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Friday, January 30, 2009

La Crosse city, county officials announce eco-plan

From an article by Samantha Marcus in the La Crosse Tribune:

City and county officials unveiled on Thursday an ambitious plan aimed at improving the La Crosse area’s environmental sustainability.

The strategic plan calls for major reductions in energy consumption and shifts to renewable energy sources and is scheduled to hit the La Crosse Common Council floor Feb. 12 and the La Crosse County Board on Feb. 19.

“It’s for the good of the community, so I do hope everyone will be behind it,” said council member and mayoral candidate Dorothy Lenard, who sits on the joint Oversight Committee on Sustainability.

City Senior Planner Tim Kabat said Thursday this collaborative plan is unique in Wisconsin.

The city portion of the 67-page draft outlines targets for increasing the purchase of “environmentally preferred products” and services by 50 percent, cutting city hall’s paper consumption by 10 percent each year starting this year, reducing nonrecyclable waste by 25 percent and increasing the amount recycled by 25 percent.

The plan also recommends improving community transportation by reducing public transit trip times and starting a community car-sharing program.

Two of the more immediate priorities are recycling plastics within six months to a year and hiring a sustainability coordinator, said Jai Johnson, committee chairwoman, council member and county board supervisor.

Sen. Kreitlow asks for western Wisconsin rail route

From a letter to Governor Jim Doyle from State Senator Pat Kreitlow:

The current draft of a Wisconsin plan for high-speed intercity rail connects many of our state’s population and economic centers. But unfortunately the Connections 2030 plan fails to include a route through the Interstate 94 corridor, an omission that in my opinion leaves the entire system incomplete and less efficient than it should be. I am encouraging people throughout western Wisconsin and the East Metro area of the Twin Cities to provide comments to the Department of Transportation supporting the inclusion of a route that includes Eau Claire, Menomonie and Hudson, and I hope to have your support for an Eau Claire route as well.

Some of the fastest growing counties in the state are in western Wisconsin, according to the Department of Administration’s recently released report on projected populations through 2035. Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pierce and Polk counties are all expected to see over 30% population growth by 2035, putting them in the top quarter of counties, while St. Croix County is projected to see a population increase of 135% during that time, making it the fastest growing county in the state. Widening Interstate 94 alone will not provide sufficient ways to link this rapidly growing economy to Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago. A rail line would displace many more auto trips compared to the Tomah-La Crosse corridor. Even your Task Force on Global Warming makes a specific recommendation to implement high speed rail “to Eau Claire and the Twin Cities” as a means toward reduction in transportation greenhouse gases.

RENEW's winter newsletter goes online

The Wisconsin Renewable Quarterly, RENEW Wisconsin's newsletter, features these articles:

+ Rest in Peace: Cassville Generation Plant
+ Mississippi River Bird and Bat Study
+ Osceola School Heats Pools with Solar
+ Bob Ramlow: Solar Pioneer
+ Focus on Energy Issues Biogas Profiles
+ Focus on Energy Earns National Honor
+ State Plugs into Renewable Energy

RENEW's winter newsletter goes online

The Wisconsin Renewable Quarterly, RENEW Wisconsin's newsletter, features these articles:

+ Rest in Peace: Cassville Generation Plant
+ Mississippi River Bird and Bat Study
+ Osceola School Heats Pools with Solar
+ Bob Ramlow: Solar Pioneer
+ Focus on Energy Issues Biogas Profiles
+ Focus on Energy Earns National Honor
+ State Plugs into Renewable Energy

RENEW's winter newsletter goes on-line

The Wisconsin Renewable Quarterly, RENEW Wisconsin's newsletter, features these articles:

+ Rest in Peace: Cassville Generation Plant
+ Mississippi River Bird and Bat Study
+ Osceola School Heats Pools with Solar
+ Bob Ramlow: Solar Pioneer
+ Focus on Energy Issues Biogas Profiles
+ Focus on Energy Earns National Honor
+ State Plugs into Renewable Energy

Thursday, January 29, 2009

RENEW Wisconsin's newsletter goes on-line

The Wisconsin Renewable Quarterly, RENEW Wisconsin's newsletter, features these articles:

+ Rest in Peace: Cassville Generation Plant
+ Mississippi River Bird and Bat Study
+ Osceola School Heats Pools with Solar
+ Bob Ramlow: Solar Pioneer
+ Focus on Energy Issues Biogas Profiles
+ Focus on Energy Earns National Honor
+ State Plugs into Renewable Energy

Region’s ‘green’ economy is growing

From an article by Wayne Nelson in BusinessNorth:

The region’s economy already has a tint of “green,” ranging from hydroelectric and wind-generated power to biofuels development and environmentally-friendly building design.

