Archive for July, 2007

RENEW finds problems with Calumet County’s proposed ordinance

Posted on July 31, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

July 31, 2007

Ms. Julie Heuvelman
Calumet County Planning Department
206 Court Street
Chilton, WI 53014-1198

Dear Ms. Heuvelman;

On behalf of RENEW Wisconsin, an independent nonprofit organization with over 275 members statewide (including several in Calumet County), I would like to provide our perspective on two motions that appear on the August 2nd meeting agenda for the County Planning and Zoning Committee. The two motions, listed under the heading “Old Business,” would amend the County’s wind energy ordinance (Chapter 79). The first would require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for large turbine installations. The second would require the developer to have executed a Power Purchase Agreement with a utility as part of its application.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this meeting in person. However, I would ask Planning and Zoning Committee members to consider RENEW Wisconsin’s comments which appear below as they deliberate on these two motions. To facilitate their consideration I ask the Planning Department to distribute this statement to Committee members prior to their August 2nd meeting.


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U.S. small wind needs tax credits

Posted on July 31, 2007. Filed under: Energy Finance, Energy Policy, Wind |

From a study released by the American Wind Energy Association:

AWEA’s newly released 2007 Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study finds that U.S. manufacturers continue to dominate the world market share of small-turbine sales globally. . . .

Demand for small wind, defined as systems having 100 kW in capacity and less, is being driven by concerns about global warming, volatile and rising costs of fossil fuel energy, energy security, and the desire or need for local and independent power. While demand is high and the industry is growing, the AWEA study indicates that the high purchase price of a small wind system is the single largest market barrier. A residential-scale turbine can cost $10,000 to $55,000 installed, which is simply out of reach for many consumers.

“The industry remains strong, but without a federal investment tax credit to help consumers buy these systems, small wind could be hard pressed to keep up with the solar industry,” said Ron Stimmel, AWEA’s small-wind advocate. “Small wind remains the only renewable energy technology without a federal-level tax credit.”

Go to AWEA’s small wind homepage, and link to 2007 AWEA Global Small Wind Market Study.

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House Farm Bill Boosts Clean Energy Investments

Posted on July 30, 2007. Filed under: Biomass, Digesters, Energy Efficiency, Energy Finance, Energy Policy, Solar, Wind |

From a press release issued by the Environmnetal Law and Policy Center:

The House Farm Bill [passed July 27] improves existing energy programs and creates several new programs. Key programs include:

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – expands and improves the Farm Bill’s successful Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency incentives for locally-owned wind power, energy efficiency, solar energy, and other clean energy projects.

Biorefinery expansion – critical to jumpstart advanced biofuels production.

Biomass Research and Development – new research investments for advanced crop-based fuel and power expansion.

Biomass energy reserve – will catalyze sustainable development of energy crops to help meet our nation’s fuel needs and reduce reliance on imported oil.

However, some key programs remain completely unfunded or underfunded. For example the Section 9005 energy technical assistance program, which could save farmers over a billion dollars in energy costs, is completely unfunded. Other programs, such as REAP, require more funding to realize their potential for the country.

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Ag department funds prairie grass project

Posted on July 29, 2007. Filed under: Biomass |

From a press release issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection:

EVANSVILLE – Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen today announced a Madison-based seed company specializing in native prairie grasses will receive $46,000 to help develop the renewable fuel industry in Rock, Dane and Green counties. Agrecol Corporation, the largest grower of native plants and seed in the Midwest, now converts native grasses into fuel pellets and uses the pellets to power the company’s Rock Prairie Farm in Evansville. The agricultural development grant will help determine if the use of bioheat can be expanded for industrial use beyond the farm. . . .

The project will:

-Find out the best plants and grasses to use
-Determine if there is adequate land in the region to grow the needed grasses
-Look at the business requirements for developing a commercial-scale business

“The goal of this project is to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, help farmers, and protect the environment,” said Mark Doudlah, president of Agrecol.

