Archive for September, 2007

Quad’s specialty is green

Posted on September 30, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency |


From an article by Joel Dresand in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Sussex – Green is not a primary color in the blue-yellow-red logo of Quad/Graphics Inc. But it is fundamental to the Quad culture, says Joel Quadracci, president and chief executive officer, of the printing company.

When Deloitte & Touche recognizes Quad for “Going Green,” as part of the Wisconsin 75 honors this week, it will acknowledge an environmental ethic that’s ingrained in the company, Quadracci says. . . .

In its application for the Deloitte award, Quad cataloged some of its environmental efforts including:

• Reducing air emissions from its web offset pressrooms by 62% since 1992, even while increasing print impressions by 96% and expanding from six plants to 10.

• Reducing waste ink by 74% since 1989, despite a 317% increase in production.

• Reducing electricity consumption by 6% through energy-efficient lighting, preventing the emission of 28,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of planting 6,903 trees.

“Most of it’s a way of doing business,” Quadracci says. “I guess you could call it a built-in ethic that is in the culture, but it’s something that we’ve always known and done.”

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Alliant company seeks Iowa wind project

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


From a press release issued by Alliant Energy:

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – September 28, 2007 – Interstate Power and Light Co. (IPL), an Alliant Energy company (NYSE: LNT), filed with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today an application for ratemaking principles concerning the company’s proposed construction of up to 200 megawatts of wind powered generating facilities in Iowa.

“Wind generation in Iowa is a critical component of our renewable energy portfolio,” states Tom Aller, president of IPL. “IPL is committed to enhancing the state’s renewable energy economy through our build-out of wind generation. Our wind generation projects support Governor Culver’s vision of growing the state’s bio-economy, creating new jobs and helping make Iowa a leader in renewable energy capital.”

As part of IPL’s long-term generation plan, the company is seeking to expand its renewable energy portfolio in Iowa. As a result, IPL is currently exploring various sites across its service area for wind development opportunities. Upon completion of the site selection process, IPL expects to begin construction in 2009.

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Putting the sun to work for healthcare industry

Posted on September 27, 2007. Filed under: Solar |


From a fact sheet published by Focus on Energy:

It’s no surprise that rising natural gas prices have health care industry managers looking for new ways to control costs. Owners of health care facilities are feeling the pinch as the cost of hot water and space heating skyrockets. . . .

Darryl Daze and Rick Gomes, Directors of Facilities Management for Extendicare Health Services, Inc., were in the process of upgrading the heating system at their Hammond, Wisconsin facility, the American Heritage Care Center. As part of its mission of service to the community, Extendicare was interested in finding ways to incorporate renewable technologies into its buildings. During the design process they decided to consider how solar thermal energy might work for them as part of an integrated high efficiency heating system. They reasoned that:

+ The most cost effective way to incorporate solar water heating technology would be to do it as part of a complete heating system upgrade.
+ Calculations showed they would realize significant fuel savings, and cumulative cash
flow projections showed a return on investment of less than five years.
+ Wisconsin has a goal to get 25 percent of our energy needs from renewable energy
by 2025 and Extendicare Health Services wanted to do their part and be among the
early adopters of solar water heating at a health care facility.

Financial assistance available from Focus on Energy was key to Extendicare Health Services making the final installation decision.

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Build a renewable ready new home

Posted on September 26, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Focus on Energy/Public Benefits, General, Solar, Wind |


Rising energy costs and concern for energy security and the environment are driving forces in a growing trend to incorporate renewable energy technology into residential housing. Focus on Energy and the Wisconsin ENERGY STAR® Homes Program recognize this as an opportunity for builders.

Focus on Energy offers a checklist of building details to help you with the construction of a new home that is built “ready” for future renewable energy installations.

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Biodigesters and small wind systems need higher buyback reates

Posted on September 25, 2007. Filed under: Digesters, Wind |


In testimony offered during the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s proceedings on a rate request from Madison Gas and Electric, RENEW Wiscosin gave testimony in support of higher rates for the electricity a utility buys from biodigesters and small wind systems.

In the testimony, RENEW’s executive director Michael Vickerman said:

What these market sectors need instead are tariffs that are uniform across utility boundaries and are fixed at their production costs for a specified period of time. To make that wish a reality, we would urge the Commission to open a generic docket for the purpose of setting uniform tariffs that will stimulate the installation renewable energy systems presently being supported through the Focus on Energy renewable energy program.

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Manitowoc supervisors alter wind tower ordinance

Posted on September 24, 2007. Filed under: Wind |


A story in the Manitowoc Herald Times:

MANITOWOC — County supervisors approved two amendments to the county’s large wind energy system ordinance at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Supervisor Tony Heyroth, who represents the areas of Mishicot, Two Creeks and rural Two Rivers, has had two contentious wind farms proposed in his district. He supported both amendments,

Supervisors voted 20-1 to approve an amendment requiring that information be posted on each large wind energy system so that the owner can be contacted in the event of a noise complaint. The placard must provide a telephone number for law enforcement or officials to call to investigate a noise complaint, sound level measurement, or administration of this ordinance, the amendment said.

Supervisors also voted unanimously to adopt an amendment requiring all large wind energy systems to be set back one mile from any emergency communications tower.

