Archive for November, 2007

Send your support for wind siting reform

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

One of the proposals drafted by the Electric Generation work group of the Global Warming Task Force calls for removing impediments to the permitting of wind energy projects in Wisconsin. It is titled: Wind Siting Reform. It is posted on the DNR’s Global Warming Task Force web site:

Please read through it and post your positive comments on it. Comments are due by December 8.

This proposal elicited the unanimous support of the Electric Generation workgroup, which regard this as an enabling policy necessary to meet the supply requirements of an enhanced renewable energy standard while capturing the economic benefits from in-state wind generation.

Please show your support for utility-scale renewable energy by submitting comments on the Wind Siting Reform proposal at the Task Force web site.


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Trip report: Wisconsin to New Jersey and back

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

Off the Beaten Path in Wind Country
by Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
November 27, 2007

In late October I went on a nine-day, 2,500-mile-long road trip from Wisconsin to the East Coast. The pretext for this journey was the annual renewable energy marketing conference, held this year in Philadelphia. There, I was to give a talk on the State of Wisconsin’s plans to buy renewable electricity to offset part of its energy use.

There was also a conference in Ohio later that week that I wanted to attend. But the task of arranging this itinerary into a three-legged air journey turned out to be a logistical nightmare, so I decided to drive instead of fly.

Yes, it was a much slower trip, but more of the landscape is revealed traveling at 70 miles per hour on the ground instead of 370 mph at 30,000 feet. During the expedition I visited my brother in New Jersey and took photos of five wind energy projects: two in Illinois, two in Pennsylvania and one in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


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Levelizing the Playing Field for Renewables

Posted on November 28, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The U.S. economy is structured to be powered by cheap and abundant sources of fossil fuel. Given what we know about climate change and Peak Oil, we have no choice but to begin weaning ourselves off these finite resources, no matter how convenient it may be. Most of us know that the longer we put off the transition to renewable energy, the more untenable our dependency to fossil fuels become. But there is no pre-determined path that will ensure a trauma-free evolution toward a leaner, slower, lower-carbon society. As we undergo this transition, we can expect entrenched energy interests to fight us every step of the way, and their allies in government to resist adopting policies necessary to accomplish this task.

A presentation by Michael Vickerman, given November 28, 2007, at the UW-Stevens Point, examines several policy approaches we can pursue to elevate renewable energy from a bit player to the default option.

View the presentation as a PDF or PowerPoint.

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Energy Conservation Corporation praises Doyle’s commitment to environment

Posted on November 27, 2007. Filed under: Carbon, Energy Policy, Global Warming |

From a press release issued by the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation:

MADISON, Wis. (November 21, 2007) – Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) applauds Governor Jim Doyle’s role in the signing of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.

The announcement of the accord, which was made at the Midwestern Governors Association Energy Summit last week, includes specific timelines for the advance of energy efficiency, the promotion of biobased products, the production of renewable electricity and the development of advanced coal and carbon capture and storage.

Governors throughout the Midwest signed the accord as a regional strategy to achieve energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. As part of the announcement, Governor Doyle agreed to pursue policies to meet 2 percent of Wisconsin’s annual electricity and natural gas consumption through energy efficiency.

“The signing of this accord enacts a unified approach to addressing global warming in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest,” said WECC Energy Policy Director, George Edgar. “In addition, the governors recognize that energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies must play an integral role in reducing our environmental impact. Governor Doyle played a critical role in the signing of this accord and has also been a key player in bringing energy efficiency and renewable energy practices back to the forefront in Wisconsin.”

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Siting and taxing wind farms in Illinois

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

Pere Marquette Hotel
Peoria, IL
December 13, 2007

The Illinois Wind Working Group (IL WWG) is holding its second conference, “Siting and Taxing Wind Farms in Illinois,” on December 13, 2007 at the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria, IL. The conference covers all aspects of wind energy siting and taxation. Sessions will cover the duties of County Boards and Zoning Boards regarding wind developments; the taxation of wind farms; and wind opposition—facts, myths and solutions. Speakers and Moderators include:

Jeanne Ropp, Livingston County Board
Phil Dick, McLean County Zoning Board
Daniel Slattery, Reed Smith
Kyle Barry, Vice President, Business Expansion, McGuire Woods LLP
Wes Slaymaker, EcoEnergy
Bill Whitlock, Horizon Wind Energy
Peter Poletti, Poletti and Associates, Inc.
James Griffin, Schain, Burney, Ross and Citron, Ltd.
Paul Lewis, Miller, Hall & Triggs
James J. Greenberger, Reed Smith LLP

More information about the organization and the conference is available at Government employees, county board members and zoning board members may register for the conference at no cost. For all others, registration will be $35.00.

The conference is hosted by Illinois State University through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and designed by the Illinois Wind Working Group which consists of the key wind energy stakeholders from the State of Illinois.

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Illinois trip was great chance to learn about wind farms

Posted on November 23, 2007. Filed under: Wind |

A letter to the editor of The Post-Crescent (Appleton):

While Susan Squires may be a staff writer for The Post-Crescent, she certainly isn’t a writer for anyone on the bus trip down to Tiskilwa, Ill. Three busloads, approximately 120 people from Calumet County, had the courage and fortitude to see for themselves what a wind farm looks like, how it sounds and to have their questions answered concerning these wind farms.

