Archive for February, 2007

Niels Wolter joins Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC)

Posted on February 25, 2007. Filed under: General, Solar |

WECC is delighted to announce the hiring of Niels Wolter, who will be joining our Renewable Energy Department on April 10. Niels will be managing the Solar Electric program that WECC implements as part of the State of Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy initiative.
For those of you not familiar with Niels, he has been managing the Focus on Energy Solar Electric program for the past five years as an employee of MSB Energy Associates, Inc. and a subcontractor to WECC. He has also managed the Wisconsin Million Solar Roofs program for Wisconsin under four separate contracts. He is passionate about solar energy technologies and lives in a house with a solar electric and solar heating system. He has degrees in Geology and Energy Analysis & Policy and has worked in the oil and gas industries as well as an energy efficiency consultant.

We look forward to Niels joining our Renewable Energy Department and working closely with the others at WECC to provide high value services to WECC’s customers in the future.

Don Wichert, P.E.
Director, Renewable Energy Programs

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Wisconsin set to ride the wave of clean technology

Posted on February 24, 2007. Filed under: General |

According to an article on the Web site of the Wisconsin Technology Network:

Wisconsin has a chance to ride the wave of clean technology because the state has ample supplies of raw materials, from wood waste to corn stover; a proven conservation ethic; an increasingly efficient manufacturing sector; and impressive research and development expertise.

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Doyle Names Lauren Azar to PSC

Posted on February 23, 2007. Filed under: General |

The media release said:

Governor Jim Doyle today announced that he is appointing Lauren Azar to the Public Service Commission (PSC) effective Monday, March 12, 2007. Azar, of Madison, replaces Bert Garvin, who is stepping down.

“I am pleased to appoint Lauren Azar to the Public Service Commission,” Governor Doyle said. “Lauren will bring both the right experience and judgment to the challenges and opportunities facing Wisconsin. As both a utility and environmental attorney for over a decade, she is highly qualified to address the complex matters that come before the PSC and evaluate these questions from the perspective of ratepayers, the utility industry, and the entire community.”

“I am thrilled and honored to serve the State of Wisconsin, which has a long history of leading the nation in utility regulation,” Lauren Azar said. “I believe that the PSC should always value reliable utility service, competitive rates that protect the consumer, and the environment, all of which are critical to move the state forward. I applaud Governor Doyle’s leadership on economic development and energy independence. I look forward to furthering the Governor’s efforts in these areas and I thank him for the opportunity to serve the people of this state.”


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Low-interest loans available from municipal utilities

Posted on February 19, 2007. Filed under: Energy Finance |

Low-interest loans for renewable-energy systems are available to
residential and small business customers of all Wisconsin Public
Power, Inc. (WPPI) member utilities. This incentive is available for
solar water-heating systems, solar space-heating systems for
buildings that use electricity as the primary heat source,
photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW) in capacity,
wind-energy systems up to 20 kW in capacity, and repairs to existing systems.

Customers can borrow from $2,500 to $20,000, at an interest rate of
1.99%. Loan terms vary from three to 10 years. Financing is through
Fannie Mae’s Residential Home Energy Improvement Program and
underwritten by Energy Finance Solutions (EFS), a service of
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation. Eligibility is based on
the customer’s credit score, bankruptcy history and debt-to-income ratio.

Electric customers of the following WPPI member utilities are
eligible for loans:
* Algoma Utilities
* Black River Falls Municipal Utilities
* Boscobel Utilities
* Brodhead Water & Light
* Cedarburg Light & Water Utility
* Columbus Water & Light
* Cuba City Light & Water
* Eagle River Light & Water Utility
* Florence Utilities
* Hartford Electric
* Hustisford Utilities
* Independence Light & Power
* Jefferson Utilities
* Juneau Utilities
* Kaukauna Utilities
* Lake Mills Light & Water
* Lodi Utilities
* Menasha Utilities
* Mount Horeb Utilities
* Muscoda Utilities
* New Glarus Light & Water
* New Holstein Utilities
* New London Utilities
* New Richmond Utilities
* Oconomowoc Utilities
* Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities
* Plymouth Utilities
* Prairie du Sac Utilities
* Reedsburg Utility Commission
* City Utilities of Richland Center
* River Falls Municipal Utilities
* Slinger Utilities
* Stoughton Utilities
* Sturgeon Bay Utilities
* Sun Prairie Water & Light
* Two Rivers Water & Light
* Waterloo Utilities
* Waunakee Utilities
* Waupun Utilities
* Westby Utilities
* Whitehall Electric Utility


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Posted on February 15, 2007. Filed under: General |

Milestones and Achievements for RENEW and Renewables

PSC approves WE’s experimental tariffs, including a bulk purchase rate for its Energy for Tomorrow program, 22.5 cent/kWh rate for solar generation, and an expanded net energy billing tariff for wind turbines up to 100 kW

Governor signs SB 459 into law (Act 141), strengthening state RPS and protecting Focus on Energy from future budget raids

Wind strategies workshop organized by Focus on Energy to respond to local opposition to wind projects

AgStar conference highlights WI leadership in farm biodigester projects

RENEW triggers national media and political outreach campaign to address permitting delays for wind turbines due to concerns over radar interference

