State’s wind-power opportunities blowing away

Posted on June 8, 2009. Filed under: Wind |

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

Wisconsin’s path to a greener energy future is anything but a breeze.

Optimism abounds that the wind power sector will create jobs and help reduce the state’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Gov. Jim Doyle’s global warming task force has recommended the state move toward getting 25% of its electricity from wind power by 2025.

And several reports are touting the promise of job creation and emissions reduction from tapping more renewable energy and energy efficiency.

A report being released Monday by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs concludes that the Midwestern economy can capitalize on its wind resource and expertise in areas such as vehicle technology and energy efficiency if the United States passes limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite the region’s heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants – a key source of carbon dioxide emissions – the report says: “The Midwest has too much at stake to remain inactive. Preserving the past is no longer an option. There is much the region can do to prepare for a carbon-constrained future and begin turning those challenges to its competitive advantage.”

Another report last week from the conservation group Wisconsin Environment reached a similar conclusion, calling on Wisconsin to follow the lead of neighboring states and seek to get 25% of power from renewable sources by 2025. . . .

Hurdles to growth have been many, including:

Stalled projects. More than a dozen wind projects around the state have been slowed by local opposition, wind industry advocates say. . . .

But wind developers say local ordinances around the state are blocking hundreds of megawatts of projects from being built, sending investment to other states. Several wind companies based in Wisconsin are now working on projects exclusively out of state because of restrictive local ordinances that at times require setbacks of a mile or more from a wind turbine.

“That just outlaws windmills. That’s what it does,” said Rep. Jim Soletski (D-Green Bay), head of the state Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee. . . .

The state may have started slow, but it’s making up ground as it competes against other states for an industry that clearly has big growth prospects, [Zach] Brandon [executive assistant at the state Department of Commerce] said.

“We’re making it up at the right time,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we’re tailoring our incentive dollars to these industries. That allows us to brush off the concerns of the past.”

But a lot needs to be done, renewable energy advocates say.

Said Vickerman, of Renew Wisconsin: “I don’t see much likelihood of utilities or developers hanging around Wisconsin in a couple years, if we don’t put our permitting house in order.”


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One Response to “State’s wind-power opportunities blowing away”

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Speaking of green energy, why not consider clean coal technology?

A lot of people don’t know exactly what clean coal technology is, so I’ll fill you in: it refers not to any one technology, but to an entire suite of advanced technologies.

During the America’s Power Factuality Tour, we’ve been traveling around the country talking to the people who are behind the production of cleaner electricity from coal – including a stop at the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in Wisconsin. They’ve installed a retrofit system that has reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 95 percent.

In addition, through a pilot project in partnership with Alstom Power, they’re developing the latest in carbon capture technology. Check out to get the facts on clean coal technology once and for all.

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