemptions that apply to renewable energy. Legislation enacted in 1979 exempts wood sold as a fuel for residential use from the state sales and use tax (Wis. Stat. § 77.54(30)). Residential use means use in a structure or portion of a structure which is the person's permanent residence. A clause was added in 2007 expanding the exemption to include sales of all biomass -- as defined in Wis. Stat. § 196.378 (1) (ar) -- used as fuel for residential use. This definition includes wood, energy crops, biological wastes, biomass residues, and landfill gas.

The original Wis. Stat. § 77.54(30) was also amended in 1987 to exempt the sale of qualifying biomass residues used as fuel for business activity from the state sales and use tax gross receipts. Qualifying residues are defined as arising from the "harvesting of timber or the production of wood products, including slash, sawdust, shavings, edgings, slabs, leaves, wood chips, bark and wood pellets manufactured primarily from wood or primarily from wood residue."

Separately, legislation was enacted in 2007 (Wis. Stat. § 77.54(56)) to exempt products whose power source is wind, solar radiation, or gas produced from the digestion of animal manure and other agricultural wastes from the sales and use tax, effective July 2009. However, in 2009 this section of code was amended (2009 Act 28) to delay the effective date of the exemption until July 1, 2011. In order to be considered an eligible product, devices must be capable of producing at least 200 watts of alternating current or 600 British thermal units per day. The exemption under does not apply to un-interruptible power sources that are designed primarily for computers. The law also exempts "receipts from the sale of and the storage, use, or other consumption of electricity or energy" produced by a qualifying system.


The Department of Revenue adopted an Emergency Rule in June 2011 to clarify the definition of "product." These rules were replaced with final rules (Tax 11.10) in August 2012. The rule reiterates that for the purposes of the exemption, "product" means "tangible personal property that converts wind energy, direct radiant energy received from the sun, or gas generated from the aerobic digestion of animal manure and other agricultural waste into alternating current electricity or heat." This does not include items that store the energy or consume electricity or heat, a foundation built for the system, items used to "convey, transfer, or alter" the generated electricity or heat, or items used to transfer or store liquids or gases used in energy generation. Certain exceptions apply; consult the rule for further details, or contact the Department of Revenue.

Generally, purchasers must complete Form S-211, Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate and provide the completed form to the seller in order to claim the sales tax exemption. Questions should be directed to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Renewable Portfolio Standard (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Renewables Portfolio Standard Yes State/Territory In 1998 Wisconsin enacted Act 204, requiring regulated utilities in eastern Wisconsin to install to an aggregate total of 50 MW of new renewable-based electric capacity by December 31, 2000. In October 1999 Wisconsin enacted Act 9, becoming the first state to enact a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) without having restructured its electric-utility industry. Wisconsin's RPS originally required investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives to obtain at least 2.2% of the electricity sold to customers from renewable-energy resources by 2012. Legislation enacted in March 2006 increased renewable-energy requirements and established an overall statewide renewable-energy goal of 10% by December 31, 2015. The requirements are as follows:
  • For the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, each electric provider (including investor-owned and municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives) may not decrease its renewable-energy percentage below the electric provider's average renewable-energy percentage for 2001, 2002 and 2003.
  • For the year 2010, each electric provider must increase its renewable-energy percentage by at least two points above the electric provider's average renewable-energy percentage for 2001, 2002 and 2003.
  • For the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, each electric provider may not decrease its renewable-energy percentage below the electric provider's renewable-energy percentage for 2010.
  • For the year 2015, each electric provider must increase its renewable-energy percentage by at least six points above the electric provider's average renewable-energy percentage for 2001, 2002 and 2003.
  • For each year after 2015, each electric provider may not decrease its renewable-energy percentage below the electric provider's renewable-energy percentage for 2015.

Electric providers, wholesale suppliers and customers of electric providers may petition the PSC for an extension of a compliance deadline. By June 1, 2016, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) must determine if the state has met a renewable-energy goal of 10% by December 31, 2015. If the goal has not been achieved, the PSC must indicate why the goal was not achieved and must determine how it may be achieved.