And it’s in a potential sweet spot for a boost from President Barack Obama’s “green economy” initiative that promises $150 billion in federal funding over the next decade to help address climate change issues, and develop 5 million green collar jobs in the process.

“Any renewables stimulus program will be huge for this region,” said Chris Wiberg, chief operations officer at Twin Ports Testing in Superior. “We have a lot of woody biomass,” he said, noting the challenge is to divine commercially viable technology. “The question is how to use it,” he said.

Twin Ports Testing launched a fuels analysis lab in 1980 and is in the vanguard in this search for renewable biomass fuels. That laboratory has assisted one corner of this sector — producing wood pellets from biomass for residential, commercial and industrial heating — get off the ground.
The article highlights many area businesses in the renewable energy industry.

Fcous on Energy encourages hospitality industry to go solar

From a letter sent to hospitality businesses by Focus on Energy:

Dear Wisconsin Hospitality Business:

As energy prices rise, now is a great time to discover the money-saving power of solar hot water.

A hospitality business like yours could save 50% or more on water-heating costs!

Solar hot water systems use energy from the sun to heat water for guest rooms, housekeeping, laundry facilities, food service, swimming pools and more. In many businesses, installing a solar hot water system can generate a positive cash flow almost immediately.

What can solar hot water do for your business?
+ Decrease your water-heating costs by 50% or more
+ Insulate your business from the rising cost of energy
+ Reduce pollution to help protect the environment
+ Enhance your reputation as an environmentally friendly business

For a real-world example of the benefits of solar hot water, click here for a case study that explains how Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells installed the state’s largest solar hot water system to save an expected $590,000 over 20 years.

Reduce your up-front costs with incentives from Focus on Energy.
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy program, offers financial incentives to help you fund up to 25% of the installed cost of your system. Federal tax credits and depreciation are also available to save you even more. Together, these funds can pay for more than half of the total cost
of your system!

Start saving with solar hot water.
Find out why a solar hot water system is a smart and affordable business investment that can boost your bottom line for years to come. Call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com/solarhotel1 to learn more about the benefits of solar water heating—plus energy efficiency tips to help you save even more with this tried and proven renewable energy solution.

Sales tax for KRM rail faces fresh opposition

From an article by Sean Ryan in The Daily Reporter:

A new sales tax in southeastern Wisconsin will pay for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Commuter Link if the idea can overcome opposition in the state Legislature and Racine County.

State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, said he supports the proposed rail project that would connect the three cities, but voters in his district won’t support a sales tax. Lehman last year convinced the state Senate to include a car-rental fee in the Budget Repair Bill to pay for transit in southeastern Wisconsin. The state Assembly later rejected the fee.

Milwaukee County opposed the car-rental fee because passengers from General Mitchell International Airport would pay the bulk of the money, Lehman said. Now Racine County, which has never levied its own sales tax, stands as the likely roadblock to the KRM under this plan, he said.

“So the sales tax recommendation, in my opinion, doesn’t make sense for Racine County,” Lehman said, “and it is unnecessary to finance a bus system in Racine County.

“I recognize that the Milwaukee County bus system is very challenged, and I think the sales tax makes more sense for Milwaukee County than Racine County.”

Sen. Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, said residents in his district support a sales tax to pay for the KRM and the bus system. But he would not predict the reception it will receive in Madison once biennial budget discussions begin next month.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not-in-my-backyard attitude a continuing problem

The Country Today, January 28, 2009
We hear it all the time in rural Wisconsin communities: "We don't want that wind farm, large dairy operation or anaerobic digester in our neighborhood."

The not-in-my-backyard mentality hasn't gone away and it isn't likely to anytime soon.

The NIMBY attitude really isn't so hard to understand. If someone lived in a peaceful rural neighborhood and that person had a choice, he or she probably would opt not to have that tranquility disrupted by a large business being built next door, whether it be an ethanol plant, a hog confinement operation or a widget factory.

It would be quite unusual to hear, "Please don't build that in my backyard, build it in my front yard!"