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Town of Menasha looks into using wind and solar

Posted on July 27, 2007. Filed under: Solar, Wind |

From an article by Michael King in Appleton Post-Crescent:

TOWN OF MENASHA — A proposal to locate 36 wind turbines in an industrial area last year has prompted the town to explore renewable energy possibilities of its own.

Since the town’s west side municipal complex uses enough electricity annually to power more than 50 average homes, town officials are considering whether wind or solar power might help reduce energy costs.

The Town Board recently authorized renewable energy site assessments at the municipal complex for the potential of wind and solar energy production.

“Looking for alternative energies is something everybody needs to be looking at, not just the private sector,” said Town Administrator Jeff Sturgell. “I think it’s something we can do to take a look at the technology and see if it’s something that would be beneficial to the town.”

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Certification planned for small turbines

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

From the small wind newsletter of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council:

The Small Wind Certification Working Group recently adopted the Organization Plan for the new North American Small Wind Certification Corporation (SWCC). The Organization Plan provides the blueprint for the start-up and launch of the SWCC and includes market research and analysis to document the need, details on organization and management, a description of the certification process, a financial plan, and a timeline.

SWCC will work with the small wind industry, governments, and other stakeholders to develop and implement quality certification programs for small wind turbines that fall under 200 square meters swept area, about 65 kW. Both grid-tied and off-grid turbines are eligible, however the Standard does not cover electric water pumping wind turbines. Specifically, SWCC will certify that, at the time of testing, small wind turbines meet or exceed the performance, durability, and safety requirements of the AWEA Standard. This certification will provide a common North American standard for reporting turbine energy and sound performance.

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Appeals Court upholds PSC; Forward Wind can proceed

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

From The Wheeler Report:

Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates, et al v. Public Service Commission of WI. The Appeals Court today affirmed a Dodge County Circuit Court decision allowing the 133-turbine wind farm near the Horicon Marsh. Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates (HMSA) appealed the decision, arguing the PSC was wrong when it approved the Forward Energy, LLC. project with only a two-mile setback requirement from the Horicon Marsh. HMSA also argued the PSC acted arbitrarily by not waiting for additional environmental impact studies to be completed.

Environmentalists argued, among other things, the wind turbines posed a danger to the avian and bat populations around the Marsh. In his decision affirming the PSC order, Dodge County Judge John Storck framed the issue before him. “It is important to state what this legal action is not about,” he wrote. “It is not the Court’s role to decide whether the PSC’s decision is good public policy, or to strike its own balance between promoting renewable energy and protecting avian populations in the Horicon Marsh.”

In affirming the circuit court order, the Appeals Court adopted “its well-written decision as our own.” The PSC granted Forward Energy a CPCN to construct a wind farm of up to 133 turbines in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties, adjacent to the Marsh. HMSA’s request for reconsideration was denied by the PSC and the trial court refused to accept additional information into the record and remand to the PSC to consider that information.

HMSA argued the PSC unreasonably determined the wind farm is in the public interest, the PSC departed from its own agency practice and violated state and federal statutes requiring a “hard look” at environmental consequences. The Appeals Court said today the motion for the circuit court to act tried to by-pass the decision already made by the PSC. “The circuit court recognized that the PSC had the opportunity to consider the new evidence but declined to do so,” the Appeals Court wrote. “It also recognized that the request to wait for the results of a 2005 avian study was nothing more than the argument that the PSC decision was not supported by substantial evidence and the PSC should have waited for more specific scientific data. There was not actually any new evidence for the circuit court to consider as a basis for a remand and it properly exercised its discretion in not remanding to the PSC.”


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Focus on Energy Offers Grants for Anaerobic Digesters

Posted on July 24, 2007. Filed under: Digesters |

From Focus on Energy:

With the help of the Focus on Energy Renewable Energy Program, Wisconsin is leading the nation in anaerobic digester installations. The Renewable Energy Program is now offering grants up to $250,000 to promote more installations of anaerobic digesters at dairy farms, industrial facilities and municipal wastewater plants in Wisconsin.

