Archive for March, 2007

We Energies buys 88 turbines, construction this summer for Fond du Lac project

Posted on March 30, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

We Energies announced the purchase of turbines from Vestas:

MILWAUKEE – We Energies has purchased 88 wind turbines from Vestas Wind Systems for construction of the Blue Sky Green Field wind project in Fond du Lac County. Each Vestas V82 turbine is capable of producing 1.65 megawatts of electricity for a project total of 145 megawatts, enough energy to power approximately 36,000 homes.
This represents the state’s largest wind project to date.
Construction is expected to begin in summer 2007 and will take approximately one year to complete. Six months will be needed for site preparation and the installation of turbine foundations and cabling. An additional six months will be required for turbine erection, assembly, and commissioning.

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Public hearings planned for Monroe County wind towers

Posted on March 29, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

According to a story in the Tomah Journal:

Summit Ridge Energy LLC, the operating company for Invenergy LLC, applied for conditional use permits to construct wind energy facilities in the Towns of Ridgeville and Wells. A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) allows a city or county to consider special uses for land which are not allowed because of a zoning ordinance. Summit Ridge Energy LLC must forego a public hearing and then await a decision from the Monroe County Zoning Committee before receiving a CUP because it plans to build on property zoned only for agriculture. After the hearing each town has 21 days to veto the permit despite the outcome of the county zoning committee.

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Wind Energy & economic development forum, April 24, Lansing, MI

Posted on March 29, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

Wind Powering America (WPA) and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative cordially invite you to attend our upcoming forum, Wind Energy & Economic Development, on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007 in Lansing, Michigan. This forum will feature speakers addressing the economic development impacts and manufacturing opportunities presented by wind power development, both in the Great Lakes region and around the country. The current and future growth of the domestic wind energy industry offers considerable economic development potential to both rural America and the manufacturing sector.

Webcast of the forum will be available from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET, featuring Larry Wiley from GE discussing the manufacturing opportunities and challenges of wind energy meeting up to 20% of the U.S.’s energy needs. From 2:00 – 5:00 pm, panels on manufacturing, rural economic development, and stakeholder perspectives will be presented to participants in Lansing.

More details here

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Meteorological test tower approved

Posted on March 28, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

Gina Duwe of the Janesville Gazette reports on town board action:

MAGNOLIA TOWNSHIP-A permit approval Tuesday night allowed for the first step in bringing a wind farm to town.

About 50 residents attended a meeting to hear the town board vote 3-0 to grant a conditional-use permit to EcoEnergy of Beloit to install a weather tower at the northeast corner of County B and Highway 213.

The 197-foot tower will measure temperature and wind speeds for at least a year. The data collected will be shared with the town.


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Town board okays 8 turbines

Posted on March 27, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

A story by Lee Reinsch in the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports on approval of the permits for 8 turbines in the Town of Glenmore in Brown County, just southeast of Green Bay:

TOWN OF GLENMORE – Glenmore residents will soon see eight more wind turbines in their country landscape.

The three-member Town Board Monday night unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for Emerging Energies/Shirley Wind, LLC of Hubertus to put eight 2.75-megawatt, 492-foot turbines on land owned by four families.

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Energy fair keynote speakers announced

Posted on March 26, 2007. Filed under: General |

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) announced the following keynote speaker for this year’s Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair:

Friday, June 15, 1pm
Dr. Helen Caldicott. The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 35 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction. She will be signing copies of her book, Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer, following her keynote address. Buy the book today.

Saturday, June 16, 1pm
Stan Gruszynski, Former Wisconsin 71st District Representative and staff member of the Global Environmental Management (GEM) Education Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Sunday, June 17, 1pm
Judith Levine. Author and journalist Judith Levine illuminates the ways that history, culture, politics, and the marketplace are entwined in intimate life. Her work is informed by a forceful moral politics that balances a vision of the public good with a fierce defense of personal freedom. She will be signing copies of her book, Not Buying It, My Year Without Shopping, following her keynote address.