Within the past week, stories have crossed our desks about a large dairy project near Rosendale, a Manitowoc County wind farm and a community animal-manure digester project in Dane County.

In all three cases, millions of dollars would be invested - during the toughest economic times in about 60 years - to help stimulate the economy. Each of the projects would provide good rural jobs.

The $70 million Rosendale project - a 4,000-cow dairy that could eventually become an 8,000-cow facility - would create 70 permanent jobs and buy $32 million per year from local contractors and vendors.

About 500 people showed up at a hearing last week to consider whether to issue the farm its permits. Farmers from other parts of the state spoke in favor of the project, while some local residents opposed the idea of a large farm being built in their community.

The Manitowoc County Board of Adjustment last week rejected a developer's proposal to build a seven-turbine wind project west of Two Rivers. The decision was the latest setback in the project developer's four-year quest to erect a community-scale wind project in the town of Mishicot.

Renew Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman said the board's rejection of the wind farm "is certain to send a chill through every Wisconsin developer seeking to construct a community-scale wind farm here."

In Dane County, the latest talk is about a community-scale manure digester that would collect manure from several farms and turn it into electricity. Farmers heard the latest details about the project at a meeting in DeForest last week.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is hoping federal officials will allocate funds for the "shovel-ready" project that she said could be replicated in agricultural communities across the country.

Madison-area hog producer Bob Uphoff said he was concerned that if the idea catches on and several of the digesters are proposed in Dane County, the projects would be met with a "not in my backyard" attitude by many residents.

So herein lies the dilemma. The economy desperately needs stimulation, and agricultural and rural projects stand ready to meet the challenge. But many of the projects face opposition.

This problem could become even more widespread in the months ahead if, as expected, President Obama and Congress designate money to accelerate renewable-energy projects. The projects that could provide immediate economic stimulation could become bogged down by a plethora of opposition and regulations.

There is no easy solution to this dilemma. It's certainly not a new problem.

But some people might have to reconsider their opposition to reasonable projects that help the country climb out of its economic doldrums. The old economic structure in this country is broken and must be replaced by a new paradigm. That new paradigm will likely include new ways to generate energy and economic wealth that we might not be used to or familiar with. But they're not necessarily bad just because they're different.

We can't always have our cake and eat it too, as the old saying goes. We can't ask for projects that stimulate the economy but then always expect them to be built somewhere else.

If we want to put people back to work and get this country's economy back in gear, some people might have to change their mind-sets.

Find opportunities in supplying the wind industry, March 31, Appleton

Businesses with possible products or services for the wind industry could find new opportunities by attending the Wisconsin Wind Energy Supply Chain Seminar, March 31, 2009, Appleton, WI, produced by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):

The wind energy industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, which is bringing major supply chain challenges to the industry while it aggressively “ramps up” domestic manufacturing of wind turbines and their components. As a result, there is significant opportunity for state and local governments, manufacturers and component suppliers across all industries to help feed the supply chain and grow their business.

This state-level seminar will focus on supply chain challenges and opportunities in the state of Wisconsin for companies looking to get involved in the supply of components and services to the wind energy industry. This state-level event is designed to focus on specific aspects for Wisconsin-based companies and to enable their entrance into the wind industry.

AWEA is presenting this workshop with the support of The New North, RENEW Wisconsin, We Energies, State of Wisconsin-Office of Energy Independence, Wisconsin Department of Commerce.


More details here.

Sen. Vinehout: Let all alternative energies bloom

From a guest editorial by State Senator Kathleen Vinehout in The Tomah Journal:

In my home neighborhood a wind energy development firm is writing to encourage local farmers and other land owners to contact me in support of wind-power.

Renewable energy is on nearly every legislators “to do” list. Although challenges vary across the state, there is almost universal agreement that we need to move beyond our current fossil fuel based economy. Wisconsin is moving forward with leadership from the Office of Energy Independence, the Global Warming Task Force and state agencies.

Last week I met with the Director of the Office on Energy Independence and learned a bit more about the opportunities and challenges Wisconsin faces as we move toward a green economy.

The diversity of our state provides incredible opportunities for the development of renewable energy. Technology is making new options viable. Investors and local entrepreneurs are supplying capital and ideas that could put Wisconsin on the cutting edge of the green revolution.

