Archive for April, 2007

Students learn renewable basics with science projects

Posted on April 30, 2007. Filed under: General |

Aaron Nash to post.jpg
Aaron Nash displayed his solar water heater at the Evansville Energy Fair in Evansville, Wisconsin. Dozens of students learned about renewable energy as they built projects showing similar heaters, wind turbine installations, and other renewable energy sources.

Aaron’s heater, though not as elaborate as commercially-built heaters, captured the basic principals of heating water with the sun.

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Survey respondents proactive on global warming

Posted on April 30, 2007. Filed under: Global Warming |

A story by Patty Murray on Wisconsin Public Radio:

(DE PERE) People in Wisconsin think global warming is for real and they want something done about it. Eighty-three percent of respondents to the Wisconsin Public Radio/ St. Norbert College Survey say global warming is already having “serious” effects. The poll also asked if they would support specific actions to put the brakes on climate change, such as limiting emissions on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses for utilities and vehicles, similar to that in effect for other pollutants.

Wendy Scattergood is an analyst with the St. Norbert College Survey Center. She says 77 percent strongly support emissions limits and that she was surprised at how strong the support is for emissions limits.

Nearly 80 percent or the poll’s respondents considered themselves well informed on the topic. More than half say global warming is caused by human activity.

Find and listen to the report here.

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Biofuels, wind, solar eyed as viable options for Wisconsin

Posted on April 30, 2007. Filed under: Biomass, Digesters, Energy Policy, Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel, Solar, Vehicles - Ethanol, Wind |

From a story by Pete Bach in the Appleton Post Crescent:

Wisconsin appears to be all about cultivating renewable energy sources.

A look around the region finds a Neenah paper mill among the leaders in the developing field, while an ethanol production plant is going full tilt west of Oshkosh.

Now the prospect that a northern Wisconsin paper mill might become the first fossil fuel independent facility of its type in North America is another step closer to reality.

These projects represent a mounting effort to develop alternate energy sources as Wisconsin strives for greater independence from oil and natural gas to power homes and industrial plants.

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Mayor, Community Leaders Announce “100K Clean Energy Challenge” to Combat

Posted on April 27, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, General, Global Warming, Solar |

A press release issued by Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz:

Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz was joined today by community leaders to set an aggressive goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Madison area. Under the cooperative private-public-not-for-profit “100K Clean Energy Challenge”, the City of Madison and its initial partners – Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), University of Wisconsin, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Dane County United, Citizens Utility Board, RENEW Wisconsin, Clean Wisconsin, Sierra Club, and Sustain Dane – will seek to reduce citywide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 100,000 tons by 2011.


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River Falls to “Lead by Example” in energy conservation

Posted on April 27, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency |

A press release issued by Wisconsin Public Power Inc.

River Falls, Wis. – The River Falls City Council on April 24 passed a resolution to implement a community-wide energy program that could make River Falls a model for the wise use of energy resources in the state and region. The initiative, named “Lead by Example,” is intended to instill in the community a strong conservation ethic and to promote local energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy resource development efforts.

“We’re pleased that River Falls will take on this important challenge,” said River Falls Municipal Utilities (RFMU) General Manager Carl Gaulke. “Together with our power supplier, Wisconsin Public Power Inc., our municipal utility is committed to making River Falls a better place to live and work. Providing leadership to further the goal of motivating the community to work together to save energy and use electricity more efficiently is one of the ways we can do so.”

The City Council resolution sets forth a goal to reduce community demand for electricity by 10% by encouraging and increasing energy efficiency, conservation, renewable and environmental activities by the utility, local government, schools, businesses and residents. Part of this effort includes establishing a municipal policy to curb energy use in municipally-owned facilities.


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Kohl’s makes nation’s largest solar commitment

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Solar |

From a story by Doris Hajewski in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Kohl’s Corp. will convert most of its California department stores to solar power starting next month, the company will announce today.

Kohl’s agreement to buy solar power from SunEdison is the largest purchase and deployment of solar power by a single entity in U.S. history, according to SunEdison LLC, North America’s largest solar energy service provider.

The Menomonee Falls-based department store chain will generate 35 million kilowatt-hours of domestically produced, clean renewable energy in the first year. In terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, that is the equivalent of taking 2,500 cars off the road, according to Ken Bonning, Kohl’s executive vice president of logistics.

