Archive for September, 2006

Make Wisconsin a biofuels leader

Posted on September 29, 2006. Filed under: Vehicles - Vegetable oil |

The Wisconsin State Journal ran the following editorial on September 29, 2006:

The Legislature’s failure to require most gasoline in Wisconsin to contain 10 percent ethanol remains a glaring void in an otherwise flourishing effort to develop a homegrown biofuels industry.
Lawmakers should correct their mistake next year.

Boosting biofuels benefits not only Wisconsin’s energy independence but also its economy and environment.


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Four UW campuses to be energy independent

Posted on September 28, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

Governor Doyle issued a media release on September 27:

Will Save 260,000 Tons of Coal Over Ten Years,
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 676,000 Tons

Governor Jim Doyle today announced that the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point will take part in a pilot program to make their campuses completely energy independent within the next five years. Upon completion, the schools will be the first state-owned facilities capable of acquiring or producing renewable energy equivalent to their consumption.

“With ongoing increases in the cost of energy, now is the time for Wisconsin to take control of our energy future,” Governor Doyle said. “By committing four of our campuses to energy independence by 2012 we are tapping into the ingenuity of the UW System and laying the groundwork for a cleaner, more energy independent future in Wisconsin.”

Read the full release here.

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Focus on Energy provides start-up funds for solar lab

Posted on September 26, 2006. Filed under: Solar |

Focus on Energy supplied the funds for the $20,000 grant announced by Governor Doyle to the Madison Area Technical College (MATC) to cover start-up costs associated with the development of the Northern Solar Testing and Certification Facility, only the second testing lab in the country.

Don with check.jpg
Don Wichert, Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Program Director, stands with the ceremonial
check from Focus on Energy.

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Doyle Proposes Public, Private Investments to Develop Renewable Energy

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

Doyle for blogs.jpg

Governor Doyle’s office issued the following media release about his announcement at the Madison Area Technical College on Monday morning, September 25:

Part of Broad Effort to Create 17,000 High End Jobs in WisconsinGovernor Jim Doyle today unveiled plans to grow Bioindustry and Renewable Energy in Wisconsin through a $450 million public and private investment strategy – including nearly $80 million from the state – in renewable fuel sources to help the nation achieve energy independence. The Governor’s proposal, which will be included in his budget next year, is part of a broad effort to make Wisconsin the nation’s leader in energy independence and create 17,000 jobs in our state.

“Here in Wisconsin, we’re doing our part and setting an example for the nation in energy independence,” Governor Doyle said. “This new state funding will encourage innovative new energy technologies across our state that will help the nation kick its addiction to oil. As I’ve always said, when it comes to our energy future, we should be more dependent on the Midwest, and less dependent on the Mideast.”


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Turbine open house – Byron, Wisconsin

Posted on September 22, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

Kid up.jpg

Take a tour of the We Energies Byron wind turbines Saturday, Sept. 23. The guided tours take about 30 minutes and begin every half hour between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to enter the tower base and watch the wind turbine shut down and be restarted.

Constructed in 1999, the two wind turbines feature 75-foot blades mounted on 215-foot steel towers, for a total height of 290 feet. Depending on wind speed, each turbine can generate 660 kilowatts of electricity for a total output of 1.3 megawatts. The output supplies power to customers of the We Energies Energy for Tomorrow renewable energy program (

Attend a tour or visit our Web site to learn more about wind turbines, the importance of wind and other renewable energy sources to generate power, and We Energies’ plans for future renewable energy projects.

Representatives from RENEW Wisconsin, Focus on Energy and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association also will be on site to answer questions about customer-owned wind turbines and solar installations.

Tour reservations are not needed for individuals or small groups, but groups of 10 or more should call (414) 221-4264 to reserve a specific tour time.

The wind turbines are located at 5656 County Road F in Byron, Wis.

From the south:
• Take Hwy 41 north to Hwy 49 (Waupun exit).
• Go west on Hwy 49 one-half mile to stop sign.
• Turn north on Hwy 175.
• Follow Hwy 175 north for three miles.
• Turn east on CT Hwy F and follow one-half mile to turbine site.

