Wisconsin Chosen For Rural Energy Project

The U.S. Department of Energy chose Wisconsin’s Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy for the Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas program.

The state’s application is one of 17 nationwide that is on to the negotiation part of the process. It’s the first step toward securing federal funding for the OSCE’s Resilience and Prosperity in Rural Northern Wisconsin program.

“Investing in renewable energy and creating clean energy jobs in rural areas sets us up for the future, and getting recognition from our federal partners shows we’re on the right track,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “We have a great team of experts collaborating on this effort, and I’m excited that we’re working together to bring clean energy access to parts of our state that need it most.”

The Resilience and Prosperity in Rural Northern Wisconsin program plans to support clean energy access in 28 rural communities statewide. Projects will be replicable models to boost energy resilience, clean energy deployment, and green jobs for rural communities.

The program will work with utility and renewable partners to install microgrids throughout Bayfield County and on tribal lands. OSCE also aims to deploy solar power, battery storage, and smart controls to enable electric vehicle charging stations.

This program will promote local workforce development, create avenues for meaningful public engagement, and provide clean energy education to residents. It will also convert heavy-duty snowplows from diesel to compressed natural gas, a lower-emission fuel.

“This potential grant from DOE could enable some of our state’s smallest communities to become leaders in developing and implementing sustainable energy technologies to move Wisconsin forward,” says Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

The Red Cliff Reservation and communities of Bayfield County are located on the northernmost point of Wisconsin. This area faces climate change risks due to lake-enhanced severe weather events, according to the governor’s office. If selected, the grant will be an opportunity to build resiliency for Wisconsin’s upper rural communities.