FAA issues air navigation permits for two previously stalled Wisconsin wind projects

Neenah Paper commits to the state’s largest renewable energy purchase –nearly 11 million kWh/year from We Energies’ Energy For Tomorrow program

RENEW and Clean Wisconsin join forces to intervene in lawsuit challenging Manitowoc County approval of seven-turbine windpower installation

RENEW begins forming Wisconsin Wind Coordinating Committee to develop strategies for overcoming barriers to wind development

RENEW begins drafting framework for Advanced Renewable Tariffs to support distributed renewable generation

RENEW files testimony, brief in support of We Energies’ Blue Sky Green Field wind energy project

We Energies receives two national awards for innovative renewable energy marketing at the 11th annual Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in San Francisco

PSC approves Blue Sky Green Field project

Governor proposes $40 million in biennial budget to support renewable energy companies and biofuels development

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Firefighters get solar hot water

Posted on February 14, 2007. Filed under: Solar |

#8 Solar H2O - Low.jpg

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz dedicated a solar water heater, installed by Seventh Generation Energy, atop fire station #8, the largest of Madison’s fire stations. Two small solar electric panels mounted on the water heaters supply electricity to pump the water to two 119-gallon water storage tanks.

“This is just the latest way that Madison city government is doing its part to reduce our contribution to global warming,” said Mayor Cieslewicz. “In combination with similar initiatives such as our purchase of hybrid diesel-electric Metro buses, we are making a sustained commitment to protecting our air quality and reducing our dependence on non-renewable energy sources.”

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Green power reduces carbon footprint

Posted on February 13, 2007. Filed under: Generation Plants, Global Warming |

A story by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on ways to reduce a person’s carbon footprint:

The typical customer of We Energies, for example, sends about 17,200 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air every year from the 750 kilowatt-hours of electricity he or she uses. That’s roughly the equivalent of adding another sport utility vehicle on the road.

To reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they are responsible for – their “carbon footprint” – customers can sign up for a “green pricing” program offered by the electric utility. . . .

“This type of program is one of the most powerful things an individual can do to scale back on their carbon footprint,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of the renewable-energy advocacy group Renew Wisconsin.

The story includes contacts for purching green power from Wisconsin utilities.

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The Giant Sucking Sound, Revisited

Posted on February 12, 2007. Filed under: Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel |

Petroleum and Natural Gas Watch
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
February 12, 2007, Vol. 6, Number 3

Remember the metaphorical “giant sucking sound” that Ross Perot invoked in the 1992 presidential debates? Perot employed that image to characterize the rapid exodus of jobs to Mexico that would surely result from ratifying the North American Free Trade Agreement. Fifteen years later, that vivid phrase could appropriately describe the increasingly desperate circumstances befalling Cantarell, Mexico’s largest oilfield, situated about 50 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The giant sucking sound you might hear at Cantarell is what happens when hundreds of oil wells begin drawing gas and water from the very reservoirs that used to yield copious quantities of petroleum. It’s the sound of an oilfield rolling over its peak.

To unknowing American ears, the name Cantarell evokes a casual, Southwestern feeling, more suggestive of a dude ranch than the world’s No. 2 oil field. By far the most productive oil reservoir in the Western Hemisphere, Cantarell was yielding more than two million barrels per day (bpd) as recently as 2005, outperforming all other fields save mighty Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. At $50 per barrel that level of production translated to $100 million a day. When a wealth generator of that magnitude starts to sputter and lose productivity, other oilfields must pick up the slack or else the Mexican economy is bound to take a hit.


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Focus on Energy presentation, noon, Feb. 12

Posted on February 11, 2007. Filed under: Focus on Energy/Public Benefits |

Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Room 400 SE, State Capitol

RENEW Wisconsin and the Madison Peak Oil Group invite legislators, aides, Capitol staff, lobbyists, agency staff, and the general public to a series brown-bag lunches on energy-related issues.

Without a doubt, this legislative session will see several bills and administrative rules on energy issues, and the brown-bag lunches will provide the background and context to help with a better understanding of the underlying issues. The briefings will be non-partisan and will not offer positions on any proposals pending at the time.

Focus on Energy: Status and Future, presented by Kathy Kuntz, Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not get completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control the state’s growing demand for electricity and natural gas.

For more information contact Ed Blume.

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Alliant seeks OK for power plant

Posted on February 9, 2007. Filed under: Clean Air |

A story by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on Alliant’s plans for a new generation plant:

Madison-based Alliant Energy Corp. has asked state regulators for permission to build a coal-fired power plant in southwestern Wisconsin, reigniting a fight over whether the state’s utilities should be allowed to expand their use of coal.

Buy a link hereAlliant, the parent company of Wisconsin Power & Light Co., estimates that the plant would cost $777 million to build. The 300-megawatt plant – enough to power 150,000 homes – would be located in Cassville, along the Mississippi River in Grant County, and would begin operating in 2012.

Details were disclosed a week after Gov. Jim Doyle announced that he would appoint a task force to recommend ways Wisconsin can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Coal-fired power plants are a key contributor of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

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