Contact: Carla Vigue, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162
Will Dedicate $40 Million, Create New Office to Promote Renewable Energy
MADISON – As part of a broad effort to make Wisconsin the nation’s leader in energy independence and create thousands of jobs in our state, Governor Jim Doyle will propose the next major step forward by creating the Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and dedicating $40 million in his budget proposal for renewable energy like solar, wind, hydrogen, biodiesel and ethanol. Governor Doyle, who will make the announcement in his State of the State address Tuesday, has set a goal for this state to generate 25 percent of its power and transportation fuels from renewable sources by 2025.
“The scope and consequences of global warming are so massive that the responsibility for action rests not only with our leaders in Washington, but with all of us,” Governor Doyle said. “With new technology, and a commitment to renewable fuels, Wisconsin can lead the way – reducing global warming and helping this nation kick its addiction to foreign oil.”
The centerpiece of the proposal will be the creation of the Governor’s Office on Energy Independence, which will coordinate the state’s efforts to grow Wisconsin’s bio and renewable economies and advise the Governor and cabinet agencies on ways to meet the goals of Wisconsin’s “Declaration of Energy Independence”. The office will be led by an Executive Director who will report directly to the Governor and include staff from the Departments of Administration Division of Energy (DOA-Energy), Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Natural Resources (DNR), and the Public Service Commission.
In his address, Governor Doyle will also announce the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, comprised of businesses, industry, environmental organizations, local governments, and private citizens. This new effort will be charged with developing a state plan of action to explore state and local solutions to global warming.
The Governor’s budget will include the Wisconsin Energy Independence Grant and Loan Program – $30 million in grants and loans for companies and researchers that are developing new technologies to increase renewable energy, speeding the commercialization of these innovations and leading the way to energy independence. This investment will leverage up to $300 million from private investors. The leverage assumption is based on the results achieved from the recent $1 million biogrant program and agriculture diversification grants administered by DATCP.
Governor Doyle is focused on becoming the first state in the nation to produce ethanol from cellulose, or woody forest and timber materials. Grants worth $5 million will be earmarked to make Wisconsin home to the first cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States. Potential applicants for this money could include paper and pulp producers such as Flambeau (Park Falls), Stora Enso or Georgia Pacific.
Governor Doyle’s budget will also include a $10 million increase in the Act 255 tax credits for angel and venture capital investment, bringing the total tax credits available to $23 million. The additional credits will be targeted for both renewable energy and commercial applications spurring from biomedical and stem cell research.
The Governor will also launch an initiative to create 400 new renewable fuel pumps. Currently there are approximately 65 stations selling e85 and 14 selling biodiesel. His proposal will call for tax credits for locally-owned gas stations and private fleet operators looking to invest in E-85 and biodiesel tanks and pumps. The state tax credit would equal 25 percent of the cost to retrofit or install a new pump that dispenses e85 or biodiesel (b20 or higher) up to a maximum credit of $5,000 per pump. Total cost of the initiative would be $2 million.
On July 7, 2006, Governor Doyle along with business, education, environmental, agriculture and forestry leaders signed Wisconsin’s “Declaration of Energy Independence”, aimed at increasing Wisconsin’s use of renewable fuels, creating good paying jobs, controlling energy costs and making Wisconsin the nation’s leader in renewable energy.
Reducing our reliance on foreign fossil fuels keeps more of our energy dollars in state. Wisconsin drivers currently consume only 102 million gallons of renewable fuels and over 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline. In terms of power, Wisconsin currently spends over $15 billion on out-state fossil fuels. Decreasing our reliance these fuels will have a substantial positive impact on Wisconsin’s economy.
Capturing 10 percent of the emerging bio-industry market would add over $13.5 billion dollars to Wisconsin’s economy. The United States spends over $430 billion annually on petroleum with a majority of our energy dollars leaving the country. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Energy reports, the U.S. could displace 30 percent of current petroleum consumption with renewable fuels by 2030.
Wisconsin is already viewed as an emerging national leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. In the last fiscal year, Wisconsin spent over $38 million helping over 220,000 families and individuals implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. These participants saved enough electricity to power 22,000 homes and reduced natural gas consumption by the equivalent of 10,000 homes.
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