Archive for February, 2008

Towns association supports wind siting bill

Posted on February 29, 2008. Filed under: General |

From a statement posted on the Web site of the Wisconsin Towns Association:

The Wisconsin Towns Association Board of Directors has authorized the staff to support a legislative bill to authorize the PSC to develop state standards for local ordinances for wind turbine siting. The board has expressed two points that need to be recognized in this bill and the rules. First, that the rule development by PSC be done in the most deliberative process possible taking into account impacts on immediate neighbors by using a technical advisory committee or advisory committee including citizen neighbors in development of the rules. Second, that the law and rule recognize impacts on adjacent neighbors to the wind turbines and that such impacts be compensated appropriately by the wind turbine developers.

The bill on siting was been introduced as Assembly Bill 899.

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School wind initiative clears legislature

Posted on February 28, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

On a 31-0 vote, the State Senate overwhelmingly passed the School Wind Initiative (Assembly Bill 625), and the bill will now be available for the governor’s signature.

The bill authorizes a school board to construct or acquire a renewable resource facility and to use the energy generated by the facility or sell it at wholesale, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

In a post from a story on WEAU (Wausau)

School Districts all over Western Wisconsin are thinking about owning and operating a wind farm to help the bottom line.

Its all through the CESA 10 agency. The project calls for eight to 12 turbines that cost about $3 million dollars each. Each district would get what is called Clean Renewable Energy Bonds through the IRS to fund the project. The turbines are expected to produce enough energy to pay for itself for the first 15 years.

“School districts would sell the bonds and then we pay the bonds over 15 years. And after the 15 years the school district would get all of the revenue that is generated by the selling of electricity,” said Project Manager Charlie Schneider.

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Pass legislation to help wind projects

Posted on February 27, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

This letter to the editor appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

A Feb. 26 editorial asked what could be done to encourage wind farms (“Blowin’ in the wind”). We should work for passage of Assembly Bill 899 and Senate Bill 544. The legislation would set up clear, uniform criteria and permitting timetables for wind projects under 100 megawatts. Wisconsin wisely has a law now, Statute 66.0401, that already forbids local units of government from discouraging or prohibiting renewable energy projects “except for reasons of health and safety.”Its meaning is plain, and there is case law backing it up all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Does that prevent outrageous, obstructionist local ordinances from being written and effectively tying up smaller wind proposals? Not on your life! Any and all shenanigans have been concocted under the ruse of concern about “health and safety.”

Wind machines are not a blight on the landscape. On the contrary: These dramatic and majestic artifacts will become widely accepted, even taken for granted as time goes on.

We urgently need wind as part of the mix to meet Wisconsin’s clean energy goals. The proposed legislation will move us away from obstructionism and toward sanity on this important issue.

David Lagerman

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New designs in solar installations

Posted on February 27, 2008. Filed under: General |

House with flair

Lake Michigan Wind and Sun (LMW&S) uses its Solar Flair design to turn a solar installation into art in a Wisconsin back yard (above) or whimsy in front of a waste treatment plant in Canada (below).

The designs shown here and other designs have been in development by LMW&S for quite some time, and LMW&S holds a trademark for the name Solar Flair. The Solar Flairs can be installed as fixed or tracking systems.

Sewage plant flairs

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Editorial: Blowin’ in the wind

Posted on February 26, 2008. Filed under: Energy Policy, Wind |

From an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“The way things stand now, it’s easier to build a 100-megawatt wind farm in this state than it is to put up two or three turbines.” So says Roy Thilly, chairman of the state’s Task Force on Global Warming and president of Wisconsin Public Power Inc., a consortium of municipally owned utilities, on local ordinances that tend to restrict the development of small wind farms in Wisconsin and hurt the state’s ability to meet its goal of generating 10% of its power from renewable energy by 2015 (

That’s not the way it should be.