Kohl’s is investigating options for solar installations in six other states, including Wisconsin. The initiative is the result of a study of its energy use that the retailer started two years ago.

As a side story, the Journal Sentinel ran an annoucement about a solar event in Milwaukee:

We Energies and Outpost Natural Foods will present a working solar panel array and educational kiosk from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Outpost store at 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee.

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Bill counterproductive on tax credits for flex-fuel vehicles

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Vehicles - Ethanol, Vehicles - Hybrid |

Chris Deisinger, a consultant on clean energy policy and am president of Syntropy Energy Solutions, delivered the following testimony to a state Assembly committee after writing the testimony in consultation with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a coalition of environmental and renewable energy groups that have been meeting to discuss Wisconsin energy policy:

I am here to address assembly Bill 85 which would provide a tax credit, up to $1,000, for the purchase of flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on up to 85% ethanol, or E85. While the intentions of this bill are laudable – promotion of biofuels, energy independence and support for Wisconsin industry – unfortunately the bill as written does not help achieve these intentions and is in fact counterproductive.

I will outline why this is so and why I oppose this bill. However I do this in the spirit of offering cooperation to the sponsors in the hope of developing better biofuel and transportation policy for Wisconsin.

Why is this bill counterproductive?

• A tax incentive of $1,000 is excessive and unnecessary. The incremental cost of producing a flex-fuel vehicle is $100 at the most. All gasoline-powered vehicles should be capable of being flex-fueled and it shouldn’t take a tax credit to either produce or market them.

• The bill does nothing to promote the actual use of ethanol. Only 1% of the fuel used in flex-fuel vehicles is ethanol, according to a recent federal study.

• The dual-fuel loophole allows manufacturers to earn credits towards meeting federal fuel economy standards by producing flex-fuel vehicles, even if they never actually use alternative fuel. The result is that automakers can sell fleets of vehicles that fall short of federal fuel economy targets. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated, back in 2004, that this loophole resulted in the consumption of an additional 80,000 barrels of petroleum per day. In other words, increasing the sale of flex-fuels vehicles would result in more dependence on petroleum and foreign oil, rather than less.

• Besides being counterproductive, this bill is very expensive. The fiscal bureau estimates its impact at $18 million a year or $108 million over the six-year life of the tax credit.


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Monroe County wind projects gets permits

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

From a story by Keith Zukas in the Tomah Journal:

Summit Ridge Energy gets permit for Monroe County wind towers

The Monroe County Planning and Zoning Department granted Summit Ridge Energy LLC a conditional use permit (CUP) to build wind towers and accessory structures in the town of Ridgeville yesterday. Richard Yarrington was the only member to vote against the permit on grounds of insufficient information. The town of Wells was also on the agenda for discussion, but was tabled to the next meeting.

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MGE boosts green pricing plan

Posted on April 25, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

From a story by Jeff Richgels in The Capital Times:

A new wind energy deal will enable Madison Gas and Electric to triple the size of its green pricing program in which customers pay a higher rate to get more renewable energy in their power mix.

The program started in 1999 and quickly filled to its capacity of 4,300 customers, with many signing up to boost wind power.

MGE said it learned from meetings with customers and research that many more people wanted to participate in the program, so the company announced in March that it wanted to triple the program.

And on Tuesday it announced that it will be buying 30 megawatts of wind power from Northern Iowa Windpower II, which will enable the program to expand to 12,000 customers.

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Contact Congress to support small wind tax credits

Posted on April 25, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

There are now two Small Wind Investment Tax Credit bills in Congress –one in the House (H.R. 1772), and one in the Senate (S. 673) – that would provide consumers a tax credit when purchasing small wind turbines for their homes, farms, or small businesses.

To become law, these bills must show a broad range of support from Members of Congress. Having your members of Congress add their names to these bills as co-sponsors is one of the best ways to build this support.

Ways you can help get co-sponsors:

1. Call or e-mail your Senators’ offices and urge them to co-sponsor Senate bill S. 673, the “Rural Wind Energy Development Act,” introduced by Senators Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).

2. Call or e-mail your Representative’s office and request that they co-sponsor House bill H.R. 1772 (identical to the Senate bill), introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Tom Cole (R-OK).

You can do this easily online at:


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