2024 KCP Application
Customers & Partnerships
Primary Project Category:
Project Summary / Description:
This project was formed to open the lines of communication between rural Wisconsin farmers and solar energy developers, who use solar site designs from the desert southwest, where solar got its start. In order to adequately decarbonize our electricity mix, we need large-scale renewable energy generation, and to make that happen we need rural farmers‚ buy-in. Our 2018, Homegrown, Healthy, Smart campaign was the first of many efforts we will take to build awareness of renewable, to ensure that we are listening to the real needs of the citizens in rural Wisconsin, and we can find solutions that benefit everyone.
Regions of Operations:
Best Estimate of GHG Avoidance/Reduction of This Project (Tonnes CO2 Equivalent/Year):
Impact on Underrepresented Groups:
RENEW Wisconsin has focused on gender diversity and currently has an equal balance of four female and four male staff people. One of our strategic priorities is to provide mentorship for women in the renewable energy field. Like many other technology fields, energy tends to staffed with more men than women. Heather Allen and Jodi Amble will be the voices on the ground for this project and are uniquely suited to coach farmers and rural citizens, especially women, through the process of understanding and adopting renewable energy. The project will broadly promote access to affordable clean electricity. Renewable energy stands to benefit all Wisconsin citizens, by providing low cost and reliable electricity to the grid that everyone can benefit from. Additionally, these large renewable energy projects boost the local economy by providing a steady means of income to the landowner and tax revenues to the local governments. These financial benefits do not just stay with the wealthiest in the community, but benefit everyone including women, children and families. The principles of equity and inclusion are central to RENEW‚ Sustainable Solar Siting on Agricultural Lands project and our work as an organization. We utilize the best practices of racial equity and social justice in developing our materials, advertisements and conversations with the community. We strive to be aware of our own unconscious biases and we work toward inclusivity in our interactions with the public and partner organizations. We must be especially mindful of these principles in our work with faith communities including our Faith and Solar partnership with WI Green Muslims. Inclusivity is key to building trust in RENEW and our clean energy message.
Research or Economic Modeling
Measurement, Reporting & Validation
Potentially deep Social & Cultural change is coming to rural America, as a necessary carbon-reduction strategy of deploying large-scale solar energy farms are being proposed more rapidly, and of larger sizes, in rural areas where there is sufficient space to house the projects. However, farmers and people living in rural Wisconsin and rural America have extremely mixed feelings about these projects and the social and cultural changes they may bring to their rural lifestyle and surroundings. Change can induce fear, and for some citizens, that fear is manifesting itself into outright opposition of solar farm projects. Addressing this change in rural America is fundamental to the social and cultural fabric of these agricultural communities, and doing it now, is absolutely critical so that large-scale solar development and carbon reduction can succeed in Wisconsin and beyond. There are many local benefits to this solar development, from tax base to agricultural and conserving the land, to benefitting farmers who are struggling with perpetual low prices for their products, but we need to translate the benefits of large scale solar energy production to these rural communities and citizens so that more projects are successful, and fewer fail.