Archive for October, 2007

We Energies proposes new wind power farm

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

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

With construction of three major wind power projects well under way in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties, We Energies announced Tuesday plans for another large wind farm.

The Milwaukee-based utility has ordered a $200 million wind project that would generate about 100 megawatts of electricity, We Energies Chairman Gale Klappa said. The project would consist of 50 to 65 turbines, depending on the size and power output of the turbines eventually selected.

We Energies requested that FPL Energy of Juno Beach, Fla., secure the necessary leases and permits for the project.

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Green Bay mayor’s challenge sells 21,000 energy efficient bulbs

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

From a story by Paul Srubas in the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

A group created by Mayor Jim Schmitt to encourage environmental awareness helped save a whole heap of energy.

Sustainable Greater Green Bay’s six-week Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Challenge to encourage the purchase of Energy Star-qualified fluorescent bulbs ended last week and resulted in the sale of more than 21,000 bulbs.

The CFL bulbs use so much less energy than standard light bulbs that the number sold is the energy-saving equivalent of 140 homes going off the grid each year, according to Sustainable Greater Green Bay.

It represents a savings of electricity costs of $980,000 and reduces thousands of tons of emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

The challenge was aimed at encouraging businesses and organizations to sell bulbs to their employees and associates. Twenty-eight organizations and businesses participated.

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Wind opponents launch war on farmers

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

From a story by Susan Squires in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

Giant windmills won’t appear in Calumet County for years — if ever. Just the same, their phantom silhouettes are a very real part of the county’s landscape.

“It’s like the Revolution and Civil War put together,” says Calumet County Supv. Don Schwobe, who has held one elected office or another in county or town government for 40 years.

Two out-of-state developers are scouting sites for three wind projects in Calumet County, where breezes clock 13 to 14 mph at 110 feet. The 100 or so 400-foot turbines would be the largest erected to date in Wisconsin, and the still unbuilt windmills have set off a battle over property rights — mostly between farmers and residential property owners.

“It’s just mean. Mean,” Schwobe said. “Back and forth between those who want towers and those who don’t. It’s a shame. Families against each other. Neighbors against each other.”

The conflict began about a year ago with a county wind energy ordinance some property owners thought too lax. It escalated over the summer when organized opposition began running full-page ads in the local weekly newspaper, listing the names of property owners who might lease land to wind developers. Then came the “Good neighbors don’t host 400-foot wind turbines” yard signs.

“When those signs went up, that was like punching us in the face,” Brothertown farmer Dan Lisowe said. . . .

Wisconsin utilities operate 55 industrial-sized turbines at five different sites in the state, according to the state Department of Administration’s Division of Energy.

Renew Wisconsin, a pro-wind, nonprofit organization, said another 19 are in the development or negotiation stage. Virtually all have faced opposition, but the battle in Calumet County has been among the most hostile Michael Vickerman, Renew Wisconsin’s executive director, has witnessed.

“The thing that really disturbs me is the lack of respect shown to the farmers in their community,” Vickerman said. “This is thinly disguised class warfare, and it’s aimed at farmers who’ve worked the land for decades and decades.”

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Alliant Energy breaks ground on Cedar Ridge wind project

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

From a press release on the Web site of Alliant Energy:

EDEN, WI – October 25, 2007 – Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation (NYSE: LNT), broke ground this morning on the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm – the company’s first fully owned and operated wind farm. Once complete, the site will produce enough energy to power at least 17,000 homes.

“This is an important day for Alliant Energy and our customers as we continue to strive to meet the increasing demand for “green” energy,” said Bill Harvey, President and Chief Executive Officer for Alliant Energy.

The Cedar Ridge Wind Farm will cover a 12.2-square mile area in the townships of Eden and Empire in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Forty-one Vestas wind turbines will dot the landscape – generating approximately 68 megawatts of electricity. A community learning center and educational kiosk are also planned, to allow people from around Wisconsin to get an “up-close” look at the wind farm.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a step forward in Governor Doyle’s efforts to move Wisconsin into a position to be a leader in alternative energy and to get a handle on global climate change,” said Matt Frank, secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources.

The Cedar Ridge Wind Farm is the latest example of Alliant Energy’s commitment to renewable energy choices. Building on an already-robust renewable portfolio, the company plans to add an additional 400 megawatts of wind power to its portfolio by the end of 2010. In addition, the proposed expansion of the Nelson Dewey Generating Station, in Cassville, Wisconsin, is being designed with the capability to burn renewable resource fuels, such as wood, corn stover, or switchgrass.

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Viroqua area farmers oppose fly-ash landfill

Posted on October 26, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Generation Plants |

An earlier story reported on Dairyland Power’s plans for a landfill for ash from one of its coal-fired generation plant.

From a story by Judy Newman in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Farmers in the Viroqua area, in southwestern Wisconsin, are banding together to oppose a proposal by Dairyland Power Cooperative to buy 600 acres of land for a fly-ash landfill that would occupy up to 75 acres.

The La Crosse electricity provider says that to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, it will have to install scrubbers on its coal-fired power plant at Genoa to reduce air pollution, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury.

But the resulting coal waste, most of which is currently recycled into concrete products or road-building materials, will be mixed with limestone; much of it will no longer qualify for those recycling projects. So the wholesale electric cooperative is considering landfill sites recommended by RMT, a Madison energy and environmental services company.

Property owners say they’re worried the fly ash will just trade air pollution for ground and possibly groundwater pollution.

