Archive for June, 2011
The Wisconsin Renewable Quarterly, the newsletter of RENEW Wisconsin, features these article:
Siting Rule Suspension Rocks Wind Industry
In a move that sent shock waves through the wind industry in Wisconsin, a joint legislative panel voted on March 1 to suspend the wind siting rule promulgated by the Public Service Commission in December 2010.
Community Biogas Project Fires Up
Home to 400 dairy farms, Dane County recently dedicated a community-scale manure-to-methane generating system designed to reduce nutrient runoff into the Yahara Lakes.
Insty Prints: Mpower ChaMpion
But if I can help other businesses make some of the harder choices by being more vocal, then I’m willing to help.
Manitoba Hydro: A Washout?
On behalf of our members and the many businesses and individuals who support the continued expansion of Wisconsin’s renewable energy marketplace, RENEW Wisconsin is here to express opposition to AB 114 (and its companion SB 81), and urges the Legislature not to pass this bill.
Verona Firm Begins Work on “Epic” PV
With the commissioning of its 1,300-module solar electric canopy spanning its parking deck, Epic Systems joins an elite group of Wisconsin companies embracing on-site energy capture to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. At 360 kilowatts (kW), Epic’s new photovoltaic system is the largest solar array in Dane County and the third largest in Wisconsin.
Calendar of Renewable and Energy Efficiency Events
June 17-19, 2001 The Energy Fair. Custer, WI. The nation’s premier sustainable energy education event. Three days of workshops, demonstrations, and exhibits highlighting renewable energy and sustainable living. For details see http://www.midwestrenew.org.
July 8-10, 2011 EcoFair360. Elkhorn, WI. Join hundreds of exhibitors and presenters and thousands of attendees who will Make Green Happen for three days of education, exploration and inspiration. For details see http://www.ecofair360.org.
July 16, 2011 Western Wisconsin Sustainability Fair. Menomonie, WI, Dunn County Fair Grounds. Exhibitors from business, government, and non-profi t groups, speakers, workshops, music, energy effi cient vehicles, a photo contest, and a tour of the Cedar Falls Dam. See http://sustainabledunn.org for more information.
July 30, 2011 8th Annual Kickapoo Country Fair. LaFarge, WI. The Midwest’s Largest Organic Food and Sustainability Festival. Food, music, bike and farm tours, cooking demonstrations, theater, kids’ activities, dancing. More information at http://www.kickappoocountryfair.org.
October 1, 2011 Solar Tour of Homes and Businesses. All across Wisconsin. Owners open their doors to let people see how renewable energy is practical, reliable, and affordable in today’s economy. The homes and businesses often include other energy efficiency and renewable technologies. For details see http://nationalsolartour.org.
October 26, 2011 Wisconsin’s Solar Decade Conference. Milwaukee, WI. Now in its seventh year, the Wisconsin
Solar Decade Conference is your opportunity to see fi rsthand the latest developments in the world of solar energy. For details see http://www.solardecade.com.
From an article by Tom Conent in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Verona – By the end of the year, the largest solar project yet built in Wisconsin will take shape in the rolling countryside that Epic Systems calls home.
And by the middle of next year, the new solar “farm” will double in size again.
Clearly, Epic, a fast-growing provider of sought-after health care software that’s hiring 1,000 people just this year, doesn’t embrace small projects.
It’s more cost-effective to build a big renewable energy project than to come back later and expand it, said Bruce Richards, director of facilities and engineering.
And it fits in with a green vision espoused by company founder and chief executive Judith Faulkner.
“We were in a meeting, and I was discussing the payback on a particular project, thinking she might have some concerns,” said Bruce Richards, director of facilities and engineering at Epic. “But she didn’t hesitate. She said, ‘But once it’s paid off, the energy is free, right?’”
Epic clearly has the financial wherewithal to undertake a green-energy investment that other firms might seek state dollars to help fund. Officials declined to disclose the cost of the project.
The company is a developer of health care IT software that helps hospitals move toward electronic medical records. Epic sales grew 27% in 2010. Revenue reached $825 million in 2010, compared with $76 million in 2001.
Focused on sustainability
Epic is an economic engine that’s a Wisconsin outlier: A booming business that’s about as far from the state’s manufacturing heritage as you can get.
The company is moving to wean itself off fossil fuels in a big way.
Already, most buildings on the sprawling campus are heated and cooled with a ground-source heat pump system, which means the campus needs no natural gas for heating and no electricity for cooling in the summer.