An ordinance enacted in Trempealeau County in December, for example, bars wind turbines from being built within a mile of a habitable building. That’s effectively a countywide ban, according to Michael Vickerman, executive director of the environmental group Renew Wisconsin. Right now, state law requires state regulators to approve large wind farms but leaves the decision-making on smaller projects to local units of government. While local governments should have a say in siting wind farms – or anything else – in their jurisdiction, giving them the ability to outright ban small projects goes too far. And standards for wind farms should not vary widely from community to community.

The Global Warming Task Force has recommended changing state law by setting similar standards for wind turbines across Wisconsin, and a bill to that effect is expected to be introduced by state Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee). Legislators should get behind a reasonable bill that would enhance Wisconsin’s ability to provide more renewable sources of energy.

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Task force seeks uniform siting standards for turbines

Posted on February 25, 2008. Filed under: Energy Policy, Wind |

From an article by Thomas Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Responding to counties and towns that are restricting development of small wind farms, one lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would call for similar standards to be enacted for wind turbines across Wisconsin. The proposed bill was among the initiatives recommended by the state’s Task Force on Global Warming. In a report last week, the panel, composed of utilities, environmental groups and industry, recommended that the state enact the wind-siting changes.

Local ordinances that restrict wind power could make it harder to reach the goal, required by state law, for Wisconsin to generate 10% of its power from renewable energy by 2015, the task force said.

Drafts of the bill were being circulated and revised last week in Madison. A hearing on the bill could take place this week.

“The way things stand now, it’s easier to build a 100-megawatt wind farm in this state than it is to put up two or three turbines,” said Roy Thilly, chairman of the task force and president of Wisconsin Public Power Inc., a consortium of municipally owned utilities.

State law requires state regulators to approve large wind farms but leaves the decision-making on smaller projects to local units of government.

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Town of Forestville enacts wind moratorium

Posted on February 22, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

From an article by Kurt Rentmeester from the Door County Advocate:

The Forestville Town Board became the latest municipality to enact a one-year moratorium for large wind turbines – and questioned whether Door County’s recently approved wind energy ordinance should take effect there. “We don’t want the county to impose its wind ordinance on us because we want more information on it,” Forestville Town Chairman Edson Stevens said Monday, Feb. 18, at the regular board meeting.

According to the moratorium, wind turbines exceeding 170 feet cannot be built for one year in the town of Forestville.

Two weeks ago, the Gardner Town Board approved a one-year interim control ordinance for wind turbines of at least 170 feet.

Last April, the Clay Banks Town Board established a similar one-year moratorium after Community Wind Energy LLC proposed three turbines be built there.

The town board there also established a five-member committee to study the issue and create a stricter local ordinance to supersede the county measure.

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Tours set for renewable installations

Posted on February 21, 2008. Filed under: General |

On the morning of March 12, the 2008 Renewable Energy Summit includes tours of outstanding renewable energy installations. Registration for the tours in on the Summit Web site. It’s not necessary to attend the Summit to register for a tour.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and The Urban Ecology Center
We are installing a 29kW solar PV system on the MSOE Campus Center Building, roughly an area of 3000 square feet, using ballasted tray mounting racks. MSOE aprpeciates the support from both Wisconsin Focus on Energy and We Energies that make this system possible.At a huge 44.4 kilowatts, the solar electric panels now covering the roof at the Urban Ecology Center are the largest such solar installation in Wisconsin. The system, originally installed in 2003 by H&H Solar Energy Services of Madison, started out as a 48 module array. With the addition of 208 solar panels, the completed system now consists of 256 Kyocera solar panels mounted directly to the Center’s metal standing-seam roof. The Kyocera panels are expected to produce over 55,000 KWH each year.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 9:15 am – 12:00 pm, $30.00

