Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has proposed a $450 million public/private investment strategy in renewable energy. The proposal, including nearly $80 million from the state, will be included in his budget next year as part of a broad effort to make Wisconsin the nation’s leader in energy independence and create 17,000 jobs.
The plan includes:
- Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund. The fund will make $50 million in loan guarantees and low interest loans available to Wisconsin businesses looking to expand production and use of renewable fuels and energy. This investment will leverage over $100 million in private sector support. Leaders from agriculture and forest industries, private utilities and academic institutions will oversee the administration of the fund, facilitating economic development in biopower, biofuels and bioproducts.
- Wisconsin Energy Independence Tax Incentives. Tax credits will be available for gas stations to invest in E-85 and biodiesel tanks and pumps -? increasing the availability of E-85 in the state by an additional 400 pumps. Businesses with private fleets will have tax credits available to them for increasing the use of biofuels in their fleets. In addition, angel and venture capital investors will be able to access incentives through Act 255 to further renewable technology.
- Wisconsin Energy Independence Grant Program. $20 million in grants will be available for companies and researchers that are developing new technologies to increase renewable fuels, speeding the commercialization of new renewable fuel and energy technologies and leading the way to energy independence. This investment will leverage $240 million from private investors.
- One $5 million grant will be earmarked to bring the first cellulosic ethanol manufacturer to Wisconsin. Building the first plant of its kind in the nation will spur production of ethanol from woody forest and timber materials and meet the state’s goal of becoming the first state in the nation to produce ethanol from cellulose.
In July, Governor Doyle launched Wisconsin’s “Declaration of Energy Independence,” setting three broad goals for the state:
- To generate 25 percent of its electricity and 25 percent of its transportation fuel from renewable fuels by 2025.
- To capture 10 percent of the market share for the production of renewable energy sources by 2030. Achieving this goal would bring, according to the Governor, $13.5 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy by 2030.