Two articles from Catching Wind, a newsletter published by RENEW Wisconsin with funding from a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy:
State’s Hostility Toward Renewables Escalates
At the urging of Wisconsin utilities, several lawmakers have introduced a bill to allow a renewable energy credit (REC) to be banked indefinitely. If adopted, this measure (AB146) would constitute the most devastating legislative assault yet on the state’s renewable energy marketplace, which is already reeling from the suspension of the statewide wind siting rule this March and the loosening of renewable energy definitions to allow Wisconsin utilities to count electricity generated from large Canadian hydro projects toward their renewable energy requirements.
“Leaders” Lag Citizenry on Wind Support
Public support for wind energy development has held strong against the attacks launched by Governor Walker and the Legislature’s new Republican majority, according to a poll conducted between April 11 and April 18 by the St. Norbert College Survey Center for Wisconsin Public Radio.
Asked whether Wisconsin should “increase, decrease or continue with the same amount” of energy supply from various sources, 77% favored increasing wind power, the highest of any option (60% favored increasing hydropower, 54% biomass, 39% natural gas, 27% nuclear, and 19% coal).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin should strive to do more to grow a renewable energy economy that creates jobs in the state, the author of a new sustainability report says.
The report was published by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and the state Department of Natural Resources’ green tier program.
The report seeks to emulate reports published by businesses that move beyond the fiscal bottom line to discuss the firms’ environmental and social impact.
Businesses in Wisconsin that have adopted a “triple-bottom line” approach – for social, economic and environmental benefit – include Kohl’s Corp., Johnson Controls Inc., Miron Construction and S.C. Johnson & Son Inc.
The report found opportunity for job creation awaits the state in the renewable energy sector, and emphasizes how much of the state’s energy spending takes place outside Wisconsin.
“Of the $19 billion that we spent last year, 87% of that money went out of state,” said Tom Eggert, the council’s executive director. “That’s going to help people’s economies in places other than Wisconsin.”
The state lacks coal mines and natural gas reserves but has ample opportunity to create jobs through development of wind, solar and biomass power, he said.
One option for the state to consider, he said, would be for the government to give renewable energy – and job creation – a push by expanding the state’s renewable energy standard.
The state Legislature, though, rejected a plan last year to expand renewable energy mandates in the state.
The Legislature last week gave final approval to a bill that would allow large dams such as those planned to be built in Manitoba to qualify for the state’s renewable energy standard.
Supporters said that access to the large hydro projects is good for the state’s economy because it would keep electricity rates affordable and help the state’s businesses create jobs.
But the direct result in terms of energy investment creates an economic impact for the Canadian province rather than here in the state, Eggert said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From a news release issued by Focus on Energy:
Completed proposals due April 30, 2011
MADISON, Wis. (March 11, 2011) – Today, Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, announced that businesses can compete for incentives for large renewable energy systems. The Large Renewable Energy System Competitive Incentives allow Wisconsin businesses and organizations to apply for funds to help implement large renewable energy systems.
Businesses can receive an incentive of up to 30 percent of the project costs to complete a renewable energy project that is well-researched, documented, and justified. Eligible, large-scale renewable energy systems may include: solar electric, solar hot-water, wind electric, biomass energy, and anaerobic digestion (biogas).
“Renewable energy technology offers businesses deeper energy cost savings after energy efficiency measures are implemented.” said Ken Williams, Focus on Energy’s business programs director. “Focus’ large renewable energy competitive incentives help businesses defray some of the upfront investment cost of a renewable energy system, resulting in a quicker payback.”
Any type of business, school, government entity, agribusiness, and apartments/condo facilities can apply for a Focus competitive incentive. The application and details are available online at focusonenergy.com/competitive_incentives. Applications are due by April 30, 2011.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From a news release issued by Veolia Energy North America:
HILBERT, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Veolia Energy North America, a leading operator and developer of sustainable energy systems, announced its first landfill gas-to-energy project (LFGTE) in the United States at the Veolia Environmental Services North America Hickory Meadows landfill, located in eastern Wisconsin. The project, slated to commence operation in early summer 2011, will have the initial capacity to generate 42,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year, enough to power 2,800 homes.
“We are delighted to begin construction of our first renewable energy facility in North America”
Once complete, the 4.8-megawatt (MW) electrical generation facility will include three landfill reciprocating engine generator sets with a capacity of 1.6 MW each, fueled exclusively by the landfill gas. Landfill gas, which is normally burned off, will be captured and sent via the landfill’s existing gas collection system to the facility, where it will be transformed into electricity.
“We are delighted to begin construction of our first renewable energy facility in North America,” said Stewart A. Wood, President and CEO of Veolia Energy North America. “Veolia Energy is committed to maximizing environmental sustainability through a reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels and the introduction of renewable resources into the energy mix, and I am pleased that this project will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the people of Wisconsin.”
Veolia Energy has entered into a power purchase agreement with Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), the primary electricity and gas provider for northeastern Wisconsin residents. Upon completion, WPS will purchase all of the power generated by the plant, along with the Renewable Energy Credits associated with the energy output.
As part of the 2005 Wisconsin Act 141, Wisconsin established a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring utilities to meet a gradually increasing percentage of retail sales with qualified renewable sources with the goal of providing 10% of the state’s retail energy needs from renewable resources by 2015. In addition to its environmental benefits, landfill gas qualifies as an eligible resource under Wisconsin’s RPS. The Hickory Meadow landfill gas-to-energy project will help WPS meet its RPS requirements.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From an story on WEAU-TV, La Crosse:
The La Crosse County Board has approved moving forward with a solid waste project that could bring about $3.5 million to La Crosse County.
The county has been working with Gundersen Lutheran on a gas to energy project. Right now the methane gas that’s taken from the decomposing garbage in the landfill is wasted as it’s burned off.
