Archive for January, 2006

Turning Manure To Power

Posted on January 31, 2006. Filed under: Digesters |

A story by John Hartzell in the Wisconsin State Journal describes how farmer use a digester to get rid of animal waste and generate electricity:

When dairy farmer Gary Boyke looks out at the manure his herd produces, he sees the prospect of profits rather than waste, odors and water pollution.

Boyke is one of a growing number of farmers turning animal waste into energy, and he’s spreading the word to others. He will be among those giving presentations at a conference Tuesday in Madison on ways farmers can turn manure into money.

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Environmental groups join backers of ethanol bill

Posted on January 30, 2006. Filed under: Vehicles - Ethanol |

Environmental groups announced their support for state legislation that would require gasoline sold in Wisconsin to contain at 10% ethanol. A press release issued by the groups said:

With the addition of the Clean Air Protection Amendment, Clean Wisconsin, Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, Environmental Law & Policy Center and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation are now supporting AB 15, the E-10 mandate.

According to the press statement the Clean Air Protection Amendment allows the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to:

. . . to suspend the mandate if the use of 10% ethanol is demonstrated to cause or contribute to violations of federal air quality standards. The amendment gives WDNR proper authority to prevent possible pollution problems that might result from the legislation.

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Businesses call for strong state energy bill needed

Posted on January 27, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

Several business represenatives wrote the following commentary which appeared in the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

Energy is one of the most important issues facing our state and our nation. . . .

Our current energy choices have consequences for our quality of life as well. In Green Bay, we know the negative impacts of traditional sources of power on our property, recreation and natural resources like the bay and local lakes and streams. Locally, coal dust has created problems for homeowners and boat owners, not to mention folks who like to spend time outdoors.

Additionally, burning the coal produces mercury as a byproduct, resulting in mercury advisories for all in-state waters in Wisconsin, raising health concerns among anglers who catch fish for consumption.

Wisconsin needs a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Energy efficiency and renewable energy not only reduce the impact on the environment and public health, but have economic advantages as well.

Signed: A-A Exteriors, Jeffrey Knutson, Winneconne; Bay Towel Linen and Uniform Rental, Paul Linzmeyer, Green Bay; C & F Repairs, Chris Fritsch, Hilbert; Highland Building Consultants LLC, Douglas Meek, Green Bay; and Sagrillo Power & Light, Mick Sagrillo, Forestville

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Wisconsin in good company as states take lead on renewable energy

Posted on January 26, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

From a column by Bill Berry in The Capital Times:

It’s clear as a sunny January day in Wisconsin that use of domestic, renewable energy is only going to increase in the state and across the country. . . .

Some are hopeful that the market will steer us there. But we are talking about tremendous new infrastructure needs, and history reminds us that each time the U.S. has made quantum jumps in infrastructure, government has helped to stimulate change. Robust markets often follow. That’s where many experts see us now. . . .

At home, the transition won’t be easy. If wishes were all it took, it would have happened by now. Gov. Doyle said last week he wants quick action on the recommendations of his Task Force on Renewable Energy, including getting 10 percent of state energy from renewable sources by 2015. He also wants the Legislature to adopt a bipartisan ethanol bill. . . .

Where will it all lead us? That’ll take time to figure out, but society’s leaders have a chance to make a difference, now and for the future.

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Nuclear Power: No Solution to Global Warming

Posted on January 24, 2006. Filed under: Generation Plants |

Al Gedicks, sociology professor at UW-La Crosse and long-time activist, focuses on global warming in his review of nuclear power, but his commentary also applies to nuclear power as an unwise choice for energy generation to replace coal and oil:

The nuclear industry has seized the opportunity presented by public concern with global warming to promote a revival of nuclear power. A recent column by Theodore J. Iltis proclaimed that nuclear power is “the only realistic way to satisfy our nation’s power needs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.” (WSJ 1/14/06) Iltis’s argument is based upon several myths.


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Real hope lies in renewable energy, not nukes

Posted on January 23, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

A commentary by Chris Talbot, who works at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, ran in the Stevens Point Journal on January 18:

Last week, I read an editorial titled “Nuclear power safer, cleaner than coal.” I would hate to see the conversation end there — the real hope lies in renewable energy.