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Wood pellet heating for residential & commercial

Posted on March 23, 2007. Filed under: Wood |

Focus on Energy provides a fact sheet on heating with wood pellets:

Pellet fuel is a biomass energy product made of wood residue or other plant materials. Most pellets are made of hardwood sawdust originating from wood waste products such as pallets and wooden packing materials, or from the waste produced by manufacturers of furniture and other wood products. Pellets can also be made of crop waste such as corn stalks or straw, or even waste paper. The wood waste or other biomass is pulverized, dried and compressed into pellets.

Pellet fuel has several advantages over cordwood, woodchips or other forms of wood as heating fuel because the consistent manufacturing process produces a uniform fuel source. The moisture content of pellet fuel is lower and more uniform, and it produces more heat per unit of weight, making it a more efficient fuel. It also burns leaner, and takes less space to store, about four to five times less than that of cordwood by weight.

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Rural renewable energy grants announced

Posted on March 22, 2007. Filed under: Energy Finance |

From Marin Byrne of Windustry:

The Section 9006 (Renewable Energy) Notice of Funding Availability was published in the Federal Register on March 22, 2007. Read it on line here.

Similar to the 2006 Value-Added Produce Grants and 9006 Programs, the 2007 Programs offer both grants and guaranteed loans for eligible projects. The USDA Farm Bill website has some useful samples and guidance documents for applications.

The deadline for grant applications is May 18, 2007, and it is anticipated that awards will made about 75 days after this.

Applications for guaranteed loans and combined loan/grant packages must be made by July 2, 2007. Combined guaranteed loan/grant packages will compete and be awarded on a bi-weekly basis. Guaranteed loan applications will be accepted and processed in a rolling application manner.

Contact your state Rural Energy Coordinator (find contact info here for application details, and stay tuned to the USDA site for more information.

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School Referendum Includes Wood-Powered Heat

Posted on March 21, 2007. Filed under: Wood |

Katie Heinz, WEAU-TV (Eau Claire), reports on a school referendum that includes a wood-burning heating system:

Several Western Wisconsin school districts are putting referendums on the ballot this year.

But people living in one area school district will vote on a rather unusual proposal next month.

Voters in the Barron Area School District will check “yes” or “no” for a $3.1 million referendum, for climate control.

But not the kind of climate control you’re probably thinking of.

The district wants to heat the middle school – by burning wood.

For thousands of years, people have burned wood to create heat.

And that’s exactly what heats classrooms in the Barron High School.


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Solar: The No-Risk Path to Wealth Creation

Posted on March 20, 2007. Filed under: Solar |

Petroleum and Natural Gas Watch
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
February 27, 2007, Vol. 6, Number 4

Awhile back, I wrote a column which was highly critical of using payback analysis to figure out whether installing a solar hot water system on one’s house makes economic sense. In almost every example you can imagine, the payback period for today’s solar installations ranges between long and forever. For my system, which started operating in January 2006, payback will be achieved in a mere 19 years using today’s energy prices, though by the time 2025 rolls around, half of Florida might be under water and the rest of the country out of natural gas.

What message does payback analysis convey to the average household contemplating a solar installation? It can be boiled down to this harsh assessment: the chances that you will be living in the same house when the system is fully paid off are remote, so you’re better off leaving solar off the table.

Indeed, payback analysis reinforces the popular perception that solar energy is unaffordable, and that homeowners should wait for technological improvements or cost reductions before pursuing this energy option. But from the standpoint of energy security and climate protection, every day of inaction leaves us in a deeper hole. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for external triggers — be they painful market signals or nasty resource wars — to spur us into doing the right thing.

But there’s no reason to let payback length rule one’s ability to invest in sustainable energy for the home or business, especially if there are other approaches to valuing important economic decisions. One way to sidestep the gloomy verdicts of payback analysis is to do what most companies do when contemplating a long-term investment like solar energy — calculate the internal rate of return (IRR) on the invested capital. The definition of IRR is the annualized effective compounded return rate which can be earned on the invested capital, i.e. the yield on the investment.

Continue at RENEW’s News and Views

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