Liabilities, like manure or waste from landfills, could power our home and industry. Natural resources, like the sun, the wind and the earth (through geo-thermal energy) could provide the jobs we need to grow our economy and the power to run our televisions.

Unfortunately, just when it seems we are on the edge of learning how to work together and embrace the diversity of renewable energy sources, I learned of some competition between those who would profit from wind development and those who would like to invest in other forms of renewable energy. While competition is healthy and often spurs innovation, efforts to shut down competitive alternatives may not be in the public’s best interest.

Sen. Vinehout: Let all alternative energies bloom

From a guest editorial by State Senator Kathleen Vinehout in The Tomah Journal:

In my home neighborhood a wind energy development firm is writing to encourage local farmers and other land owners to contact me in support of wind-power.

Renewable energy is on nearly every legislators “to do” list. Although challenges vary across the state, there is almost universal agreement that we need to move beyond our current fossil fuel based economy. Wisconsin is moving forward with leadership from the Office of Energy Independence, the Global Warming Task Force and state agencies.

Last week I met with the Director of the Office on Energy Independence and learned a bit more about the opportunities and challenges Wisconsin faces as we move toward a green economy.

The diversity of our state provides incredible opportunities for the development of renewable energy. Technology is making new options viable. Investors and local entrepreneurs are supplying capital and ideas that could put Wisconsin on the cutting edge of the green revolution.

Liabilities, like manure or waste from landfills, could power our home and industry. Natural resources, like the sun, the wind and the earth (through geo-thermal energy) could provide the jobs we need to grow our economy and the power to run our televisions.

Unfortunately, just when it seems we are on the edge of learning how to work together and embrace the diversity of renewable energy sources, I learned of some competition between those who would profit from wind development and those who would like to invest in other forms of renewable energy. While competition is healthy and often spurs innovation, efforts to shut down competitive alternatives may not be in the public’s best interest.

State keeps working on Milwaukee-Madison railroad

From an article by in The Daily Reporter:
Wisconsin does not have enough money to pay for the estimated $500 million Milwaukee-Madison high-speed rail line, but the state might kick off the project anyway.

“I keep going back to the fact that this is a multiyear project,” said Randall Wade, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s passenger rail manager. “There are things we can do immediately, and I think we should start as soon as possible.”

But before focusing on the Milwaukee-Madison line, WisDOT must consider capacity upgrades to its Milwaukee-Chicago service, which Wade said sets ridership records every month.

Gov. Jim Doyle put $80 million in the state budget to spark Wisconsin involvement in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, a multistate effort to coordinate and expand high-speed rail use. WisDOT, Wade said, will use that money for upgrades to the Chicago-Milwaukee line and the Milwaukee-Watertown portion of the line to Madison.

The state agency also asked for $137 million in federal stimulus money for high-speed rail projects. Although Wade said that money could pay for track and signal improvements along the Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison route, the combined $217 million would only be enough to establish a passenger-ready line as far as Watertown.

“(Finishing it) is still going to be dependent upon federal funding,” he said.

If finishing the high-speed rail line between Watertown and Madison takes several years, it could test the patience of people in the capital region.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

State stumbles toward 2025 energy goal

From an article by Paul Snyder in The Daily Reporter:

Wisconsin still has 16 years to meet its 2025 alternative energy development goals, yet business and utility groups say the state had better pick up the pace.

Charlie Higley, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, said the state is producing less than 5 percent of its energy from renewable resources.

“Wisconsin is still losing out big to places like Iowa when it comes to wind power manufacturers,” he said. “And I think there’s still focusing to do when it comes to (establishing a direction for) energy independence.”

The state charted its course toward independence last year when it adopted the Clean Energy Wisconsin report, which set 2025 as the year by which the state derives 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Yet local and state governments remain at an impasse over control of wind farm placement, and, after a fast start, ethanol and biomass plant development slowed to a crawl in the last year.

“Yes, we’re behind, and yes, it’s disappointing,” said state Rep. Phil Garthwaite, the Dickeyville Democrat who serves on the Assembly Committee on Renewable Energy and Rural Affairs. “You’d like to be further along, and 16 years seems short. But I think there’s still a lot of work we can do. It’s just going to be a longer process due to economics and public psychology.”