Eligible Technologies

Qualifying electricity generating resources include tidal and wave action, fuel cells using renewable fuels, solar thermal electric and photovoltaics (PV), wind power, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass (including landfill gas). In May 2010, the RPS was amended to allow certain resources that produce a measurable and verifiable displacement of conventional electricity resources to also qualify as eligible resources (i.e., non-electric resources which displace electricity). Furthermore, the new law permits electricity generated (or electricity displacement) by certain waste resource technologies to qualify for the standard. The PSC developed rules in Docket 1-AC-234 (effective April 2012) defining the additional eligible technologies, including: solar water heaters; solar light pipes; ground source heat pumps; and installations that generate thermal output from biomass, biogas, synthetic gas, densified fuel pellets, or fuel produced by pyrolysis. The rules also established standards for measuring and verifying non-electric technologies.

Renewable energy generated outside of Wisconsin is eligible, but the electricity must be used to meet a provider's retail load obligation in Wisconsin (i.e., it must be delivered to Wisconsin customers).

Electricity generated by hydropower receives special treatment. For small hydropower (less than 60 MW), utilities receive credit for the sum of (1) all hydropower purchased in a reporting year, (2) the average of the amounts of hydropower generated by facilities owned or operated by the utility for 2001, 2002 and 2003, adjusted to reflect the permanent removal from service of any of those facilities and adjusted to reflect any capacity increases from improvements made after January 1, 2004; and (3) the amount of hydropower generated in the reporting year by facilities owned or operated by the electric provider that are initially placed in service on or after January 1, 2004. As a result of S.B. 81 enacted in July 2011, beginning December 31, 2015 (the effective date of S.B. 81), electricity from large hydropower facilities (60 MW or more) can be counted toward the RPS requirement if the facility was placed in service on or after December 31, 2010. Facilities in Manitoba, Canada are eligible if certain requirements are met.

Renewable Energy Certificates and Renewable Resource Credits

Under the RPS, electricity providers may create and sell or transfer both Renewable Resource Credits (RRCs) and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

  • A REC is defined as a certificate representing one MWh of total renewable energy that is physically metered with the net generation measured at a certified renewable facility's bus bar and that is delivered to a retail customer with the retail sale measured at the customer's meter. Transmission and distribution losses between the bus bar and the customer's meter are ignored.
  • An RRC is defined as either 1) a REC that exceed a utility's minimum requirements or 2) a certificate representing one MWh of displaced conventional electricity.

RRCs may be used in subsequent years; however, RECs that are not RRCs may only be used for compliance in the year that the REC was created. Existing installations that qualify as renewable energy resources are eligible to be counted towards a utility's compliance, however, only generation capacity (including incremental additions at existing installations) added after January 1, 2004 is eligible to generate tradable RRCs. An RRC created before January 1, 2004 could be used for compliance until December 31, 2011, after which it expired. An RRC generated after January 1, 2004 may be used for compliance up to 4 years after the year in which it was created.

The Wisconsin PSC was one of principal developers of the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) to be used for this purpose. Public reports detailing utility progress under the RRC program are available here on the M-RETS web site. The PSC is also required to submit a report to the Wisconsin legislature and governor every other year evaluating the impact of the RPS on the rates and revenue requirements of utilities. The most recent report was released in June 2012. In November 2012, the PSC accepted electric provider compliance reports, finding all electric providers and aggregators to be in compliance with the 2011 requirements.
Requirements for Power Plant and Power Line Development (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This page describes requirements for obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or a Certificate of Authority (CA), one of which is required for any new power plant construction.
Residential Enhanced Rewards Program Wisconsin State Rebate Program Yes State/Territory Focus on Energy offers incentives for income-qualifying customers for the purchase of high efficiency heating equipment. Owner-occupied single-family and multifamily residences of 3 units or less are eligible for the incentives. Applicants must be able to document a gross household income of 60-80% of the State Median Income. See the program web site for income eligibility requirements and application materials; income verification must be completed prior to incentive payment. For the 2012 program year, equipment must be installed between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, and program applications are due by March 31, 2013. For the 2013 program year, equipment must be installed between January 1, 2013 and May 31, 2013; applications must be postmarked within 90 calendar days of installation.

