Coal has dominated electricity generation in Wisconsin. In 2015, coal provided 55.9% of the state's net electricity generation. However, according to the Energy Information Administration, electricity production from coal as decreased 16% over the past 5 years in Wisconsin. This is good news for the environment, as coal is one of the dirtiest ways to produce electricity. Natural gas has recently surpassed nuclear as the second most popular electricity source in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin also relies heavily on biomass for its energy needs. The state leads the nation in the number of animal waste-to-energy systems, with on-farm digesters that can turn manure into fuel. Wisconsin is also home to nine industrial-scale plants that produce more than 500 million gallons of ethanol a year. These plants consume more than 180 million bushels of corn each year - about 37% of the state’s corn crop.
Wisconsin Electricity Prices
Wisconsin has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Wisconsin residents in December 2016 was 13.74¢ per kWh, a whole 1.53¢ above the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are on the rise in Wisconsin, having increased more than 10% over the past 5 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Wisconsin residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Wisconsin Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
Wisconsin has more than doubled its electricity production from natural gas over the past 5 years. Over the same period, electricity production from coal has fallen over 16%.
Wisconsin Energy Sector Employment
According to the Clean Jobs Wisconsin report, Wisconsin renewable energy employs more than 5,600 people. More than 65% of these jobs are in solar projects, which range from a few panels on a rooftop to a farm with thousands of panels. The largest solar farm in Wisconsin (as of February 2017) is the 2.3-megawatt Rock River solar project owned by Alliant Energy. This farm contains over 7,700 panels, covers nearly 17 acres, and produces enough electricity to power 500 homes.
In January 2017, NextEra announced plans to build a gigantic new solar farm in conjunction with WPPI Energy. "The Point Beach project would open in 2021, generate 100 megawatts of solar power and create between 150 and 200 jobs during its construction." Financial details have not been announced for the project, but if completed it will be the largest solar farm in Wisconsin by far.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Wisconsin Utility Companies
Wisconsin has regulated electricity market, where utility companies control the entire flow of electricity from production to distribution. Some of the largest utility companies in Wisconsin are:
- Serves approximately 1,103,400 Wisconsin residents
- Headquartered in Milwaukee, WI
- Subsidiary of WEC Energy Group
Wisconsin Public Service (WPS)
- Official energy provider to the Green Bay Packers
- Serves more than 450,000 Wisconsin residents
- Headquartered in Green Bay, WI
- Subsidiary of WEC Energy Group
Wisconsin Power & Light (WPL)
- Serves approximately 950,000 Wisconsin and Iowa residents
- Subsidiary of Alliant Energy
- Headquartered in Madison, WI
Arcadia's Wisconsin Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Wisconsin residents:
As a Wisconsin utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Wisconsin. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Wisconsin utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.