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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Few institutions are buying green energy

From an article in The Country Today:

RIVER FALLS - High prices, uncertainty over future supplies and concerns about global warming have brought energy issues to the forefront of policy debates in Washington and communities across the country.

These same factors are at play in western Wisconsin, where "green" economic development opportunities and the desire to sustain rural working lands are fueling a growing interest in renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass, say organizers of a recent survey conducted by the UW-River Falls Survey Research Center.

But data the center has collected show that, while there is a lot of interest and support for green energy, there is not a great deal of actual use at this point.

The survey finds that electricity from renewable sources makes up slightly more than 7 percent, on average, of total energy use in public institutions in western Wisconsin.

The proportion of total electricity used by those organizations that comes from "green" sources is variable, ranging from 25 percent to 2.5 percent.

"There is a huge groundswell of support for renewable energy in St. Croix County," said Pete Kling, UW-Extension agent for St. Croix County, which funded the survey. "In the past year, more than 500 people have attended renewable-energy forums, round-tables and field tours in western Wisconsin to learn more about opportunities in our own backyards."

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