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Step It Up 2007 rallies November 3

Posted on October 25, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Energy Efficiency, Global Warming, Green Building |

Step it Up 2007 to curb global warming events across the country – scheduled exactly one year before the 2008 national election – will demonstrate the contrast between the intense concern of ordinary Americans and the leadership vacuum on this issue in Washington. A similar event last April produced more than 1,400 rallies in all 50 states, making it the largest global warming event in United States history.

There will be a rally at Lapham Peak State Park from 1 to 3 pm that day, with music, local and regional speakers from the scientific, activist, and religious communities, including Dr. George Stone of MATC and Ed Garvey, frequent talk radio guest and founder of “Fighting Bob Fest”, and a petition to our President, Senators and Rep. Sensenbrenner asking them to “step it up” and show real leadership, including these key priorities: (1) 5 million green jobs conserving 20% of our energy by 2015 (2) freeze climate pollution levels now and cut at least 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, and (3) a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants. The rally will be at the Summer Stage, which is a 1/4 mile walk from the main parking lot. The Summer Stage amphitheater has no permanent seating, so plan to stand, sit on the grass, or bring folding chairs. You will need a State Park sticker to enter the park. Car-pooling and bicycling to the event is encouraged.

There are other rallies in Wisconsin as well as the one in Delafield. See the Web site for details on the Delafield and other rallies.

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Coal gets cool reception outside Wisconsin

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Generation Plants |

From a story by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:

Electric companies all across the U.S. are scrapping plans for new coal-fired power plants — but not in Wisconsin where coal remains king.

At least 16 coal-fired power plant proposals nationwide have been ditched in recent months and another three dozen are facing delays as utilities face growing concerns over global climate change coupled with soaring construction costs.

The U.S. Department of Energy in a tally of pending coal plants released last week showed eight projects totaling 7,000 megawatts were canceled since May. That’s in addition to the cancellation earlier this year of eight coal plants in Texas totaling another 6,900 megawatts.

One megawatt supplies enough power for about 250 average households.

Relatively cheap and plentiful, coal has been the dirty backbone of the U.S. electric system for a century, producing half of all the electricity consumed in the U.S. Wisconsin is even more dependant on coal, using it to generate about 75 percent of the electricity produced here.

Unfortunately, coal is also the largest single source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the major greenhouse gas that is contributing to a warmer planet.

And despite a lot of talk locally about renewable energy and clean power, Wisconsin remains on a coal burning binge. Three new coal-burning plants are currently under construction; two along Lake Michigan and a third near Wausau.

“Wisconsin is No. 1 in the U.S. for construction of new coal plants,” says Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club’s Madison office.

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Leopold gains LEED distinction

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

From the Web site of the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center:

The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center has received Platinum LEED ® Certification, the highest possible recognition for green buildings in the United States. Following a rigorous assessment, LEED awarded the Legacy Center 61 points, more than any other building yet rated in the world. The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center is the first “net zero energy” building in Wisconsin and the first carbon neutral building certified by LEED.

The Center includes several renewable energy installations, including “a 39.6 kilowatt (kW) solar electric (photovoltaic) system on its roof, the second largest in Wisconsin.”

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Madison creates Mpower to reduce CO2

Posted on October 23, 2007. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy, Global Warming, Solar, Wind |

From a press release issued by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz:

Madison – Mpower partners have 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, Madison Area Clean Energy Coalition, and Sustain Dane – will seek to reduce citywide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 100,000 tons by 2011.

The campaign was launched this week and includes a web site Business and residents can go to this web site and sign-up and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Global climate change affects all of us, and it is up to all of us to do our part to address this issue,” said Mayor Cieslewicz. “This partnership will help make Madison a leader in showing how local communities can lead the way forward in protecting our environment for future generations.”

The City of Madison component of the 100K Clean Energy Challenge calls for city government to reduce its CO2 “footprint” by 25% by 2011, to eliminate 15,000 tons of CO2, through the following strategies:

· Increase the energy efficiency of city facilities, reducing natural gas and electricity consumption. The city is actively implementing green building and energy efficiency practices, and recently created a new Facilities and Sustainability position to focus solely on this issue.

· Purchase more energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar and install renewable energy systems on city properties.

· Increase fuel efficiency and biofuels in the city’s fleet of vehicles. The city is already pursuing this goal through establishing fuel-efficiency standards, the use of hybrid diesel-electric buses, as well as experimentation with biodiesel fuels.

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Economics of climate change are going to impact utilities

Posted on October 22, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Generation Plants, Global Warming |

From a story by Steve Cahalan in the La Crosse Tribune:

Explorer Will Steger of Ely, Minn., the fourth person ever to reach both poles, said he’s witnessed the effects of global warming in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Nations must act quickly to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and prevent global warming from causing catastrophe, he warned Wednesday during an Executive Energy Forum that Xcel Energy held at the Radisson Hotel for about 50 business leaders.

“I see global warming as a unifying issue in this country,” Steger told the group, saying new technologies to counter global warming will lead to job and economic growth.

“We need to get into technology, we need to get into ethanol, the wind, cars that get 80 miles per gallon, efficient light bulbs and so forth,” he said in an interview after his talk.

The U.S. Geological Survey said last month that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears are expected to be gone by 2050, including Alaska’s entire population, because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic. With the polar bears’ habitat “literally melting off,” Steger said he was motivated to speak out.

If left unchecked, global warming threatens drastic climate changes and other trouble due to higher sea levels, said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director for Fresh Energy, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization that says it promotes a clean, efficient and fair energy system.

“The economics of climate change are going to impact us in the future,” said Betsy Engelking, Xcel manager of resource planning and bidding. This must be taken into account when Xcel makes plans to address growing demand for electricity while minimizing effects on the environment, she said.

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