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Evers appoints renewable energy leader to PSC

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday appointed an advocate for renewable energy to the commission that regulates Wisconsin’s electric, gas, water and telecom industries.

Tyler Huebner, executive director of Renew Wisconsin, will replace Mike Huebsch on the Public Service Commission. Huebsch is a former Republican speaker of the state Assembly who was appointed to the commission in 2015 by former Gov. Scott Walker.

Huebner, 38, will take the seat March 17 and serve out the remainder of Huebsch’s term, which expires March 2, 2021. Huebsch announced last month he was resigning with just over a year left on his term.

The appointment means that two of the three commission members have been placed there by Evers. The third, Ellen Nowak, is an appointee of Walker. Evers last year set a goal for the state’s electricity supply to be carbon-free by 2050.

In addition to regulating Wisconsin’s utilities, the commission also sets rates for utilities and approves large projects, like the construction of new power lines.

“Tyler has spent his entire academic and professional career focused on energy and efficiency,” Evers said in a statement. Evers called him a “passionate leader” who will work “to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable utility services for folks across our state.”

Huebner has served as the executive director of Renew Wisconsin since 2013. The nonprofit group works to promote renewable energy in the state, including programs that expand solar power, wind power, local hydropower, geothermal energy and electric vehicles.

“I understand the importance of balancing the needs of utilities and customers, while accelerating Wisconsin’s transition into the 21st century,” Huebner said in a statement.

Mark Redsten, president of the environmental advocacy group Clean Wisconsin, praised the appointment.

“Tyler’s knowledge, experience, and expertise in the energy field will serve him well on the Public Service Commission,” Redsten said in a statement. “He understands where our state’s energy future is headed. He undoubtedly brings a unique perspective that will keep economic and environmental impacts of commission decisions in mind.”