CUB’s thrilled this year to present a series of three webinars for residential utility customers focusing on the massive energy transition taking place and opportunities for homeowners and renters to get involved and to save on their energy bills along the way.
The topic of the first session: Setting the Stage for Wisconsin’s Affordable Clean Energy Transition. Moderator Heather Goetsch from the CUB Board of Directors kicked off the session, which featured presentations from Nick Hylla, executive director of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association; Scott Coenen, executive director of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum; and Corey Singletary, director of regulatory affairs at CUB.
Hylla highlighted economic opportunities for all customers in a transition to a power grid that’s less centralized and empowers more people to own their own energy generation type such as rooftop solar.
He stressed the need for updates to an outdated utility business model and cited a study touting $115 billion in savings for utility ratepayers by 2035 from a buildout of distributed energy resources.
Coenen discussed the transition by utilities from coal to natural gas over the past decade, but warned of cost pressures given recent runups in the price of natural gas in the past two years and particularly this year.
He emphasized the need for policies that move Wisconsin forward with “measured and pragmatic” steps to increase the ability of Wisconsin residents and business to access clean energy sources through community solar and other measures.
Singletary highlighted the importance of affordability as a bedrock principle for CUB and discussed how the traditional lens of utility regulation – affordable, safe and reliable utility service – has been expanded to underscore the importance of equity as the energy transition unfolds. CUB is concerned that utility customers not pay twice for the clean energy transition – for the new renewable energy investments that utilities are building while continuing to have to pay for coal plants for a decade or a generation beyond when they are shut down, he said.
Singletary urged Wisconsinites to take part in the decisions being made at the PSC, such as filing comments on pending PSC cases.
You can see or download the presentations from the webinar here.
The next webinar in the series is planned for noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18. CUB’s Tom Content will moderate a discussion featuring Francisco Sayu, director of emerging technologies at Renew Wisconsin; Kaila Wilson, program director at the Vernon County Energy District; and Saidirick Walker, program manager at Green Homeowners United in Milwaukee County.
The third webinar in the series, set for noon on Thursday, Sept. 22, will focus on: Action Steps You Can Take to Use Less Energy at Home.