I applaud Clean Wisconsin for spending $5,000 to allow our residents the opportunity to see a wind farm. Ms. Squires only quoted two people from Calumet County in her article. Why weren’t the supervisors and members of the ad hoc committee along to see and ask questions for themselves and listen to their constituents’ and fellow county residents’ opinions concerning this project?

My husband and I took a decibel meter along to measure the loudness for ourselves. As the writer pointed out, it was a very windy day. The decibels were 15 decibels or more louder on the bus than at the wind site. When I first got off the bus, I could hear the whoosh of air. After 15 minutes of talking to neighbors and friends, we were all quiet and listened intently and all we could hear was the sound of the wind blowing.

Imagine if you were indoors in this same scenario. Would you hear the “whoosh”? We live about 100 feet from U.S. 151. Do you think we hear the traffic? You block this out and go on with your lives; you don’t dwell on it.

One of the best aspects of this trip was neighbor talking to neighbor in complete harmony, not at each other’s throats, which had been reported before.

This was a quest for information, to make an unbiased opinion, for each one to ask questions and get the truthful answer to any of our questions.

Susan Steffen,

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Carbon cap-and-trade opportunities in governors’ agreement

Posted on November 21, 2007. Filed under: Carbon, Global Warming |

Though a bit of self-promotion, an Environment/Energy Alert from the Madison law firm of Godfrey & Kahn focuses on the call for a carbon cap-and-trade system:

Wisconsin recently joined five other states in entering the Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, a copy of which is attached to this news alert. The most important element of this pact is the commitment to develop a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. This cap-and-trade system is to be set up over the next year and to be implemented by 2010.

Wisconsin businesses that become more energy efficient or pursue green energy projects may see significant financial gains under the terms of the accord, as the accord calls for the development of credits for those who work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Because these credits apply to past and present actions, Wisconsin businesses that act now may substantially generate valuable credits. Taking early action is especially important in light of the governor’s pact, because the pact essentially assures that there will be a robust market for any carbon reductions through energy efficiency or green energy projects. In addition, it is highly likely that there will be credit for early action under the cap-andtrade system. This means that actions taken now will allow our clients to accumulate credits that may be sold for higher value as the cap-and-trade market matures.

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Coal as an “alternative fuel”

Posted on November 20, 2007. Filed under: Coal, Energy Policy, Generation Plants |

From an article by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:

Don’t expect the coal guys to go quietly into the night.

Even as politicians talk about reducing greenhouse gases — including Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle — both Democrats and Republicans at the federal level are pushing to subsidize coal as the new “alternative fuel.”

Doyle and nine other Midwest governors last week signed an accord to reduce the release of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. If approved, the plan would establish caps on emissions from factories and power plants.

But two days before Doyle signed that agreement, he also threw support behind Illinois’ bid to land a taxpayer-backed $1.4 billion “clean coal” facility. The Department of Energy is expected to chose from four sites later this year for FutureGen.

“We feel strongly that the evolution of cleaner coal technologies will be of vital importance to the nation and specifically the Midwest,” Doyle said in a letter to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. . . .

And despite $15 million in the new state budget for renewable fuels, it’s easy to argue Wisconsin is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to alternatives to coal burning.

Compare Doyle’s tacit support for the coal industry to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has led opposition to three new coal fired power plants proposed in his fast-growing state. Reid notes that Colorado, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and Washington have all cancelled plans for new coal plants.

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Governors issue renewable energy policy options

Posted on November 19, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The platform adopted by Midwestern governors at the Midwestern Energy Security and Climate Stewardhsip Summit includes the following policy options for renewable electricity. The fifth item on siting policies would be particularly vital to elimination of local roadblocks to wind development in Wisconsin.

1. Implement appropriate policies for development of renewable electricity generation. Enact, where appropriate, or enhance existing state renewable energy standards or objectives in the region to stimulate the development of new renewable electricity generation. . .

2. Expand collaborative regional transmission planning and siting to enable future development of renewable electricity generation.

3. Incorporate transmission development requirements into existing state renewable energy objectives and standards. . . .

4. Pursue a multi-state transmission initiative to facilitate construction and delivery to market of a large amount of new renewable electricity generation, together with power from other lower-carbon generation facilities. . . .


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Global warming task force proposals now online

Posted on November 17, 2007. Filed under: Global Warming |

From Mike Neuman, author of “Conserve, NOW!: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Other Environmental Costs by Offering Financial Incentives that Reward Less Driving, Flying and Home Energy Use”, November 1, 2000

The public has an opportunity to review and comment on Draft Policy Templates prepared by work groups of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming on: Transportation; Conservation and Energy Efficiency; Industry; Electric Generation and Supply; and Carbon Tax/Cap and Trade. The draft templates are now posted and available on the DNR’s web site.

Each Task Force work group prepared a series of templates containing various policy options which the DNR says “may” reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Wisconsin.

Comments on the templates are due to the corresponding work group contact by either November 27th, December 1st, December 6th or December 8th, depending on which policy templates you are submitting comments on.

The DNR site says the Work Groups will revise their policies after considering comments they received from the public. They are to submit their final policy templates to the Governor’s Task Force “around the end of the year”, according to the DNR.

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