EAU CLAIRE — The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire will receive a grant of nearly half a million dollars to help equip its planned new building with renewable energy systems.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin recently announced that it awarded an Energy Innovation Grant of $478,300 to the Children’s Museum, which is expected to open its new facility in 2022. It was the fourth largest of 32 such grants totaling $7 million awarded by the PSC.
The Eau Claire museum will use the funds to operate its new building with 100% renewable energy derived through solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling, said Michael McHorney, executive director. The museum will ensure resiliency with a battery storage system.
“Our vision for this project is to be bolder, do better and dream bigger,” McHorney said. “Receiving grant funds from the PSC of Wisconsin’s Energy Innovation Grant program means we can further meet that vision. Leaving our planet better than it was found is the right thing to do for the future, our children, who we serve by inspiring them to play.”
The projects receiving grants reduce energy consumption, increase the use of renewable energy and transportation technologies, bolster preparedness and resiliency in the energy system and ensure steps are taken to create comprehensive energy plans, according to the PSC.
“This grant funding makes investments in innovative projects and technology that will help the state of Wisconsin reach its goal to be carbon-free by 2050,” PSC Chairwoman Rebecca Cameron Valcq said in a news release. “I am excited about these projects because Wisconsin residents will see the benefits of these projects through the creation of new jobs, economic development opportunities and the transition to cleaner energy.”
Construction of the 26,000-square-foot Children’s Museum is scheduled to begin in late spring or early summer on a patch of vacant land, known as the liner site, next to a city parking ramp at 126 N. Barstow Street. The museum bought the liner site from the City of Eau Claire’s Redevelopment Authority.
The two-story museum will offer significantly more space for exhibits, classrooms and outdoor activities.
The museum, which sold its longtime building on South Barstow Street earlier this year, recently opened a temporary site called Play Space — a selection of the museum’s more popular exhibit pieces — on the ground floor of the Haymarket Landing building at 40 S. Barstow St. Play sessions are available by appointment.