Wisconsin’s Use of Program Evaluation
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.