USDA Renewable Energy for America Workshop, Feb. 10

From the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, USDA-Rural Development, UW-Extension Offices:

RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR AMERICA WORKSHOP

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Training Opportunities and Topics:
- General overview of the REAP Program
- Changes in the 2008 Farm Bill
- How to apply for a Grant
- Q & A

3 Convenient Ways to Attend:
1. Attend online webinar and teleconference
2. In person at Mid-State Technical College
3. Satellite sites are being hosted at UW- Extension Offices

Onsite Location:
Room L133
Mid-State Technical College
Wisconsin Rapids

Host Locations:
Several around the state, including UW-Platteville. See brochure for complete list.

Presenters:
Brenda Heinen,USDA Rural Development
Mark Brodziski, USDA Rural Development

Registration:
See brochure

Questions:
Rural Development
4949 Kirschling Court
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715-345-7610

Snap-on continues commitment to wind industry

From a news release issued by Span-on and posted on Yahoo!Finance:

KENOSHA, Wis., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- It's no mystery that much of the focus for the American economy in the coming years will be on renewable energy sources, with wind power at the forefront. Wind industry experts know that utilizing wind as a major new source of energy will require a huge effort. The entire infrastructure needs to be addressed, including the power grid network and manufacturing capabilities, as well as training the huge numbers of workers needed to build and sustain the wind-generation system. This effort will require an unprecedented collaboration among industry participants from all levels of government, manufacturing, service and education. Snap-on's goal is to lend its global organizational expertise, broad network of relationships, and reputation for quality and innovation to a platform that will bring the entire industry together to meet the work force needs of wind power.

To this end, Snap-on Industrial, a division of Snap-on Tools Company, recently convened an industry consortium at its Kenosha, Wis., manufacturing facility to talk specifically with key members of industry, trade associations, labor groups, government officials and technical colleges about the future needs of both the American and global wind power markets. Some industry experts estimate that manpower requirements to service this market over the next several years could reach 200,000 workers.

"It was our goal to bring together in one room people who not only see the need to train the next generation of technicians in the wind power industry, but people who can make that happen," said Frederick Brookhouse, senior segment sales support manager-education, Snap-on Industrial. "At Snap-on, it's our role to provide the forum and help with the industry perspective. We've done that and now this group promises to be a powerhouse in leading the charge toward maintaining those important sustainable energy resources that are on the drawing board today. . . ."

Topics discussed during the conference included partnership development, implementation of wind technician training and tooling requirements. In addition, participants learned about the Snap-on/Gateway Technical College partnership in Wisconsin, a nationally recognized public-private training and education program, and attended a reception at Gateway's Horizon Center in Kenosha. . . .

WETC members will meet for the second time during the AWEA Windpower 2009 conference and trade show in Chicago. The exhibition runs May 4-7.

Response to anti-wind comments of State Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer


Jennifer L. Heinzen
Manitowoc, WI

Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer
Manitowoc County Executive
Courthouse, 1010 S. 8th Street
Manitowoc, WI 54220

January 27, 2009

Dear Representative Ziegelbauer,

This letter is in response to your comments made in The Daily Reporter dated January 24 concerning the Manitowoc County Board of Adjustment’s recent rejection of a seven-turbine wind farm. I am for many reasons baffled and disheartened by your statements, and ask for a few moments of your time to consider my words.

I am the lead instructor at Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) for the Wind Energy Technology program, a 2-year associate degree for aspiring wind turbine technicians. It is the only such program in the state, and we have worked very hard to make LTC nationally-recognized for its efforts in promoting conservation and renewable energy. Our 65 kW wind turbine started producing electricity for the campus in August of 2004, and nearly 30 students have climbed the tower since then. Two more wind turbines will be erected at LTC by 2010. Construction for the first will begin in just a few months.

As a state-certified master electrician and technical college instructor, I have a strong interest in keeping jobs at home. Promoting renewable energy in Wisconsin encourages conservation, efficiency and environmental stewardship. It also opens an exciting new market for a plethora of “green” jobs in the commercial, industrial, agricultural, and residential sectors. I work with the Department of Commerce, International Association of Electrical Inspectors, Wisconsin Distributed Resources Collaborative, and the Rural Energy Management Council to provide training for electricians in renewable energy. These classes and seminars fill up quickly and are in high demand statewide.