In order to apply, interested customers must first complete the Income Eligibility Application, available on the program web site. Eligible applicants will be notified via mail and either phone or email. Customers that are not eligible for the Enhanced Rewards Program may be eligible for the Residential Rewards Program. Once approved, the customer can purchase and install the equipment. See the program web site for a full list of eligible equipment (effective December 10, 2012). After the equipment is installed, the customer must fill out and submit a Rewards Application within 90 days of equipment installation to the Focus on Energy program.

Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control the state's growing demand for electricity and natural gas.

Please note that customer eligibility for Focus on Energy incentives is based on utility participation; interested individuals and companies should use the eligibility tool on the program web site to determine if their local utility participates in the Focus on Energy program. Further incentive details, applications, and other information are available on the program web site.

Certain customers may also qualify for the Express Energy Efficiency Program, which offers free energy efficient lighting, pipe wraps, faucet aerators, showerheads, and water heater thermostat setbacks assistance. In-store lighting discounts are also available to Focus on Energy customers.
River Falls Municipal Utilities - Distributed Solar Tariff (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Performance-Based Incentive Yes Utility River Falls Municipal Utilities (RFMU), a member of WPPI Energy, offers a special energy purchase rate to its customers that generate electricity using solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The special rate, $0.30/kilowatt-hour (kWh), is available to all the RFMU customers on a first-come, first-served basis for systems up to 4 kilowatts (kW). The RFMU program is part of a larger solar buyback program being offered by WPPI to its member utilities, which has a total program limit of 300 kW.


RFMU was originally allocated 10 kW for their tariff, but because of the program's popularity, that limit has been increased several times, and is now limited to 30 kW. As of May 2013, the program has 14.4 kW of solar installed with an additional 12 kW in queue for installation.

It is important to note that this is not a net metering arrangement. Instead, the customer continues to pay their normal retail rate for electricity that they purchase from the utility. All of the energy generated by the customer's PV system is metered separately and exported directly to the grid. The $0.30/kWh incentive is applied to all of the energy the system produces for a period of 10 years, under a written contract with the RFMU. The customer receives payment as a monthly credit on their electricity bill. RFMU then resells the energy to WPPI Energy.

This arrangement requires the installation of a second generation meter at the customer's expense. Participants are also charged an additional metering fee of $1.00/month. Systems and components are required to comply with all applicable national, state, and local electric codes, rules, and regulations, including the State of Wisconsin's Standard Interconnection Rules. WPPI Energy takes title to all renewable energy credits (RECs) or other environmental attributes produced by systems enrolled in the program.

Prospective participants can visit the program website or use the contact information below for more information on this program.
River Falls Municipal Utilities - Renewable Energy Finance Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin PACE Financing Yes Local River Falls Municipal Utilities (RFMU) offers loans of $2,500 - $50,000 to its residential customers for the installation of photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal, geothermal, wind electric systems. The program will also support the installation of energy efficiency measures in connection with a qualifying renewable energy project, provided that the renewable energy portion of the project comprises at least 50% of project costs. Systems that generate renewable electricity must be connected to the RFMU distribution grid. Loan terms vary by project, but may range from 5 -20 years at a current interest rate of 4%. Actual loan terms will be determined by program personnel based on the payback period for the improvements. In order to qualify for a loan, the project energy savings associated with a project must be at least 75% of the cost of the project plus loan interest over the life of the loan. In addition, projects for which costs exceed 125% of the average cost of similar improvements (as determined by program personnel) are not eligible for loans.



In order to receive a loan through this program, the home must already qualify as a Wisconsin Energy Star Home, or the applicant must first have a Home Performance with Energy Star home energy assessment performed prior applying for a loan. For PV and wind electric systems, a site assessment by a Focus on Energy (the state incentive program) approved contractor is also required, while an assessment is recommended for solar water heating projects. Systems must generally meet the requirements of the Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Incentives in order to qualify for a loan. Solar space heating and geothermal heating and cooling systems are not covered by the state program and thus are subject to separate standards. The program web site contains a detailed, step-by-step summary of the procedures a customer must follow in order to participate. Program pre-approval is required prior to the installation of any improvements.

