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The Promise and Reality of Green Energy in WisconsinListen to the Series: June 10 - 14, 2013Green energy caught a spark decades ago - when fuel prices skyrocketed, smog blanketed cities and acid rain was detected in lakes. Since then, Wisconsin has sprouted alternative modes of powering everything from buildings to cars to parking meters. Yet most of our energy still comes from fossil fuels. WUWM will explore the growth of green energy in Wisconsin, in the Project Milwaukee: Power Switch series.During Morning Edition and Lake Effect, WUWM News journalists and Lake Effect producers will examine the factors prompting interest in renewable energy, and how Wisconsin compares with the rest of the country.Community ForumOn Monday, June 10 at Discovery World, WUWM's public forum featured perspectives from utilities, academia, environmentalists and policymakers. View a list of the panelists. The forum will air on Lake Effect Friday, June 14 at 10 a.m.Contribute Your IdeasWhat questions would you like WUWM to cover regarding green energy in Wisconsin?Please share your questions and comments with us.

Understanding Wisconsin's Renewable Energy Standards

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Michael Leland, Flickr
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The regulatory body in Wisconsin charged with making sure utilities are meeting the state's sustainability mandate is the Public Service Commission.  

The commission oversees all public utilities in the state, including electricity, water, natural gas, utilities that combine water and sewer service, and some elements of local phone service.

The PSC also has to approve applications for new power projects and for rate hikes.

As part of our Project Milwaukee: Power Switch series on the promise and realities of clean energy in Wisconsin, Bob Norcross joined us to talk about the state's current clean energy standard.

Norcross, who is the administrator of the Natural Gas and Energy division of the PSC, explains that for utilities that generate electricity, ten percent of that power is required to come from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, or biomass.  It's a standard utilities are required to meet by 2015, but he says most of them have already attained that level.