* On a competitive basis, a maximum grant of $250,000 will be available to provide financial support for the installation of anaerobic digester systems at dairy farms. These grants cannot exceed 25 percent of the cost of the digester system. The actual grant award is based on an estimate of the quantity of electricity, utilized heat and/or biogas for sale which the anaerobic digester system will produce in one year.

* On a competitive basis, a maximum grant of $250,000 will be available to provide financial support for the installation of industrial or municipal anaerobic digester systems at Wisconsin businesses. These grants cannot exceed 25 percent of the cost of the digester system. The actual grant award is based on an estimate of the quantity of electricity, utilized heat and/or biogas for sale which the anaerobic digester system will produce in one year.

Proposals must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than September 23, 2007.

To download grant applications, go to
or call 800.762.7077 to have a copy mailed to you.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Larry Krom
Focus on Energy / Renewable Energy Program
P.O. Box 687
Spring Green, WI 53588 USA
tel: 608.588.7231 toll free: 888.476.9534

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Task Force seeks public input on global warming

Posted on July 23, 2007. Filed under: Global Warming |

From the Public Service Commission:

MADISON – The Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming will hold its first round of public input sessions on August 6, 2007. The session is planned to be held simultaneously in Green Bay, Milwaukee, La Crosse and Madison and is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

Governor Doyle created the Task Force on Global Warming in April of 2007. The public is encouraged to provide comments on global warming at this input session that are directly relevant to the mission of the Task Force. The Governor asked the Task Force to 1) identify specific short term and long term goals for Wisconsin greenhouse gas emission reductions; 2) present viable, actionable policy recommendations to the Governor to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Wisconsin; and 3) identify ongoing opportunities to address global warming locally while growing our state’s economy, creating new jobs, and utilizing an appropriate mix of fuels and technologies in Wisconsin’s energy and transportation portfolios. Public comments on these topics will be taken into consideration by the Task Force as it prepares its final recommendations for the Governor by the end of this calendar year. A second round of public input sessions will be held in the fall, prior to the issuance of the final recommendations. All Task Force and associated work group meetings are free and open to the public.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the public input sessions and provide written comments on global warming solutions to the Task Force. Whenever possible, citizens planning to attend are asked to pre-register by submitting their name and the location where they plan to provide their comments to ensure appropriate time allocation for public input at each satellite location. Pre-registration e-mail instructions can be found at the Task Force on Global Warming website at: While pre-registration is encouraged, walk-in public participation is welcome on August 6th.


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Conference to dispell myths of energy

Posted on July 20, 2007. Filed under: Biomass, Energy Efficiency, Peak Oil & the End of Cheap Fossil Fuel |

From the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter:

MANITOWOC — U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, of Maryland, will talk about “Peak Oil” and what it means for the county’s future energy needs as part of The Myths of Energy Summit to be held on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at the Holiday Inn in Manitowoc.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the first presentation is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

The cost to attend the conference is $27 per person if received by Monday, Aug. 6 and $35 after that date.

Other scheduled topics and speakers include:
* Tom Kubala, of Kubala Washatko Architects, who will discuss zero energy buildings such as the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center
* Charles Schrock, president of Wisconsin Public Service, will present “The State of Electricity in Wisconsin”
* Judy Ziewacz, president of the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence, will present “Bio-Mass: Wisconsin’s Diamond in the Rough”
* Stephen Heins, vice president of corporate communications for Orion Energy Systems, will present “Energy Efficiency: The Real money Saver”

Community members and local businesses are organizing the summit. For more program information, call Richard McDonald at 920-973-1878 or Richard Larson at 920-901-0024.

To register, call the Manitowoc-Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-866-727-5575. A summit brochure is available online at

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