Manitowoc supports wind power in many respects. Companies like Tower Tech and Manitowoc Crane are prospering because of their connections to the wind industry. Orion Energy Systems recently obtained a permit from the City of Manitowoc to erect a large wind turbine at their new facility, and Manitowoc Public Utilities will likely be adding wind power to their energy portfolio. It’s ironic that this county, while supporting wind energy in so many ways, has also become notorious for writing ordinances that may as well say “no wind turbines allowed.”

I was a member of the Manitowoc County Wind Energy Systems Advisory Committee from 2005-2006. I had been asked by the County Board Chair to join this committee because of my experience with wind systems and my position at LTC. I accepted, believing naively that simple education was the remedy to the controversy. I thought the committee would only need certain fears eased, myths dispelled, and questions answered.

Unfortunately my attempts to help the committee write a reasonable ordinance were thwarted by the relentless storytelling and fear-mongering tactics used by the WINDCOWS, the Manitowoc-based wind energy opposition group. I underestimated their passion and dedication to the cause of essentially outlawing wind energy. As a result, the group created unrealistic and highly restrictive ordinances for wind farms, as well as small, privately-owned systems.

My defeat was both frustrating and inspiring. I dove into energy policy and legislation, and I am now president of the board of directors for RENEW Wisconsin. As you know, RENEW is a Madison-based, nonprofit organization that promotes clean energy. We have been working diligently on a statewide siting campaign that will hopefully end these expensive and extravagant local battles. (This 7-turbine project has been debated for nearly five years!) We have strong support from a wide variety of stakeholders and are confident that the legislation for uniform siting will pass this year.

Please believe our intent is in no way to belittle local communities or imply that anyone is “dumb,” as you stated in the article. But when irrational and unfounded fears are propagated and allowed to infest the minds of our local decision-makers, the madness must be stopped. I honestly don’t understand why the WINDCOWS and their allies hate wind power… Money? Aesthetics? I quit trying to rationalize it long ago because it really doesn’t matter.

State Statute 66.0401 outlines local governments’ authority to restrict wind and solar energy systems. Those opposed to a project must prove legitimate health and safety concerns. That’s hard to do, considering no civilian has ever been physically harmed by a wind turbine. Therefore, anecdotal tales of “wind turbine syndrome” run rampant on anti-wind websites, but the “evidence” is nothing more than a conglomeration of exaggerations, misrepresentations, and outright fabrications.

Wisconsin currently has a renewable energy portfolio standard of 10% by 2015, and Governor Doyle is recommending 25% by 2025. The recent extension of the federal production tax credit emphasizes our commitment to make renewable energy systems cost-competitive with the highly subsidized world of traditional electrical generation.

I have lived in northeast Wisconsin my whole life, and I plan to stay and remain politically active. I hope you will reconsider your views on wind power here in our own back yard. The fuel is clean, renewable, abundant, and free. The concept is simple and the technology is readily available. Wind turbines are beautiful! They represent ingenuity, wisdom, forward-thinking, sustainability, and energy independence.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my views. I would be happy to speak with you more on this subject if and when you are interested.

Sincerely,

Jenny Heinzen

USDA Renewable Energy for America Workshop, Feb. 10

From the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, USDA-Rural Development, UW-Extension Offices:

RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR AMERICA WORKSHOP

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Training Opportunities and Topics:
- General overview of the REAP Program
- Changes in the 2008 Farm Bill
- How to apply for a Grant
- Q & A

3 Convenient Ways to Attend:
1. Attend online webinar and teleconference
2. In person at Mid-State Technical College
3. Satellite sites are being hosted at UW- Extension Offices

Onsite Location:
Room L133
Mid-State Technical College
Wisconsin Rapids

Host Locations:
See brochure

Presenters:
Brenda Heinen,USDA Rural Development
Mark Brodziski, USDA Rural Development

Registration:
See brochure

Questions:
Rural Development
4949 Kirschling Court
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715-345-7610

Monday, January 26, 2009

Supervisor supports KRM passenger rail

From a story by Brian Moon on WRN.com:

The Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Passenger train should be built, according to a Milwaukee County official. County Board Member Chris Larson is reacting to a recent study by Tom Rubin of the Reason Foundation which, citing high costs, favors an expanded commuter bus service instead of the regional passenger rail. Larson agrees with Rubin's assertion that the rapid buses could operate along the I-94 corridor without having to add new lanes. However, he claims by Rubin's own admission, lakeside transit would be most efficient with a rail system.

