Wisconsin’s Use of Program Evaluation

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Case Study

Date Published




Wisconsin's Department of Administration (DOA) administers a small renewable energy pilot program, and more recently has begun to oversee a $4.5 million per year statewide renewable energy program. Consistent, frequent program evaluation has been a significant component of Wisconsin's renewable energy efforts. This case summarizes those efforts. Innovative Features

  • Program evaluation is often an essential element of successful and responsive energy efficiency programs, but the renewable energy field has historically not emphasized such evaluation studies.
  • To date, few of the state clean energy funds have funded comprehensive, independent evaluations or even put into place specific metrics with which to evaluate their programs.
  • While some other states (New York, California, etc.) have evaluated their programs, Wisconsin's efforts are among the most significant in this regard.
  • Importantly, Wisconsin has also used its evaluations in making real-time changes to its program offerings.


  • An independent, third party evaluator was hired to comprehensively assess Wisconsin's pilot and statewide renewable energy programs.
  • Four evaluation reports have been prepared for the DOA's pilot renewable energy programs, and an evaluation plan for Wisconsin's statewide renewable energy program has been budgeted ~$400,000 for its first three years.
  • The true mark of effective evaluation relates to whether that evaluation is used to tweak, revisit, or eliminate under-performing programs and to create new programs that have greater chances of success. Wisconsin's evaluation efforts have already led to several such changes.


Case Studies of State Support for Renewable Energy

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