Archive for July, 2006

Summer newsletter available on-line

Posted on July 31, 2006. Filed under: General |

The summer issue of Wisconsin Renewable Quarterly includes these stories:

Misplaced Security Concerns Still Wind Projects
A hastily drafted amendment to a national defense bill passed in January has triggered a chain of events that has now brought windpower development in Wisconsin to a standstill.

Doyle Sets Goals on Energy Independence
Governor Jim Doyle, joined by RENEW Executive Director Michael Vickerman and other leaders from industry, environmental groups, and the University of Wisconsin (UW), signed Wisconsin’s “Declaration of Energy Independence” – setting broad, ambitious goals for the state to become the nation’s leader in the drive toward energy independence.

Renewable Energy Leadership Profiles: Niels Wolter
Niels Wolter serves as the solar energy consultant for
Focus on Energy, so he’s usually known as the “solar guy”.
However, Niels reveals deeper and wider passions.

Niels - cropped (2).jpg

U.S. Farm Digesters Enjoy Growth Spurt
Over the past two years, the number of digesters has more than doubled due to a diverse array of national, state, and local activities to market, cost share, and reliably develop operational systems.

If you would like to comment on anything in (or not in) the newsletter, feel free.

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Senators play hardball on wind power moratoroium

Posted on July 28, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

Obama Contact: Tommy Vietor or Robert Gibbs, (202) 228-5511
Durbin Contact: Sandra Abrevaya, (202) 224-7115
Date: July 25, 2006

Illinois Senators Announce Hold on Nominee Until FAA Clarifies Policy on Construction of Wind Farms
Obama and Durbin Say Wind Farms Provide clean, alternative sources of Energy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) Monday announced that they will put a hold on the nomination of Andrew Steinberg to be Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues a conclusive determination as to whether the operation of wind farms under construction in the Midwest will interfere with radar systems. A hold has the effect of blocking a nomination.

“The Administration’s promised response on windmill construction is long overdue. It is time for a straight answer,” said Durbin. “Windmills have become an important source of clean alternative energy throughout the country and are particularly important in the Midwest which has more cumulative wind energy potential than any other area in the country. If there are real problems, we should find ways to mitigate, reduce or eliminate them, but our wind farm owners deserve an answer today.”


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Fuel from the field

Posted on July 27, 2006. Filed under: Vehicles - Vegetable oil |

This week’s edition of The Country Today carries informative stories on biofuels, including the headline article by Heidi Clausen:

A lush, waist-high canola field grows behind Tom Perlick’s Washburn County farm.

Mr. Perlick steps into a row that has just been swathed and gently cracks open a light-green pod, revealing the tiny key to his energy independence.

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Escapism Masquerading as Planning

Posted on July 25, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

Petroleum and Natural Gas Watch, Vol. 5, Number 3
July 25, 2006
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin

The draft Strategic Energy Assessment issued by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is a particularly fine example of a government report that is interesting only for what it leaves out. Covering the years 2006 through 2012, the SEA purports to bring to light “issues that may need to be addressed to ensure the availability and reliability of Wisconsin’s electric energy supply.” Unfortunately, from a planning perspective, what the report does not address is far more critical to Wisconsin’s electricity future than what is presented in the report.


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Wisconsin Firm Lands Contract to Build Wind Turbine Towers

Posted on July 24, 2006. Filed under: Wind |


Manitowoc, Wisconsin – Tower Tech Holdings’ wholly owned subsidiary, Tower Tech Systems, will produce and deliver 34 large Wind Tower Support Structures for Apoyos Estructuras Metaicas S.A., an affiliate of Gamesa Eolica. Delivery of the first two towers is due by July 31, 2006, with two towers to be delivered every week thereafter. The four-section Wind Tower Support Structures are 78 meters when erected. Tower Tech is currently under a multi-year, preferential manufacturing contract with Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark.

Tower Tech Systems’ manufacturing plant is in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

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Monona Terrace & Tri-North Builders Going Green

Posted on July 21, 2006. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Focus on Energy/Public Benefits, Global Warming, Green Building, Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel |

Channel 3 reports that the Monona Terrace will be adding solar water heaters and Tri-North Builders will relocate into one of the greenest buildings in Dane County.

See the story at Channel 3.

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Manitowoc wind farm gets county OK

Posted on July 20, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

From the Manitowoc Herald Times:

Emerging Energies step closer to Mishicot facility
by Kristopher Wenn

MANITOWOC — Wind developer Emerging Energies is a step closer to building seven wind turbines near the town of Mishicot.

The five-member Manitowoc County Board of Adjustment unanimously approved the company’s plan on Monday, Mike Demske, director of the county planning and park department, said Tuesday.

Bill Rakocy, a partner in Emerging Energies, said in a written statement that the company was encouraged that Monday’s vote was unanimous.

“We look forward to the construction and commissioning of our project as soon as possible,” Rakocy said.

Monday’s vote approves Emerging Energies’ overall plan for the wind farm, but the company will have to submit individual permit applications for each of the seven turbines it plans to construct, Demske said.


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Entrust Our Energy Destiny to Big Oil?

Posted on July 19, 2006. Filed under: Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel |

Petroleum and Natural Gas Watch, July 17, 2006, Vol. 5, Number 2
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with a nagging question: What are Exxon Mobil and the other oil majors going to do with the Everests of cash that will pile up in their vaults when U.S. gasoline prices reach $5.00 a gallon?

Drill for more oil? Certainly a reasonable expectation, but unlikely given what happened a generation ago, when oil companies large and small plowed their profits back into finding new fields rivaling Prudhoe Bay or the North Sea in productivity. Though the sums they spent were impressive, the results weren’t.


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UW-Green Bay forms Campus Sustainability Committee

Posted on July 19, 2006. Filed under: General |

UW-GB Chancellor Bruce Shepard appointed a permanent Campus Sustainability Committee, according to a press release from the university:

The committee of students, faculty, staff and community members will address a range of campus issues related to minimizing the long- and short-term impacts of the University’s actions on the environment.

The committee will form task forces to look at energy, natural areas, indoor environmental quality, water and stormwater management.

In addition, the committee will determine the impact of the state’s new guidelines for sustainable building practices and recommend to the chancellor the use of funds to match the UW-Green Bay student contribution to NatureWise, a renewable energy program offered by Wisconsin Public Service Corp.


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Sierra Club sues Defense over wind farm moratorium

Posted on July 13, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2006

David Willett, 202-675-6698
Bruce Nilles, 608-257-4994
Sierra Club Calls on Rumsfeld, DOD to Stop Blocking Wind FarmsSuit filed against Defense Department for delaying study of windmill threats to security

San Francisco: The Sierra Club today filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld and the U.S. Department of Defense for creating a virtual moratorium on the construction of new wind power plants. Rumsfeld and DOD have failed to complete a congressionally mandated study of windmills’ impact on radar. In the meantime, DOD, Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration have halted wind farm construction “within radar line of sight” of any military radar–which has effectively stopped construction across the U.S.

“While the Defense Department drags its feet studying if wind farms are a threat to national security, Americans are missing out on cleaner, cheaper energy,” said Kristin Henry, staff attorney for Sierra Club. “If the military can have windmills and effective radar at Guantanamo, why can’t we have both in the Midwest?”


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