In June, Emerging Energies LLP, of Hubertus, filed a civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County over its wind energy ordinance. Emerging Energies is proposing a seven-turbine wind farm in the town of Mishicot.

Navitas Energy Inc. of Minneapolis has proposed to build a park to contain 49 wind turbines on about 5,000 acres in towns of Mishicot and Two Creeks.

The county Planning and Park Commission recommended the amendments after it held a public hearing on both amendments on Aug. 27.

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WA governor approves wind project, overruling local opposition

Posted on September 23, 2007. Filed under: Energy Policy, Wind |


From a story by Warren Cornwall in The Seattle Times:

Citing the growing importance of clean energy, Gov. Christine Gregoire on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of overruling local opposition to a wind-power project near Ellensburg.

Gregoire’s decision to allow the Kittitas Valley Wind Power project means as many as 65 towering wind turbines could line hillsides northwest of Ellensburg, despite a vote against the project by the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners.

The case was closely watched by environmentalists, energy companies and local governments as a sign of whether wind projects near populated areas would be allowed in Washington, and whether the state would flex its muscles to force a project past local objections.

“The concern was renewable-energy developers would just throw up their hands and say, ‘Washington is making it tough.’ Thankfully, this long saga appears to be at an end,” said Marc Krasnowsky, spokesman for the environmental group NW Energy Coalition.

Local opposition also continues to plague Wisconsin developments, such as the project in the Town of Stockbridge.

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Kettle Foods opens green plant In Beloit

Posted on September 21, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Green Building, Wind |


From a story on Channel3000:

BELOIT, Wis. — Kettle Foods held a grand opening for its manufacturing facility in Beloit Wednesday.

Gov. Jim Doyle was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new 73,000-square-foot facility, which created nearly 100 jobs in Beloit. The manufacturing plant will produce 2.5 million bags of all-natural potato chips, which are sold across the country. . . .

In 2006, Doyle provided Kettle Foods with $500,000 in state money to lure the construction project.

In addition to new jobs, Kettle Foods brings new standards for environmentally friendly manufacturing. Kettle Foods’ new facility in Beloit is the first manufacturing plant to be awarded gold certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We think it’s a big deal. We think we’ve done the right thing to build as sustainably as possible,” said Jim Green, ambassador for Kettle Foods.

The facility uses 18 small wind turbines located on the roof of the building. Combined, and at full capacity, the turbines can create 18 kilowatts of electricity, which is enough power to make 56,000 bags of chips each year, WISC-TV reported.

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Simple actions can save energy at home

Posted on September 20, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency |


From a story by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

These are some suggestions from the “dieters” in Fort Atkinson on how you can reduce your carbon footprint. Those on the “Atkinson Diet” hope to eliminate 4,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per household – or about 10% of a year’s emissions for a typical Wisconsin resident.

1. Replace the five most-used light bulbs in your house with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

2. Use “sleep” settings on your home and office computers. Turn off the computer overnight.

3. Wash laundry in cold or warm water instead of hot water.

4. Run dishwasher only when full, and use energy-saving settings.

5. Cut the volume of garbage by a gallon by recycling, composting, buying in bulk and using fewer packaged goods.

6. Install a low-flow shower head. Showers account for about a fifth of the water used in most homes.

7. Drive five miles fewer and bike, walk or use public transit instead.

8. In the winter, set your thermostat at 68 degrees or less when you are awake and at home, and 55 degrees at night and when you are gone. In the summer, keep it at 78 or 80, or higher.

9. Turn off lights whenever they are not needed – either because the room is empty or because natural light is sufficient.

10. Travel at moderate, steady speeds and don’t idle.

11. Have your home furnace and air conditioner tuned up, and change or clean your air filter regularly so the units run at their maximum efficiency. This can save 5% to 15% on utility bills.

12. Insulate your home. Take advantage of federal tax credits for home insulation that are poised to expire at the end of the year.

(more…)

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Coal generation looks less attractive

Posted on September 18, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy |


From a press release issued by Great River Energy:

Great River Energy to Withdraw from Big Stone II

ELK RIVER, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Great River Energy announced its intention today to withdraw from the Big Stone II project, proposed for near Milbank, S.D. Great River Energy considered a variety of factors when making the decision to no longer participate as an owner of 120 megawatts (MW) of baseload capacity from the 630-MW Big Stone II coal power plant project.

“No one factor can be singled out as the primary reason we made this decision,” said Jon Brekke, Great River Energy’s vice president of member services. “Our decision stems from our resource planning analysis that considered a number of factors including energy demand, availability of alternative resources, and the potential impact of Minnesota’s new renewable energy and energy conservation legislation,” he added.

Great River Energy’s planning effort is an ongoing process, and much has changed since the organization initially announced its participation in the project in 2004. Four factors contributed most prominently to today’s announcement:

1. Great River Energy’s demand and energy forecast has changed. Eight of Great River Energy’s 28 member cooperatives have elected to cap their power purchases from Great River Energy, choosing to obtain any additional capacity needs from another utility. This change reduces Great River Energy’s forecasted need for additional capacity by 200 MW by 2020.

2. The cost of Big Stone II has increased due to inflation and project delays. Although the costs for alternative resources have also increased, Great River Energy now anticipates the energy market, through the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), will provide access to additional lower-cost alternatives than initially assumed.

(more…)

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