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Monday, August 31, 2015

Alliant Project Gives Solar a Boost

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial board published this past Sunday a commentary in praise of Alliant Energy's solar research project on its Madison headquarters. In so doing, the editorial board criticized the various anti-solar policies now established in Wisconsin. As it noted, "the solar movement took a hit last fall when the Public Service Commission voted to allow utilities to impose sharp increases in the fixed charge on customers' monthly bills, pay less for clean power that customers generate, and charge customers and extra fee for installation solar collectors on their roofs."

Read the full article here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Farm Technology Days Host, Statz Brothers, Demonstrates Sustainable Farming Operation, Including New Biodigester

The Wisconsin State Journal wrote an article featuring Sun Prairie-based Statz Brothers, the host of this year's Farm Technology Days, detailing their expansion project that includes a second manure digester, making it one of the state’s most sustainable dairy operations. They are also becoming one of the most technologically advanced with the addition of a state-of-the-art milking parlor and feed operation and three freestall barns that can each house 800 cows. They have the look of a bovine day spa with high-quality bedding created by the digesters, overhead fans and cool-water misters.

Further in the article, there is a discussion on the economics of generating electricity from manure. The reporter was confused about the terminology used in pricing power. Here is the translation: Alliant pays Statz Bros. 10 cents/kilowatt-hour for electricity produced from the first digester. However, it offered Statz only three cents/kilowatt-hour for power from the second biodigester, which is why Alliant is using all the power from the second biodigester in house.
Also from the article: "Richard [Statz] said he plans to mention that to Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to make an appearance at Farm Tech Days. “Farmers want to be good stewards of the environment but we can’t go broke doing it,” Richard said."

Read the full article here, and also see this article from Biomass Magazine for more details on the second biodigester at the Statz Brothers operation.


Wisconsin Farm Technology Days runs Tuesday through Thursday at 5966 Town Hall Dr., Sun Prairie, WI. 53590. Event hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $6 per person. Youth under 12 are admitted free. Parking is free. For traffic and parking information, visit

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Video! Two businesses in Wisconsin go solar, and "REAP" the benefits

La Crosse Channel 8000 highlights two new solar installations: both Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Viroqua and the Old Oak Family Farm in Bangor were able to choose solar for their businesses after receiving grants from the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), reducing the cost of their installation.

See the video and learn more below!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wisconsin Utilities Exceed 10% Renewables Standard

In its annual review of renewable energy compliance efforts by Wisconsin electric providers, the Public Service Commission has determined that Wisconsin has exceeded the 10% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) once again in 2014, a year before the 2015 deadline.

This standard led to an estimated $2.3 billion dollars of investment in clean power, creating jobs and strengthening our economy. 

Meeting this standard is a success for Wisconsin and should be celebrated. However, we need to explore new and expanded policies that can help us compete with our neighboring states on renewable energy.

Electric providers were required to increase the amount of electricity from renewables per the RPS. In aggregate, a statewide goal of 10% by 2015 was established. As seen in the list below, most of the major electric providers are well-positioned to meet their 2015 requirements, with only two falling a bit short.

Wisconsin Electric Provider Renewable Energy Compliance Report – 2014
Electric Provider 2014 RE Supply as a percentage of 2015 requirement
WPPI Energy 159%
Dairyland Power Cooperative 152%
Xcel - NSPW 152%
Madison Gas & Electric 137%
Alliant – WPL 124%
We Energies   96%
Wisconsin Public Service   93%

According to the report, "Collectively, electric providers have built enough renewable facilities and procured enough power purchase agreements and bankable renewable energy credits to easily remain in compliance through 2020 and likely beyond."

As indicated in the table below, a little over half (52%) of the renewable electricity supplying WI utilities is generated in other states. Wind accounts for 63%, followed by hydro at 21.2% and biomass (wood, biogas, landfill gas, and other) at just shy of 16%.

Renewable energy resource and areas of origin Percentage of statewide utility  RE supply
Wind (out-of-state) 45%
Wind (in-state) 18%
Hydro (in-state) 17%
Biomass (in-state) 13%
Hydro (out-of-state)  5%
Biomass (out-of-state)  2%

Tom Content of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote an article last week on how other states are pursuing even greater Renewable Energy Standards, and that Wisconsin is lagging behind.

We will continue to advocate for increased clean energy development in Wisconsin so that more investment will be brought to Wisconsin companies and Wisconsin workers, making the Badger State a better place to live now, and in the future.

Below are some graphics from the full report.