The County Supervisor supports developing the KRM rail while restoring the decaying Milwaukee County bus line. He says the funding could come from a 1% sales tax already been approved by voters in a referendum last November. Larson hopes the tax hike will clear state lawmakers and believes a portion of the tax hike could go toward regional transit.

But Milwaukee County can't pay for it alone. Larson hopes Racine and Kenosha Counties will follow his county's example of a sales tax hike referendum.

Power plant rejection won’t slow RC&D's biomass initiatives

From the newsletter of Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council:

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) has rejected a proposal by Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation, to expand its existing Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville, Wisconsin, to meet the future energy needs of its customers. . . .

While disappointed with the PSC’s decision we remain committed to learning how local resources can help meet our customers growing need for energy. Economic development is closely linked to the availability of energy; locally available renewable energy creates additional benefits that we were only beginning to better understand and quantify. Our understanding of how we can provide for cleaner sources of highly reliable energy is closely linked to the work being done by the Southwest Badger RC&D. I commend the RC&D Council for their support of this important work and am hopeful our relationship can continue into the future.”

The rejection of the Cassville power plant is by no means the end to Southwest Badger’s biomass initiatives, if anything our workload in biomass utilization should increase as the public awareness of biomass energy has soared. The silver lining to the PSC’s decision is that it makes a strong statement that future energy production in Wisconsin will be focused on renewable fuels.

Southwest Badger RC&D will continue to be a leader in biomass production and utilization and we look forward to working with existing and new partners to develop green energy initiatives for southwest Wisconsin.

USDA Renewable Energy for America Workshop, Feb. 10

From the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, USDA-Rural Development, UW-Extension Offices:

RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR AMERICA WORKSHOP

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Training Opportunities and Topics:
- General overview of the REAP Program
- Changes in the 2008 Farm Bill
- How to apply for a Grant
- Q & A

3 Convenient Ways to Attend:
1. Attend online webinar and teleconference
2. In person at Mid-State Technical College
3. Satellite sites are being hosted at UW- Extension Offices

Onsite Location:
Room L133
Mid-State Technical College
Wisconsin Rapids

Host Locations:
Several in western Wisconsin. See brochure for details.

Presenters:
Brenda Heinen,USDA Rural Development
Mark Brodziski, USDA Rural Development

Registration:
See brochure

Questions:
Rural Development
4949 Kirschling Court
Stevens Point, WI 54481
715-345-7610

Wind farm debate cranks up in state Legislature

From a story by Paul Snyder in The Daily Reporter:

A Madison environmental group wants the state, rather than local governments, to oversee wind farm placement after a five-year push for seven turbines in Manitowoc County failed.

“There should be legislation in the next few weeks,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of the nonprofit RENEW Wisconsin. “Our concern is that local control is being abused, and smaller, independent wind farm developers aiming at community-scaled projects will just be deterred from coming here.”

The Manitowoc Board of Adjustment last week rejected the latest request by Hubertus-based Emerging Energies LLP to build the seven-turbine farm, which would send 15 to 20 megawatts of electricity to the town of Mishicot. Orville Bonde, the board’s chairman, declined to comment on the rejection because, he said, Emerging Energies is planning to sue the county.

Representatives from the company could not be reached for comment before deadline Friday.

Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer called the rejection the latest of many disputes over the project between the county and the company.

“They argue that our ordinance is too restrictive,” he said. “We think it’s reasonable and was created in good faith. This isn’t the final say in the matter by any means.”

Manitowoc County’s ordinance, adopted in 2004, calls for a minimum distance of 1,000 feet from a turbine to a property line. It also contains a noise restriction that turbines cannot create sound five decibels more than ambient noise.

“What does that mean?” Vickerman said. “If you fire up a leaf blower, that shoots up the ambient noise level 25 decibels. Do you measure it over crickets? What about a dog barking?”

Vickerman said the rule is an example of the way wind farm ordinances have been abused since the state ruled in 1994 that local governments can approve or deny the projects if they generate less than 100 megawatts.

A bill to create statewide regulation of all wind farm projects, regardless of energy output, failed to make it out of committee in the last session and could be hotly contested if it re-emerges this year.

Vickerman said state Sen. Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, who led the Senate charge for the bill last year, likely will lead it again this year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wisconsin electric providers meeting or exceeding renewable energy standards

From a news release issued by the Public Service Commission:

MADISON – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) today announced that all 118 Wisconsin electric providers have met their renewable portfolio standards for 2007, 111 providers have exceeded the requirements for the year, and most are well on their way to meeting their increased obligations.

