Energy Conservation
Key Issues:Energy in Wisconsin
Energy in Wisconsin

Following is an overview of Wisconsin's consumption and production of transportation fuels, electricity, and heating fuels, as well as the mandates and initiatives that affect the state's energy supply and economy.
Transportation fuels (gasoline and diesel fuel)
According to the Energy Information Agency, Wisconsinites consumed about 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline in 2009 and about 1.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel in 2008. The state's only refinery, located on Lake Superior, receives its crude oil supply from Canadian sources via the Lakehead Pipeline System. Refineries in the Chicago and Minneapolis metropolitan areas also provide petroleum products to Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence, Wisconsin is the ninth-largest ethanol producing state in the country. Wisconsin has a production capacity of about 408 million gallons of ethanol each year. The state currently has seven operating ethanol plants. Wisconsin ethanol is used in E10 (a mix of 10% ethanol with 90% gasoline), in E85 (a mix of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), and as an oxygenate in reformulated gasoline (RFG).

According to the 2010 Wisconsin Energy Statistics Book, the use of renewable transportation fuel (e.g., E10 and E85) increased by 8.9% in 2009.
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More than two-thirds of Wisconsin's electricity comes from coal, most of which comes from Wyoming. Two nuclear power plants in the state - located at Point Beach and Kewaunee on Lake Michigan - provide about one-fifth of Wisconsin's electricity. The unit 1 reactor at the Point Beach plant is one of the oldest operating reactors in the country. Natural gas-fired plants and electricity transfers from other states also supply electricity, along with renewable sources like hydroelectric power and wood waste.
Natural gas
Heating fuels
In Wisconsin, about two-thirds of households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel source. The remaining households use electricity, propane, fuel oil, and other sources. The state receives natural gas from the U.S. and Canada.
Natural gas
Fuel oil
Source: U.S. Department of Energy,
2000 Census data
Wisconsin's existing energy mandates

Reducing global warming

In 2007, Governor Jim Doyle established the Governor's Task Force on Global Warming through Executive Order 191. The next year, the task force's final report - entitled "Wisconsin's Strategy for Reducing Global Warming" - recommended reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels by 2014, 22% below 2005 levels by 2022, and 75% below 2005 levels by 2050. The Beacon Hill Institute, in partnership with the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, released a study in the fall of 2009 estimating the economic impacts of Wisconsin's strategy. It found that Wisconsin would experience "a shock to its economic well being" that would "be borne in the near term."

In December 2009, the Global Warming Task Force reconvened to discuss draft legislation intended to implement 20 of its recommendations. In a letter to members of the Task Force, Governor Doyle, and Wisconsin State Legislators, a coalition of Wisconsin businesses argued against the legislation. The letter states that the proposal, which the WPRI estimated would cost the state billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, will ultimately drive up energy costs and do nothing to reduce global warming.

"25 by 25" initiative

In 2006, then-Governor Jim Doyle signed Executive Order 192 that created the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence to support the state's goals for a clean energy future. Among the state's goals is the effort to generate 25% of electricity and 25% of transportation fuel from renewable sources by 2025. Read more

Other main goals include:
  • Capturing 10% of the market share for renewable energy and bioproduct production
  • Becoming a national leader on research to make alternative energies more affordable and accessible, and using the findings to create new jobs in the state
As part of the initiative, the Office of Energy Independence works to achieve these goals through grant funding, incentives for research, support for ethanol and other biofuels, and other efforts.
Energy efficiency and renewables law
In 2005, Wisconsin Act 141 was enacted to update the state's energy and utility laws. The act included provisions for increasing the state's renewable portfolio standard to 10% by 2016 and overhauling Wisconsin's energy efficiency programs. The legislation also outlined initiatives aimed at increasing the state's own use of renewable energy to 20% by 2012.
Biofuel production tax credit
Starting in 2009, Wisconsin will offer a tax credit of 10 cents per gallon for state biodiesel fuel producers that produce at least 2.5 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

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