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Lawmakers may expand definition of renewable energy

Wisconsin lawmakers may be asked to expand their definition of renewable energy, so utilities can be more flexible in providing it.

Utilities are required to make a certain percentage of their electricity from things like wind mills and hydro-power.

Now, Rep. Ted Zigmunt, D-Manitowoc, is working on a bill to include solar water-heaters, geo-thermal systems, and the light pipe.

That's a passive solar tube that goes through a roof which allows light to shine down into a room.

Orion Energy Systems of Manitowoc has developed that product. Zigmunt says utilities can save money for their customers by offering those devices, if they're allowed to use them to meet their renewable energy goals.

He says it could also create hundreds of construction jobs, while improving the environment. Several Republicans are among those signing onto the bill.