From the north:
• Take Hwy 41 south to CT Hwy B exit.
• Turn west on CT Hwy B and follow for one-half mile.
• Turn south on Hwy 175.
• Go south on Hwy 175 for two miles.
• Turn east on CT Hwy F and follow for one-half mile to turbine site.

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Mayor Cieslewicz joins warming panel discussion

Posted on September 21, 2006. Filed under: Global Warming |

This coming Monday (September 25th) at 7:00 p.m. there will be a Global Warming Panel in the Memorial Union Theater:

Dr Jonathan Patz
Dr. Richard Shaten
Dr. Dan Anderson
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz
Faramarz Vakili-Zadeh

The panel will discuss the economic, social, political, and
environmental issues surrounding the world’s greatest epidemic.
The panelists come from unique academic backgrounds, ensuring a provocative and interesting discussion.

The panel will be followed by a reception in the Theater’s lobby

There will be FREE punch and cookies.

Bring your friends and come with questions!

Contact the Contemporary Issues Committee:

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Neenah Paper Becomes State’s No. 1 Purchaser of Renewable Energy

Posted on September 20, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy, Wind |

RENEW released the following on September 20, 2006:

RENEW Wisconsin hailed Neenah Paper for voluntarily committing to buy nearly 11 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity annually from Energy for Tomorrow, We Energies’ renewable energy subscription program.

“With this purchase Neenah Paper can rightfully lay claim to being the largest purchaser of renewable electricity in Wisconsin,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide nonprofit organization that promotes voluntary renewable energy purchases by businesses, individuals and government entities.

In one fell swoop, Neenah Paper’s purchase will expand the amount the amount of renewable electricity sold through Energy for Tomorrow by 20%. The amount of renewable electricity Neenah Paper is buying from We Energies could supply more than more than 1,300 Wisconsin homes. It more than triples the annual output from the two wind turbines the utility owns and operates along U.S. Highway 41 south of Fond du Lac.


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Utility files for approval of wind farm

Posted on September 19, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

A story by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on developments on the Cedar Ridge wind project:

Project expected to cost up to $175 million

Wisconsin Power & Light Co. plans to spend as much as $175 million to build a wind-power project in Fond du Lac County to beef up the amount of electricity it produces with wind turbines.

The Cedar Ridge Wind Farm in the Towns of Empire and Eden would consist of about 40 wind turbines generating enough power to meet the needs of roughly 20,000 homes.

On Thursday [September 15], the utility filed an application with state regulators seeking a guaranteed rate of return over 20 years, under the provisions of a state law that passed last year.


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FAA green-lights wind power plans

Posted on September 18, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

One project still faces lawsuit by opponents

Two Wisconsin wind power projects that were stalled by concerns that rotating turbines would interfere with military radar have received the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Among them is one of the largest wind farms on the drawing board in Wisconsin: the Forward Wind Energy Center in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties.

The Forward project, being developed by Invenergy of Chicago, was moving toward construction this year when it ran into a roadblock of opposition.

Permits have been issued for both the Forward project, a 133-turbine development near the Horicon Marsh, as well as the Butler Ridge wind farm in Dodge County, said Bruce Beard, the FAA manager in Texas responsible for the office that issues permits.

“The (permits) are through. We are absolutely through with them, and they have got clearance to start building them,” Beard said Friday.


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Video shows real solar home and real people living in it

Posted on September 15, 2006. Filed under: Solar |

The New York Times produced and posted a video on a green subdivision, complete with solar power, in Sacramento.

In the video, homeowner Larry Brittain explains that in July Sacramento had 13 days over 107 or 110. His electricity bill was $73.23. In his previous 9-year-old home, he estimated his power bill would have been $300 to $335.

Brittian says:

I am conscious of the environment. I was a Boy Scout in the past. And so I do my typical duties of being good citizen. I’m recycling all the time. But it’s just an awareness

Once you buy a home like this and you see what you’re getting for your money, you want to do other things to contribute to the environment and to keep it safe.

Link to the video at (You might have to register with the site, but it’s free, I believe.)

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