The new project would send that gas through a pipeline directly to Gundersen’s Onalaska Clinic where it can be used to create electricity and heat.
From a news release issued by Gunderson Lutheran:
Gundersen Lutheran and La Crosse County are moving forward on a unique green project that will turn garbage into renewable energy. The project will use waste gas that is created from garbage at the La Crosse County Landfill to create electricity and heat. The La Crosse County Board unanimously approved moving forward on the combined heat and power project, which is expected to offset about 12 percent of Gundersen Lutheran’s total energy use.
“This is a great use of a currently unused natural resource and it is an excellent example of what a public-private partnership can achieve in our community. We considered many partners for this project, and Gundersen Lutheran was a logical fit with their experience in renewable energy projects,” says Hank Koch, solid waste director, La Crosse County.
“We are very pleased to be entering into this partnership with La Crosse County,” adds Jeff Rich, executive director of Business Services, Gundersen Lutheran. “This project will help Gundersen Lutheran reduce the cost of healthcare, but beyond that, it’s good for the environment and it will be beneficial for the taxpayers of La Crosse County.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From a letter from RENEW Wisconsin to Senators Jeff Plale and Mark Miller, co-chairs of the Select Senate Committee on Clean Energy, who held a hearing on the Clean Energy Jobs Act bill on January 27:
Dear Senators Miller and Plale:
Thank you for holding a hearing yesterday of the Select Committee on Clean Energy on SB 450 (the Clean Energy Jobs Act bill). You heard a great deal of substantive commentary about much of the bill, particularly the sections dealing with energy efficiency and the expanded Renewable Energy Standard.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the discussion on the proposal to institute Advanced Renewable Tariffs in Wisconsin. Early in the hearing, a speaker framed the issue as “asking a little old lady in Cudahy to subsidize an expensive system in Mequon.” From that point, the discussion devolved into a kind of semi-orchestrated gang-tackling on this issue that continued unabated until I was called upon to speak, some seven hours and forty five minutes after the hearing began. While RENEW members who work for or with solar, wind and biogas energy installation companies were present during the hearing and had registered to speak, none were called prior to myself. All but two (Full Spectrum Solar and Ed Ritger) had to leave before the hearing ended.
Now, I don’t believe the first speaker, a labor leader, had intended to belittle the companies that install customer-sited renewable energy systems or dismiss their contribution to Wisconsin’s economy and environment. Nevertheless, the “little old lady from Cudahy” theme took a life of its own, and as a result, the very important issues of how to support these systems through utility rates and whether these rates should be mandated had become thoroughly trivialized by the end.
Allow me to repeat some of the points I made at yesterday’s hearing:
1. The vast majority of the distributed renewable generating units installed in Wisconsin serve schools, dairy farms and other small businesses, churches and local governments.
2. Utilities are not in the business of installing these systems themselves.
3. In many cases the renewable energy installation went forward because there was a special buyback rate available to accelerate the recovery of the original investment made by the customer. Yesterday, I gave the example of the Dane County community anaerobic digester project that, once operational, will treat manure taken from several nearby dairy farms in the Waunakee area and produce two megawatts of electricity with it. The electricity will be purchased by Alliant Energy through a voluntary biogas tariff worth 9.3 cents/kWh. Unfortunately, Alliant’s biogas program is fully subscribed and is no longer available to other dairy farmers, food processing companies and wastewater treatment facilities served by Alliant.
4. Companies that install solar, wind and biogas energy systems are quintessentially small businesses, many of them family-owned. Renewable energy contractors and affiliated service providers constitute one of the few market sectors where young adults who have acquired the necessary skills to do the job well can find meaningful work at decent pay.
5. By its very nature, distributed renewable energy delivers nearly 100% of its economic punch to the local economy.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As part of its ongoing rate case, Madison Gas & Electric filed several tariff rates last Friday proposing changes to its renewable energy program.
First, MGE proposes to lower the premium for purchased renewable electricity from 2.66 cents/kWh to one penny/kWh. The minimum block size, currently at 150 kWh/month, may change.
MGE is also proposing an experimental PV tariff to take effect January 1, 2008. The buyback rate will be set at $0.25/kWh, available through a 10-year contract with the utility. The offer is extended to all customers who (1) are purchasing renewable energy through the utility’s voluntary program and (2) have installed or will have installed qualifying systems after March 6, 2007. The minimum installation size is 1 kW and the maximum is 10 kW (DC). Two utility meters are required. While the tariff sheet specifies a ceiling of 150 kW, MGE has told me that the ceiling will likely be raised, depending on the level of subscription growth in its voluntary renewable energy program. Under this tariff, all renewable energy and air emissions credits become property of the utility.
Apart from the 25 cent/kWh rate, MGE’s tariff appears to be identical to We Energies’ PV buyback tariff.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Sheboygan Press editorialized on May 18 about a new renewable energy project:
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We hear lots of talk about reducing the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, but the partnership between the City of Sheboygan and Alliant Energy is talk in action.
This week, officials from Sheboygan’s wastewater treatment plant and the electric utility unveiled the latest technology in renewable energy — microturbines. There are 10 microturbines at the treatment plant that burn methane gas, a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process. The gas is used to run the turbines to produce electricity.
A story from the Marsfield News-Herald by Karen Madden:
State leaders got a firsthand look Wednesday at improvements at a Wisconsin Rapids cranberry plant that officials say are creating jobs, benefiting growers and helping the environment.
As part of Capital for the Day – an event that brought the governor and members of his cabinet to Portage and Wood counties – Administration Secretary Steve Bablitch and Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Rod Nilsestuen toured Ocean Spray’s new cranberry concentrator and methane gas energy system facilities.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )