Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation Establishes New Rural Energy Startup Program

Source: NASEO

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin's (PSC) Office of Energy Innovation (OEI) is actively soliciting applications for the inaugural year of their Rural Energy Startup Program (RESP). This innovative single-round grant program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG), which received a substantial boost in funding from the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA). The Wisconsin PSC received $2,330,720 in EECBG funds and has allocated 100 percent of these funds towards establishing the RESP. The primary goal of this program is to expand access to clean energy, efficiency, and preparedness for small and rural Wisconsin communities that otherwise face barriers to participating in the clean energy transition. Eligible applicants include municipalities or counties that have not received direct allocations of federal formula funding under the IIJA EECBG Program, with priority for those based in rural locales or disadvantaged communities, as identified by a map developed by OEI and the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).

RESP will support the following priorities:

  1. Planning and Basic Upgrade Projects: Emphasizing crucial initial steps outlined in U.S. DOE blueprints, laying the groundwork for energy efficiency, and promoting locally led efforts in the transition to renewable energy.
  2. Support for Underserved Rural Communities: Providing assistance to rural communities that did not meet the population threshold for direct federal support under the Federal EECBG program. Priority will be given to projects that are within a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool-defined Disadvantaged Community (DAC)[SMP1] or have a DAC located within the planned project area.

Applications for RESP grants will be accepted until Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 1:30 pm CT. More information about the program can be found here.