The program is unique in that the repayment of loans takes place as a special fee on the customer's annual property tax bill (sometimes referred to as Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE financing) as authorized by Wis. Stat. § 66.0627 (click here for a summary of the enabling law). The applicant must own the property upon which the improvements take place. Should the original owner of the property transfer ownership to another party, the balance of the loan is due immediately on the date of sale. However, the new owner may instead request approval to assume the loan balance under the existing terms and conditions.
Site Assessment Grants (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Grant Program Yes Local WEDC will provide grants up to $150,000 to local governments seeking to redevelop brownfields with pre-development work to identify and quantify any contaminants.
Solar and Wind Energy Equipment Exemption (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Property Tax Incentive Yes State/Territory In Wisconsin, any value added by a solar-energy system or a wind-energy system is exempt from general property taxes. A solar-energy system is defined as "equipment which directly converts and then transfers or stores solar energy into usable forms of thermal or electrical energy, but does not include equipment or components that would be present as part of a conventional energy system or a system that operates without mechanical means." A wind-energy system is defined as "equipment which converts and then transfers or stores energy from the wind into usable forms of energy, but does not include equipment or components that would be present as part of a conventional energy system." Passive solar design elements do not qualify under these rules. The exemption applies regardless of whether the equipment is deemed real property or personal property. In order to qualify for the exemption, property owners must file a request for the exemption with their local assessor by March 1st following the January 1st assessment date for which the exemption is claimed.
Solid Waste Reduction, Recovery, and Recycling (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This statute expresses the strong support of the State of Wisconsin for the reduction of the amount of solid waste generated, the reuse, recycling and composting of solid waste, and resource recovery from solid waste. The statute also notes that research, development and innovation in the design, management and operation of solid waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and resource recovery systems and operations are necessary and should be encouraged in order to improve the processes, lower operating costs and provide incentives for the use of these systems and operations and their products. The legislature recognizes the necessity of the state to occupy a regulatory role in this field and the necessity to give municipalities and counties certain powers to adopt waste flow control ordinances in order to require the use of recycling and resource recovery facilities.
Storm Water Discharge Permits (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province Wisconsin's storm water runoff regulations include permitting requirements for construction sites and industrial facilities, including those processing or extracting coal or gas. The purpose of the regulations is to minimize the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff.
Technology Development Loans (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Loan Program Yes State/Province Technology Development Loans help innovative companies with promising economic futures clear the hurdles associated with bringing new technologies, products, and concepts to market. Loan funds typically cover about 25% of the project costs.
Transportation Economic Assistance Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Grant Program Yes State/Province The Transportation Economic Assistance Program provides state grants to private business and local governments to improve transportation to projects improving economic conditions and creating or retaining jobs. Grants up to $1 million are available for essential economic development projects.
Radiation Protection (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Safety and Operational Guidelines Yes State/Province This statute seeks to regulate radioactive materials, to encourage the constructive uses of radiation, and to prohibit and prevent exposure to radiation in amounts which are or may be detrimental to health. Any installation of ionizing radiation equipment must be registered with the State. Testing for radiation emission will be conducted within 20 miles of a nuclear power plant, and the owners of each nuclear power plant in the state will be charged an annual fee of $30,000 per plant, to finance radiation monitoring under this section. The State of Wisconsin's radiation control agency is given broad responsibility under this statute for rule-making and enforcement, education, investigation, training, research, radiation measurement, and inspection.
Water Conservation and Water Use Efficiency (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes Local Wisconsin has several statutes that promote water conservation and controlled water use, and this legislation establishes mandatory and voluntary programs in water conservation and water use efficiency. The mandatory program applies to new and increased large withdrawals of water in the Great Lakes Basin, new and increased diversions of Great Lakes water, and persons applying for an approval for a water loss that averages more than 2 million gallons per day (anywhere in the state). Proposed water withdrawals and diversions are categorized into one of three tiers. New and increased water withdrawers in the Great Lakes Basin applying for coverage under a General Water Use Permit or an Individual Water Use Permit are in Tiers 1 and 2, respectively, while new or increased diversions of Great Lakes water and new or increased water withdrawals statewide that result in a water loss of more than 2 million gallons per day averaged over 30 days comprise Tier 3. Proposals in each tier must develop a water conservation plan and implement four prescribed basic Conservation and Efficiency Measures (CEMs); proposals in Tiers 2 and 3 must, in addition, implement four intermediate CEMs or choose their own CEMs to reduce water use or increase efficiency by 10 percent; and proposals in Tier 3 must also identify and implement all available CEMs that are cost effective or environmentally sound and economically feasible. The four basic Tier 1 CEMs are conducting a water audit, developing a leak detection and repair program, educating staff and customers about water conservation activities, and measuring all sources of water.
Water Use Fees (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Fees Yes State/Province Annual $125 water use fees are charged by the State of Wisconsin to each property that has the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more from groundwater and/or surface water, and an additional graduated fee applies in the Great Lakes Basin for withdrawal of more than 50 million gallons per year. Revenue is used to develop and maintain a statewide water resources inventory of water use and water availability throughout the state, document and monitor water use through the new registration and reporting requirements, monitor groundwater and surface water quantity, implement the Great Lakes Compact through water use permitting and regulating diversion of Great Lakes Basin waters, help communities plan water supply needs, and build a statewide water conservation and efficiency program.
Water Use Permitting (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes Local Withdrawers in the Great Lakes Basin who withdraw water in quantities that average 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30-day period are required to get a water use permit. Two types of water use permits exist: a general permit is required for withdrawals that average 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30-day period but do not equal at least 1,000,000 gallons per day for 30 consecutive days. An individual permit is required for withdrawals that equal at least 1,000,000 gallons per day for 30 consecutive days. There are no permit application fees.
Water Use Registration and Reporting (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province Large water supply systems (e.g. well or surface water intake pipes) with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) or more of groundwater or surface water must register, measure, track, and report their monthly water withdrawals to the Water Use Program within the WI Department of Natural Resources.
We Energies - Direct Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy Projects (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Utility Grant Program No Utility This program is no longer active

