Archive for May, 2006

FAA takes the wind out of wind farms

Posted on May 31, 2006. Filed under: Wind |


A Chicago Tribune story by Michael Hawthorne spotlights the de facto moratorium on wind generation development and quotes RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman:

Critics blame politics after agency suspends projects in Midwest

The federal government has stopped work on more than a dozen wind farms planned across the Midwest, saying research is needed on whether the giant turbines could interfere with military radar.

But backers of wind power say the action has little to do with national security. The real issue, they say, is a group of wealthy vacationers who think a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts would spoil the view at their summer homes.

Opponents of the Cape Wind project include several influential members of Congress. Critics say their latest attempt to thwart the planting of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound has led to a moratorium on new wind farms hundreds of miles away in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Federal officials declined to reveal how many stop-work orders have been sent out. But developers said that at least 15 wind farm proposals in the Midwest have been shut down by the Federal Aviation Administration since the start of the year. . . .

“This is a big, ugly political maneuver by a handful of people who are undermining American’s energy security,” said Michael Vickerman executive director of RENEW Wisconsin . . .

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WINDPOWER 2006 Conference & Exhibition

Posted on May 26, 2006. Filed under: Wind |


The American Wind Energy Association hosts WINDPOWER 2006 in Pittsburgh, June 4-7:

With over 4,500 attendees and over 280 exhibitors expected, WINDPOWER 2006 Conference and Exhibition is the place to be, whether you are an established industry veteran or a newcomer to this exciting industry!

Each year, the WINDPOWER conference brings together the industry’s leading wind energy professionals from around the world for 3 days of conference sessions and an interactive tradeshow where our exhibitors showcase their products and services. With the tremendous growth in the wind energy industry in recent years, don’t miss this opportunity to participate in North America’s largest wind energy conference and exhibition.

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Sun shines on hospitality industry

Posted on May 25, 2006. Filed under: Solar |


Focus on Energy issued its newest fact sheet on use of solar water heating in the hospitality industry:

It’s no surprise that rising natural gas prices have hospitality industry managers looking for new ways to reduce costs. Owners of hotels, motels, restaurants, resorts and related services such as commercial laundries are feeling the pinch as the cost of hot water and space heating skyrockets.

However, the sun will shine for managers and owners willing to consider an innovative approach to staying competitive. Solar thermal energy systems collect solar energy and provide heat for many different applications. As fossil fuel prices have risen, solar thermal systems have become cost effective for many hospitality businesses.

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PSC solicits comments on implementation of new energy law

Posted on May 24, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |


In a letter dated May 19, 2006, from Robert Norcross, Public Service Administrator, Gas and Energy Division, thanks the members of the Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables and begins the process to implement some of the new laws passed in Act 141. The letter reads in part:

This letter is the Public Service Commission’s first opportunity to say “thank you” to Task Force members for the substantial work you have performed . . . . Your initiative has been essential in developing a new framework for statwide energy efficiency proposals . . .

The Commission has opened docket 1-AC-220 to implement the requirements of this new law. We are now seeking input as to which key areas of the energy efficiency and renewable energy programs the Commission must address in this rulemaking docket.

Please provide your comments on this subject by Friday, June 2, 2006. Comments must be filed using the Electronic Regulatory Filing system (ERF). . . . Members of the pubic may file comments using the ERF system or may file an original in person or by mail at Public Service Commission, 610 N. Whitney Way, P.O. Box 7854, Madison, WI 53707-7854.

The Commission’s coordinator for this project is Ms. Carol Stemrich. You can reach her at (608) 566-8174 or at carol.stemrich@psc.state.wi.us.

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Renewables hot, but not new

Posted on May 23, 2006. Filed under: General |


A story by Carlos Gieseken in The Wausau Daily Herald reports on the current interest in renewables:

Although fears about global warming and rising energy costs have spawned a national discussion about renewable energy sources, the technology is not new.

“It’s recently become sexy, but it’s been around for years,” said Kelly Zagrzebski, spokeswoman for Wisconsin Public Service Corp. “It was a hot topic in the early ’70s when there was the energy crisis with vehicles. Now it’s being driven by global warming fears and concerns about carbon-based fuels.”

The latest WPSC customer to opt for its NatureWise program is the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which signed an agreement last month to receive 10 percent of its energy in the form of renewable energy.

(more…)

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Taxpayers benefit from renewable energy effort

Posted on May 22, 2006. Filed under: Landfill Gas |


The Sheboygan Press editorialized on May 18 about a new renewable energy project:

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.

(more…)

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Firm works on small-scale biodiesel production

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


The Country Today includes comments from Mark Daugherty, a member of RENEW’s board, in a story on small-scale biodiesel production:

Mark Daugherty, Great Lakes BioFuels chief technology officer, said a soybean grower would use 10 to 20 percent of his cropland to grow enough fuel to burn on the farm, depending on crop yields and fuel needs. He said it might make sense for farmers to work together and produce biodiesel at a local co-op, so the machinery could be of a larger scale and more automated.

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Residential solar makes sense

Posted on May 18, 2006. Filed under: Solar |


Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program published an updated fact sheet on solar electric systems:

Solar electric systems will be an important source of electricity for the 21st century. These systems can easily be located in urban areas and integrated attractively into buildings. They are silent, produce no emissions, and require no fuel other than sunlight. With a grid-connected solar electric system, it is not necessary to depend totally on solar power. Many grid-connected residential systems provide half or less of the power required yet still contribute to offsetting fossil fuel electricity production.

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Seminar on wind turbines in the Great Lakes, June 14

Posted on May 17, 2006. Filed under: Wind |


The Wisconsin Public Utility Institute, a part of the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Business, Executive Education, hosts the seminar:

Wind energy deployment has increased exponentially over the past few years. Many states are beginning to explore the possibility of building wind turbines in open waters as well as on land. Could the Great Lakes provide an opportunity for more wind development in the Midwest?

Conference discussions will include:
> Prospects for Offshore Wind Energy Development
> Offshore Wind Technologies
> Regional Initiatives and Study Groups
> Technological Requirements and Barriers
> A Viable Wind Energy Legal Framework

Click here for complete details.

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Everyone invited to RENEW open house, Monday, May 22

Posted on May 16, 2006. Filed under: General |


RENEW Wisconsin and the other organizations at 222 South Hamilton Street, Madison, invite you to our Spring Open House to celebrate transitions and successes.

We’ll celebrate the change of season, the change of career for Caryl Terryl (retirement from the Sierra Club), and the change of career for Carla Klein (Caryl’s replacement).

Food, beverage, and camaraderie provided free.

Please join us on Monday, May 22 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 222 S. Hamilton (the corner of South Hamilton, West Wilson, and South Henry).

Cordially,
Better Environmental Solutions
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Madison Audubon Society
RENEW Wisconsin
Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance
Sierra Club
Sustain Dane
Syntropy Energy Consulting
Thrall Conservation Consulting
Trout Unlimited
Wisconsin Wetlands Association

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