Doyle signs disputed waste-to-energy bill
Gov. Jim Doyle on Wednesday signed into law a bill that wind power developers and environmental groups had asked him to veto.
The bill, known as the Renewable Resource Credits bill, would allow energy generation produced from waste such as garbage to be classified as renewable and qualify that electricity for the state’s renewable power mandate.
The bill was drafted to grant renewable status to the Apollo light pipe, a a small glass skylight dome that, when mounted in a roof, reflects daylight inside to help cut energy use. The light pipe is a technology developed by Orion Energy Systems Inc. of Manitowoc, a maker of high-efficiency lighting systems.
Environmental and renewable energy groups had called on Doyle to veto the bill after it was amended to allow garbage-to-energy projects to be classified as renewable as well.
Doyle said he was torn on whether to sign the bill but said that, ultimately, Orion is the kind of business the state wants to see grow and succeed.
“I certainly didn’t want to be in the position I was in. To me the (state) Senate’s refusal to go ahead with the Clean Energy Jobs Act put everybody in a very difficult spot on this bill,” he said.
Doyle conceded that there would be some effect on the wind industry from the new law but said it would be so slight as to be negligible.
A waste-to-energy process known as plasma gasification is being envisioned by Alliance Federated Energy, which announced a plan in February to build a waste-to-energy plant in Milwaukee that would create up to 250 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs.
The bill’s signing came after Doyle vetoed a bill that would have required the state to make its buildings greener, saying the measure was laudable but unworkable.