We Energies, a Wisconsin-based investor-owned utility, offers non-profit and local government customers grants up to $100,000 to support the installation of renewable energy projects such as photovoltaic (PV), wind, biomass, anaerobic digestion, small hydroelectric systems. The Direct Financial Incentives Program is available to nonprofits (including schools and academic institutions) and units of government (including special districts and authorities defined as government entities under Wisconsin law). In most cases, customers retain ownership of the renewable-energy credits (RECs) associated with the generation of electricity using eligible renewables.

The following conditions apply:

  • Proposed PV and wind projects must have a site-assessment completed by a site assessor certified by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
  • All renewable energy systems must be manufactured and installed in compliance with all requirements of the latest edition of the National Electric Code (American National Standards Institute/National Fire Protection Association-70).
  • A North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified installer must serve as the project lead, and a licensed electrician must be used.
  • All installations must comply with Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter PSC 119 for interconnecting distributed generation facilities.
  • All projects must include a strong and clearly identified outreach and educational component that will be used to inform and educate the public in an ongoing manner.


The current Request for Proposals (RFP) from We Energies lists a total of five rounds of funding. The application deadlines for each round of potential funding is noon on the following dates:

  • February 25, 2011
  • April 22, 2011
  • June 24, 2011
  • August 19, 2011
  • October 21, 2011
See the program web site for more information, to view the current solicitation, or to find out about the next round of funding.
Lower St. Croix Wild and Scenic River Act (Minnesota and Wisconsin) Minnesota
Wisconsin
Sales Tax Incentive Yes Federal The lower portion of the St. Croix River in Minnesota and Wisconsin is regulated under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program. Most new residential, commercial, and industrial uses are prohibited, riverway lands are protected by acreage, frontage, and setback requirements, and affected municipalities are required to adopt zoning ordinances in the spirit of these regulations.
Wind Siting Rules and Model Small Wind Ordinance (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes State/Territory Permitting Rules

In September 2009, the Governor of Wisconsin signed S.B. 185 (Act 40) directing the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish statewide wind energy siting rules. PSC Docket 1-AC-231 was created to conduct the rulemaking, requiring the PSC to convene an advisory council composed of various interested stakeholders (e.g. developers, political subdivisions, environmental groups, landowners, etc.). In December 2010, the Commission adopted the wind siting rules (PSC 128). The rules were scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2011, but on that date, the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules voted to suspend the rules. The legislature proposed several changes to the rule, but could not enact a replacement, and the PSC 128 wind siting rules became effective in March 2012. The rules are comprehensive and include notice requirements, siting and noise criteria, shadow flicker, stray voltage, construction, operation, and decommissioning. Separate rules apply to small wind systems with a collective capacity of 300 kW or less or an individual wind turbine with a capacity of 100 kW or less.