Johnson Controls Inc.
The Brengel Technology Center, built in 2000, is a seven-story, 130,000 square-foot facility that provides office and meeting space for 400 employees and serves as a showcase for Johnson Controls technologies. The Center was first certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system for New Construction (LEED-NC) at the Silver level in 2001, and in 2004 became the first building to be certified to the Gold level under the LEED-EB (Existing Building) rating system. Because energy efficiency and environmental quality are ingrained in the building plan, seeking LEED-EB certification was completed at a modest cost of $27,250 with a payback of less than one year. The Brengel Center is rated in the top 15% of similar buildings in the EPA Energy Star rating system.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 9:15 am – 12:00 pm, $30.00

ECAM Oak Creek
The Center for Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing (ECAM), a $2million, 24,000 square foot applied technology center at the MATC Oak Creek Campus, is designed to answer the competitive challenges of Renewable Energy. ECAM is developing advanced educational programs for equipping and managing the new high-performance green buildings. New technicians are being trained for the installation, maintenance and operation of latest-generation, high-efficiency, digitally controlled heating and cooling systems.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 9:15 am – 12:00 pm, $30.00

Forward Wind Energy Center in Brownsville
Forward Energy is an 80 turbine wind farm located in Brownsville, WI, developed by Invenergy and constructed by Michels Wind Energy. The tour will provide a project overview, safety orientation and visit to wind turbine sites. Tour attendees will gain an appreciation for the complexity of developing and constructing a wind farm and see first hand the components of a wind farm.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 7:45 am – 12:00 pm, $50.00

GE Medical (PV Array)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 8:15 am – 12:00 pm, $50.00

SC Johnson Wingspread
The Johnson Foundation has a long tradition of sponsoring Wingspread conferences that address issues of enviornmental quality and community–helping people live in harmony with their environment. The Precautionary Principle, a landmark statement on environmental risk, was crafted at a Wingspread Conference, as were many of the LEED standards for green buildings. More recently, we sponsored Wingspread conferences that have led to a Presidential Climate Action Plan. We installed 16 15kW solar electric panels in 2007. The electricity genearted by teh array is sold back to WE Energies as part of its Energy for Tomorrow TM renewable energy program. We are also a Green Power Partner in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy for Tomorrow–Sustainable Energy Program. Overall, we purchase 28% of our energy from renewable energy sources. One of our buildings, however, uses 100% renewable energy. At these levels we reduce CO2emissions by 160 tons.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 8:45 am – 12:00 pm, $50.00

JohnsonDiversey Distribution Center
When JohnsonDiversey, Inc. broke ground on the warehouse and distribution center in Sturtevant, WI, they created the largest “green” distribution building in the United States. The commitment by JohnsonDiversey to be the nationwide leader in sustainable development were the driving factors behind this project’s success and ultimate achievement of LEED Gold Certification.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 8:45 am – 12:00 pm, $50.00

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RENEW newsletter posted online

Posted on February 19, 2008. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy, Solar, Wind |

RENEW Wisconsin’s quarterly newsletter contains the following articles:

+ Solar Water Heating’s Day of Superlatives
+ Calumet Voters Strongly Favor Wind
+ Renewable Profiles: Steve & Nancy Sandstrom
+ Wind a No Go in Trempealeau
+ Windpower Projects Near Completion
+ Calendar

You can read the newsletter online in RENEW’s News and Views.

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Don’t let wind turbine issue drag on much longer

Posted on February 18, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

From an editorial in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

It’s about time to settle the Calumet County wind turbine issue.

More than a year old already, the controversy about how to regulate — or, in effect, even allow — two large turbine projects in one of the most promising areas in the state for wind energy has been hashed over again and again. The major sticking point is how far a turbine should have to be away from a house. The county’s current ordinance says 1,000 feet, but a special committee appointed to look into the effects of wind turbines recommended moving it back to 1,800 feet. Turbine project developers say that’s too far — that it would kill the project.

Last month, the county board passed a 70-day ban on permits for turbines. Some residents are asking for a one-year ban, to study the effects of a similar turbine project in Fond du Lac County. Really, that’s going to only serve to drag out a decision that needs to be made sooner.

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