About 1,300 solar panels were erected in recent months on a latticelike structure above an employee parking lot.
Faulkner picked the color of the lattice to match the deep blue light posts that dot downtown Verona, Richards said.
The remaining parking spaces are underground, to retain the pastoral feel of the campus. The result, Richards tells a visitor walking between buildings across the complex, “You’re walking on a green roof right now.”
Richards says the driver of the green campus and move for energy self-reliance comes from a vision of doing right by the planet.
“Sustainability, that’s really what it’s all about,” he said. “We’re looking for 100-year sustainability here. Everything we do in design and put in, that’s what we’re looking to do.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From a news release issued by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change:
An independent research study into the phenomenon of shadow flicker from wind turbines was today published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Shadow flicker is the flickering effect caused when rotating wind turbine blades periodically cast shadows through constrained openings such as the windows of neighbouring properties.
The study, commissioned from Parsons Brinckerhoff following a competitive tender process, found that:
• There have not been extensive issues with shadow flicker in the UK;
• The frequency of the flickering caused by the wind turbine rotation is such that it should not cause a significant risk to health;
• In the few cases where problems have arisen, they have been resolved effectively using mitigation measures, in particular turbine shut down systems.
The report was peer reviewed by independent experts The Energy Workshop and DECC’s Engineering and Analysis Team. The Department for Communities and Local Government, Defra and the Department of Health also engaged in the review.
The Government has considered the report’s findings and concluded that existing planning guidance on shadow flicker is fit for purpose, and no changes to it are necessary.
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
“It is vital that we use the most up to date, robust and accurate scientific evidence when looking at the impact of wind farms on communities.
“This study will be helpful to communities, developers and planners as they assess proposals for onshore wind projects”.
Access the report on this page.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From an article by Betsy Bloom in the La Crosse Tribune:
It is “the most gorgeous landfill in the state of Wisconsin,” La Crosse County Solid Waste Director Hank Koch says. He could be considered a bit biased.
But state Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp didn’t disagree after seeing the site Wednesday.
“I never imagined I could be so impressed with a landfill operation,” Stepp later said.
With wind ruffling the tall grass on the surrounding hillsides, Stepp on Wednesday recognized the 300-acre complex as the first publicly owned landfill admitted to the state’s Green Tier program.
The ceremony also included a groundbreaking on the estimated $4 million gas-to-energy partnership that will pipe landfill methane about 1.6 miles to provide virtually all the heat and electrical needs at Gundersen Lutheran’s Onalaska clinic.
Contractor McHugh Excavating and Plumbing of Onalaska is expected to begin work next week, and the gas could begin flowing as early as October, officials said Wednesday.
“The happiest day is going to be when they turn that flare off,” Koch said, referring to the flame now burning off the landfill gas.
While the gas-to-energy arrangement isn’t unique, the partnership with a health care system is, said Jeff Rich, Gundersen’s executive director of efficiency improvements.
“This is just a win-win-win for everybody,” the entire community included, Rich said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From an article by Lyn Jerde in the Portage Daily Register:
TOWN OF SCOTT – Along with names, dates and shout-outs to favorite sports teams, the writing on the turbine blade included a warning: “Watch out.”
Mark Barden wrote it, in permanent black marker.
The warning, he said, is aimed at any birds that might fly near the blade once it’s turning, 400 feet in the air.
Wednesday’s open house at the Glacier Hills Wind Park was Barden’s first up-close look at the components of the 90 electricity-generating wind turbines that have begun to rise in the skyline in northeast Columbia County.
But it won’t be his last look. Barden said three of the towers will be on his land in the town of Scott, just outside of Cambria.
He said he doesn’t share the health and safety concerns about the wind towers that many of their opponents cited in seeking to block the construction of Glacier Hills – things such as constant low-level noise and shadow flicker.
“I’m more worried,” he said, “about the red lights at night,” he said. “When I look in the sky and try to find constellations, all I’ll see is the red beacons (on the towers).
“But,” Barden added, “we’ll deal with that.”
Barden was one of several hundred people who attended the open house, which included indoor easel and tabletop displays, and a tour – on foot or by school bus – of one of the four towers that, as of Wednesday, had two of its four segments erected.
Mike Strader, site manager for the We Energies project, said that, barring wind or other inclement weather, plans call for adding the top two segments to at least one of the towers today, with the hub, cell and three blades of the turbine to follow soon.
More photos on RENEW’s Facebook page.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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