Archive for October, 2006

When will the joyride end?

Posted on October 16, 2006. Filed under: Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel |

Randy Udall, whose father (Morris) and uncle (Stewart) were conservation giants, will discuss America’s energy challenges at 7:00 p.m. on October 18, 2006, at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison.

Udall also writes prolifically and insightfully on energy issues and the coming end of cheap oil. From When will the Joy Ride End?:

During the last century oil has transformed the world. British coal launched the Industrial Revolution, but American petroleum put the pedal to the metal. No other material has so profoundly changed the face of the world in such a short time. . . . Soon, experts say, world oil production will reach an all-time high, an apex, a peak. Then, after a short plateau, it will decline forever. What historians will someday call the Oil Era will last only about 250 years. In 2000 we are closer to the Era’s end than to its beginning.

Udall, who founded the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, will also speak at 8:30 a.m. on the same day at the Monona Terrace during the Sustainability Energy Efficiency conference of the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance.

Madison Peak Oil Group, RENEW Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and Wisconsin Green Building Alliance sponsor the evening event.

Community Office for Resource Efficiency –
Madison Peak Oil Group –
RENEW Wisconsin –
Gaylord Nelson Institute –
Wisconsin Green Building Alliance –

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Randy Udall & Methane Madness

Posted on October 12, 2006. Filed under: Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel |

Randy Udall, who will speak at 7:00 p.m. at the Pyle Center on October 18, analyzed our natural gas dependence in Methane Madness:

Gas is the “youngest” of the ssil fuels; its use has risen 1000-fold since 1900. Domestic production was negligible before 1920, rose sharply after World War II, peaked in 1973, dipped during the “gas bubble” of the 1980s, and has flat-lined since. In the past 80 years, we’ve consumed about 950 trillion cubic feet. By some estimates, almost half the gas that will ever be produced in this country has already been burned. Easy come, easy go. Half gone, half left. Much of the “gone” was cheap and easy to produce. Much of what’s left will be relatively more expensive and difficult to extract. The Big Easy is over.

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WPS plans name change, move, and more

Posted on October 10, 2006. Filed under: General |

According to a story by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Though it hasn’t unveiled a new name for the company, WPS Resources Corp. has announced the management team that would take over following its $1.5 billion purchase of Chicago utility Peoples Energy Corp.

Under the deal, WPS Resources will change its name and move its headquarters to Chicago. The acquisition is a move engineered by company Chairman Larry Weyers to help WPS, one of the smallest utilities in the country, survive during a period of industry consolidation.

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Calumet group visits Monfort turbines

Posted on October 9, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

Monfort - Calumet tour (2).jpg

Calumet County citizens with land targetted for a wind farm learned about turbines during a recent visit to the Monfort Energy Center, near Cobb, Wisconsin. The group carried on conversations in a normal tone of voice directly beneath the turbines. They stood in the shadow of the turning blades and felt no ill effects, neither did they find dead birds at the base of the towers.

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Farmer touts turbine in tour this weekend, Oct. 7

Posted on October 6, 2006. Filed under: Solar, Wind |

An article by Eric LaRose in the Sheboygan Press highlights on stop on the Solar Tour of Homes and Businesses, October 6 and 7:

Wind farmer takes dad’s example a step further

Wayne Bruggink of the Town of Sherman remembers when his father installed a windmill at the family farm in the 1940s to generate electricity.

“It was 32 volts,” said Bruggink, 70, adding it was enough to power the farm’s milk house and a refrigerator in the home. “My dad was always looking for ways to do things and move forward. I give him credit for that.”

Today, Bruggink still harnesses the wind for power — though now he has a 100-foot-tall wind turbine he installed three years ago that produces 10,000 watts of electricity a day.


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Two utilities commit to more wind energy

Posted on October 5, 2006. Filed under: Wind |

Wisconsin Public Power Incorporated (WPPI) and Madison Gas & Electric announced plans to add more wind energy.

In a media <a href=”release, WPPI said:

Wisconsin Public Power Inc. will add to its power supply portfolio renewable energy from a 110-megawatt (MW) wind development in Joice, Iowa. The project, called Top of Iowa Phase II, is being developed by Midwest Renewable Energy Projects LLC (MRE Projects). . . .

WPPI’s share of the Top of Iowa II wind farm is expected to generate, on average, about 144,000 MW-hours of renewable energy per year, or enough electricity to power the annual needs of approximately 16,000 homes.

MG&E will simultaneously build and own 30 megawatts of renewable energy in the Top of Iowa Phase II project. The added wind energy will “increase MGE’s wind power portfolio by nearly four times,” according to a release from MG&E.

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A powerful feeling – Solar tour, Oct. 6 &7

Posted on October 4, 2006. Filed under: Solar |

In the Wisconsin State Journal, Judy Newman reports on a home featured in the Solar Tour of Businesses and Homes, October 6 & 7:

Tim and Robyn Wood don’t have to sweat over the electric bills for their Oregon home.

More often than not, their utility company – Wisconsin Power & Light of Madison – pays them for electricity.

With a 24-panel solar array for electricity, a separate solar panel system for the water heater and a small wind turbine, the Woods’ home is still connected to the state’s grid of electric transmission lines. But for the most part, the Woods power their own lights, laundry machines, computers, television and other household appliances.

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A lighter energy load

Posted on October 3, 2006. Filed under: Energy Efficiency |

Tom Content reports on compact flourescent light bulbs in an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

At a time when Wisconsin’s home electricity prices rank 15th in the nation, residents can head to the local hardware store to help them save more than $60 a year on their energy bills.

Starting this week, Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program is pushing energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs at a cut-rate price.

The quest to encourage sales of the energy-efficient bulbs is joined this year by a new player: the nation’s largest retailer.


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Brit envoy makes pitch for alternative energy

Posted on October 2, 2006. Filed under: Energy Policy |

An article by Aaron Nathans in The Capital Times reports on a speech by the British ambassador to the United States:

Issues of supply, security and ecology demand the production of alternative sources of fuel, said the British ambassador to the U.S. in an address at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sir David Manning was in town to hear from a panel of UW-Madison scientists at a private luncheon Friday before giving a public address on “energy security and climate security.”

“If we can find alternative sources of energy that are clean sources of energy, we reduce our dependence on unstable parts of the world,” Manning said. If companies do this, “they will be in the forefront of the new energy technology. They will make a lot of money for it.”

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