The rules apply to political subdivision (city, town, village, county) regulation of wind energy systems up to 100 MW in size. Political subdivisions can choose whether or not to regulate wind energy systems; if they choose to regulate, they may not do so in a way that is more restrictive than the Public Service Commission's rules. Wind energy systems 100 MW in size or greater are under the siting jursidiction of the Public Service Commission, and are not directly subject to these rules.

Large Wind Systems

Rules for systems of larger than 300 kW or individual turbines larger than 100 kW include the following:

  • An owner must provide written notice of a planned wind system to specific parties at least 90 days before filing an application.
  • Systems must be set back 1.1 times the maximum blade tip height. Systems near occupied community buildings or nonparticipating residences must be set back either 1,250 feet or 3.1 times the maximum blade tip height, whichever is less.
  • Systems should be operated so that noise does not exceed 50 dBA during daytime hours or 45 dBA during nighttime hours.

Small Wind Systems

Rules for systems of 300 kW or less, or individual systems 100 kW or less, include the following:

  • An owner must provide written notice of a planned system wind system to specific parties at least 60 days before filing an application.
  • Systems must be set back the distance of the maximum blade tip height.
  • Systems should be operated so that noise does not exceed 50 dBA during daytime hours or 45 dBA during nighttime hours.


Model Policy

In order to assist counties, towns, and municipalities in interpreting Wisconsin's wind access laws, chiefly Wis. Stat. § 66.0401, the state of Wisconsin developed a Model Small Wind Ordinance which suggests appropriate zoning language for wind energy systems of 100 kilowatts (kW) or less. In the model, small wind systems are treated as a permitted use. The document includes specific language on details such as setbacks from public roads, dwellings, and property lines which can be considered directly relevant to preserving public health and safety. Note, the Model Policy was developed in 2006, prior to the establishment of statewide wind siting rules and does not reflect the requirements of the current wind siting rules.
Wisconsin Small Business Guarantee Program (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Loan Program Yes State/Province The Wisconsin Small Business Guarantee Program offers low-interest financing to small businesses for fixed assets, working capital, or inventory purchase. The loan guarantee maximum is 50 percent of the loan or $80,000. Several types of businesses are eligible for the loan guarantee, including existing companies with 250 or fewer full-time employees seeking to expand.
Woody Biomass Harvesting and Processing Tax Credit (Corporate) (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Corporate Tax Credit Yes State/Territory In May 2010, Wisconsin enacted legislation allowing taxpayers to claim a tax credit from income or franchise taxes of 10% of the cost of equipment primarily used to harvest or process woody biomass for use as a fuel or as a component of fuel. The adopted law creates identical tax credits in the portions of the Wisconsin tax code relating to income taxes on individuals (§71.07), income and franchise taxes on corporations (§71.28), and income and franchise taxes on insurance companies (§71.47). In order to receive the credit, a taxpayer must first submit an application to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)* to be certified as eligible. In November 2011, DATCP established final administrative rules (ATCP 166), including rules for the certification application process. Tax credits can be claimed either by the operator of the facility or the owner of the facility.

Woody biomass is defined as "...trees and woody plants, including limbs, tops, needles, leaves, and other woody parts, grown in a forest or woodland or on agricultural land." For equipment use to be considered "primarily" for an eligible purpose, other uses of the equipment are limited to no more than 25% of total use. The credit may not be claimed for any business or trade expenses deducted by the taxpayer under 26 USC §162.

The credit will be available for 5 years, from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2015. Allowable credits in excess of a claimant's tax liability for a given year will be refunded. Credits are limited to $100,000 per claimant in aggregate, and $900,000 in total each fiscal year. In addition, DATCP is required to allocate $450,000 in tax credits each fiscal year to businesses that individually have no more than $5 million in gross receipts in Wisconsin for the taxable year in which the credit is claimed. Taxpayers will need to be certified by DATCP in order to claim the tax credit. The DOC, in cooperation with the Department of Revenue, is required to develop regulations to implement the law. Forms and instructions for claiming the tax credit are available at theDepartment of Revenue web site.