Nuclear energy always has been a source of contention. During the years, there have been numerous accidents, including an exploding fuel rod in Idaho that saturated three operators so completely their hands and heads needed to be severed from their bodies and buried separately; the release of radioactive waste into the air, water and soil downwind and downstream from Hanford site in Washington state; and a partial meltdown in Monroe, Mich., that is documented by a witnessing engineer in the book “We Almost Lost Detroit.”

Chris is the daughter of a former Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant employee.

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Ethanol bill may spark Senate fight

Posted on January 20, 2006. Filed under: Vehicles - Ethanol |

A story by Tom Sheehan in the La Crosse Tribune reports:

The Assembly passed it. The governor wants it. But a divided state Senate appears likely to determine the fate of a controversial proposal to require that most gasoline sold in Wisconsin include 10 percent ethanol.

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Blount St. plant will stop burning coal in 6 years

Posted on January 20, 2006. Filed under: Generation Plants |

The headline story by Ben Fischer in the Wisconsin State Journal begins:

The controversial Blount Street power plant will stop burning coal to generate electricity within six years, Madison Gas and Electric Co. promised on Thursday.

The MG&E Web site offers a press release, summary, and fact sheet on the Blount Street plant.

MG&E says that it will:

* Discontinue burning coal at Blount Generating Station at the end of 2011. The plant will burn only natural gas.
* Replace Blount coal-fired electricity with clean coal-fired electricity.
* Add renewable resources.
* Increase energy efficiency and conservation. We will encourage all MGE customers to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses.
* Offer new, innovative pricing options. We will pilot new innovative pricing options to give customers greater choice and control.
* Demonstrate new technologies. We are testing a first of its kind application of a Stirling engine to generate power from landfill gas. We will serve customers the first electricity in the world to be made from sugar-based, hydrogen-fueled generation.

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Biofuels workshop, Saturday, January 21, 2006

Posted on January 19, 2006. Filed under: Vehicles - Vegetable oil |

John Edward Peck posted the following notice about an upcoming workshop:

Want to be able to put straight veggie oil, biodiesel, and petro diesel all into your stock tank to RUN YOUR DIESEL car???

Come to the PrairieFire BioFuels presentation this SATURDAY to get a first hand look at the goods out of the box and in the car.

The meeting begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Madison Enterprise Center, 100 S. Baldwin, in the 3rd floor conference room.

Taavi McMahon and Mike Clark will discuss the Elsbett system, a one-tank VO system that allows the diesel driver to blend SVO, BioD, and DinoD in the stock tank. It’s very attractive for its simplicity and no loss of space from second tank.

The group will have the opportunity to view an Elsbett kit ‘right-out-of-the-box’, discuss installation, and listen to accounts of Taavi’s initial months with the Elsbett system installed in his 82(?) Isuzu.

We can also use this time to assess interest within the community to host an Elsbett workshop in early spring. We’ll also give a short synopsis of where the Coop group in at the moment and plans for the future.

John’s e-mail address is

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Doyle urges passage of renewables task force proposals

Posted on January 18, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

In his State of the State address on January 17, 2006, Governor James Doyle made the following comments on energy issues:

. . . we doubled our commitment to energy assistance to help people pay their bills.
…we encouraged the utilities to offer $12 million in relief to middle-class families …
…we ended automatic gas tax increases, and called for legislation sponsored by Senator Hansen and Representative Zepnick to outlaw price gouging at the pump…
…to reduce energy demand, we turned down the temperature in state buildings – including the Capitol.

But we must do more. Thousands of Wisconsin families are struggling to pay their December heating bill, but they aren’t eligible for federal assistance because their income is a little too high.

So tonight … I propose an emergency heating assistance package to provide $6 million to families who make $40,000 a year or less. We’re in the heart of the heating season, and these families need help. I’m asking you to pass this legislation immediately.

And that’s not all. We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.

Senator Cowles and Representative Montgomery are working to pass the recommendations of my Task Force on Renewable Energy – including getting 10 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2015.

It’s an ambitious goal … but it’s the right goal and we should settle for nothing less. I urge you to pass the bill without watering it down and without delay.

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