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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

State funds energy assessments for bay region

From an article by Chad Dally in The Daily Press (Ashland):

Municipalities around the Chequamegon Bay region have been awarded state funding for energy independence assessments as part of a pilot program for Gov. Jim Doyle's 25x25 plan.

Doyle has set a non-binding goal for communities around the state to generate 25 percent of their energy and 25 percent of their transportation fuel from renewable sources by 2025.

So far, more than 70 municipalities have signed on to the 25x25 resolution, including several around the bay area. But current energy and fuel usage, and how to reach that 25 percent goal, remains cloudy. The Alliance for Sustainability will help eight municipalities and Bay Area Rural Transit with both. The municipalities include: the cities of Ashland, Bayfield and Washburn; the towns of Bayfield and LaPointe; Ashland and Bayfield counties; and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

The Alliance will itself have help from "resource teams" from the state's Office of Energy Independence and agents from UW-Extension in both Ashland and Bayfield counties, said Kelly Randleman, office assistant for the Alliance.

The first task for the $60,000 award will be to establish a baseline assessment for each municipality to determine how much work needs to be done toward the 25x25 goal. That means meeting with representatives from each municipality to get an inventory on their "fleets and facilities," Randleman said. Energy consumption in municipal buildings, street lights and other areas under public control would be studied, along with fuel consumption for municipalities' vehicle fleets and what type of fuel is used in each vehicle.

While one end of the assessment studies consumption, another will examine renewable resource potential in the region, Randleman said.

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