*In 2011, Act 32 transferred administrative responsibilities and rulemaking authority for the woody biomass credit from the Department of Commerce to DATCP.
Woody Biomass Harvesting and Processing Tax Credit (Personal) (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Personal Tax Credit Yes State/Territory In May 2010, Wisconsin enacted legislation allowing taxpayers to claim a tax credit from income or franchise taxes of 10% of the cost of equipment primarily used to harvest or process woody biomass for use as a fuel or as a component of fuel. The adopted law creates identical tax credits in the portions of the Wisconsin tax code relating to income taxes on individuals (§71.07), income and franchise taxes on corporations (§71.28), and income and franchise taxes on insurance companies (§71.47). In order to receive the credit, a taxpayer must first submit an application to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)* to be certified as eligible. In November 2011, DATCP established final administrative rules (ATCP 166), including rules for the certification application process. Tax credits can be claimed either by the operator of the facility or the owner of the facility.

Woody biomass is defined as "...trees and woody plants, including limbs, tops, needles, leaves, and other woody parts, grown in a forest or woodland or on agricultural land." For equipment use to be considered "primarily" for an eligible purpose, other uses of the equipment are limited to no more than 25% of total use. The credit may not be claimed for any business or trade expenses deducted by the taxpayer under 26 USC §162.

The credit will be available for 5 years, from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2015. Allowable credits in excess of a claimant's tax liability for a given year will be refunded. Credits are limited to $100,000 per claimant in aggregate, and $900,000 in total each fiscal year. In addition, DATCP is required to allocate $450,000 in tax credits each fiscal year to businesses that individually have no more than $5 million in gross receipts in Wisconsin for the taxable year in which the credit is claimed. Taxpayers will need to be certified by DATCP in order to claim the tax credit. The DOC, in cooperation with the Department of Revenue, is required to develop regulations to implement the law. Forms and instructions for claiming the tax credit are available at the Department of Revenue web site.

*In 2011, Act 32 transferred administrative responsibilities and rulemaking authority for the woody biomass credit from the Department of Commerce to DATCP.
Training Grant (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Grant Program Yes State/Province The WEDC Training Grant aids businesses in workforce retention and expansion into new markets and technology. The program provides grant funds to businesses to upgrade or improve the job-related skills of a business’s full-time employees. Grant funds may be approved for eligible training provided to existing and new employees in full-time jobs.
Xcel Energy - Experimental Advanced Renewable Energy Purchase Service Rates (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Performance-Based Incentive No Utility The subscription cap for the Experimental Advanced Renewable Energy Purchase Service has been met and applications are no longer being accepted. The program is unlikely to reopen. This entry is for informational purposes only.

Xcel Energy will purchase 100% of the electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by its Wisconsin customers using qualifying renewable energy systems. The purchase will take the form of a 10-year, fixed-rate contract between the customer and the utility. Distributed generation systems must use a renewable resource and have an initial placed in service date of no earlier than January 1, 2008. Renewable resources are defined as all resources eligible under the Wisconsin RPS(Wis. Stat. § 196.378(1)(h)), except refuse-derived fuels. This definition includes wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal electric, biomass, biogas, fuel cells using renewable fuels, geothermal electric, tidal, wave, and small hydroelectric systems.

Predetermined per-kWh purchase prices have been set for wind systems, biomass/biogas, and solar systems, while rates for other technologies will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis between the utility and the customer generator. Solar projects also receive a $1.50 per kW incentive in addition to the $0.11/kWh rate. There is no minimum size requirement, and maximum capacity limits vary with project type: solar is limited to 10 kW; biomass, biogas, and wind systems are limited to 5 MW for community-based projects and 2 MW for non-community projects. All systems must meet the stateinterconnection requirements and be connected to the grid at a voltage of 50 kV or less.

The customer is responsible for the installation of a separate electric meter and all other associated equipment and installation costs. The tariff also contains monthly metering charges ranging from $6.40 to $13.80 per month for different sized systems. The program will remain open until aggregate subscriptions account for 0.25% of previous year retail sales.