Co-ops pro-solar, concerned over proposed third-party community solar bill
On Aug. 5, Wisconsin Sen. Duey Stroebel (Saukville) introduced SB 490 to the State Senate. Co-authored by State Rep. Tim Ramthun (Campbellsport), the bill would allow third-party community solar programs in Wisconsin. Third-party community solar is when a non-utility entity builds a solar array and sells subscriptions for the power generated by the array to utility customers. As proposed, SB 490 would apply to investor-owned utilities; electric cooperatives are currently exempt. However, policymakers could amend the bill and include cooperatives in the future.
As your local electric cooperative, we support renewable energy and common-sense solutions to reduce our carbon intensity. However, we want to make sure it is done in a way that is equitable for all members, supports a safe and reliable power grid, and doesn’t push additional costs onto non-subscribers. As a cooperative, we are concerned that, as written, the bill does not accomplish these objectives.
Dairyland Power Cooperative is our wholesale power provider and has set a goal to reduce their carbon intensity by 50 percent over 2005 levels by 2030. Currently, renewable energy makes up about 24 percent of Dairyland’s generation mix. In January, they began purchasing the electricity generated from 52 megawatts (MW) of the Tatanka Ridge Wind Farm. By 2023, they will add the 149 MW Badger State Solar array into their energy mix. This is building on the 18 local, distributed solar facilities totaling 25 MW already located in Dairyland's four-state service area.
As Dairyland transitions to more renewable generation, their main goal is to maintain reliable, safe and affordable electricity for members. We have extreme weather in Wisconsin and do not want to leave our members without power in the heat of summer or middle of a polar vortex.
Jump River Electric Cooperative supports renewable energy solutions that secure a reliable and economical energy future for all cooperative members.