One key provision in 2005 Wisconsin Act 141 was an increase in the renewable portfolio standard, requiring Wisconsin retail electric providers to produce 10% of their electricity from renewable resources by the year 2015. For the years leading to 2015, Wisconsin utilities are required to report their progress in meeting the renewable milestones to the PSC. In 2007, Wisconsin utilities generated 114% of the 2007 requirement and as a result have excess renewable energy credits to use in the future.

“Although there are many challenges ahead, this report shows that Wisconsin is staying on a steady course to reaching Governor Doyle’s renewable energy goals,” said Chairperson Eric Callisto. “I commend the state’s electric utilities for their commitment to meeting Act 141 requirements, especially the nine utilities who have already met 2010 standards. I encourage utilities to continue their efforts and look forward to reviewing more proposed renewable projects in the future. . . .”

Currently, Wisconsin utilities generate about four percent of the state’s electricity from renewable resources – just under half of the requirements for the year 2015. In the past year, the PSC has approved several projects which will significantly increase renewable generation in the state, leading Wisconsin down the path of energy independence.

Wisconsin Electric providers meeting or exceeding renewable energy standards

From a news release issued by the Public Service Commission:

MADISON – The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) today announced that all 118 Wisconsin electric providers have met their renewable portfolio standards for 2007, 111 providers have exceeded the requirements for the year, and most are well on their way to meeting their increased obligations.

One key provision in 2005 Wisconsin Act 141 was an increase in the renewable portfolio standard, requiring Wisconsin retail electric providers to produce 10% of their electricity from renewable resources by the year 2015. For the years leading to 2015, Wisconsin utilities are required to report their progress in meeting the renewable milestones to the PSC. In 2007, Wisconsin utilities generated 114% of the 2007 requirement and as a result have excess renewable energy credits to use in the future.

“Although there are many challenges ahead, this report shows that Wisconsin is staying on a steady course to reaching Governor Doyle’s renewable energy goals,” said Chairperson Eric Callisto. “I commend the state’s electric utilities for their commitment to meeting Act 141 requirements, especially the nine utilities who have already met 2010 standards. I encourage utilities to continue their efforts and look forward to reviewing more proposed renewable projects in the future. . . .”

Currently, Wisconsin utilities generate about four percent of the state’s electricity from renewable resources – just under half of the requirements for the year 2015. In the past year, the PSC has approved several projects which will significantly increase renewable generation in the state, leading Wisconsin down the path of energy independence.

Gov. Doyle vows to spend federal rail funds fast

From an article by Ellyn Ferguson in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin could quickly and effectively spend any rail money Congress provides in an economic recovery package, Gov. Jim Doyle said Thursday.

Doyle and others were called by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to rebut a federal report that said states could not use economic recovery money for roads, bridges and transit quickly enough to generate jobs and counter the recession.

States would have to commit money to projects within a 90-day deadline.

Opponents of the infrastructure portion of the $825 billion economic recovery package have used the report by the Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal watchdog for Congress, to fight the bill.

"The purpose of this hearing today is to nail down the ability of the states to meet these deadlines," committee chairman Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said.

Oberstar said transportation and infrastructure projects could produce 1 million jobs by early June if Congress approves the economic recovery package by mid-February.

"We share your view that this recovery act should be designed to get people to work," said Doyle, who testified on behalf of States for Passenger Rail Coalition.

Work begins on renewable energy project at brewery

From an article by Steve Cahalan in the La Crosse Tribune:

Ground was broken Monday for a renewable energy system at City Brewery’s wastewater treatment plant, which will generate heat and electricity by burning methane gas now flared off as waste.

Work began for a building that will house most of the system, which will be owned by Gundersen Lutheran. Part of the system will be outdoors, Gundersen Lutheran spokesman Chris Stauffer said.

The biogas-fueled engine-generator system, expected to begin operating this spring, is a collaboration of Gundersen Lutheran and City Brewery.

It also is part of a Gundersen Lutheran systemwide project to eventually get all of its power from renewable energy sources, and to reduce energy use by 20 percent.

The brewery now burns off methane produced by the anaerobic digester at its wastewater treatment plant.

The new system’s engine will use the methane to generate more than 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is enough to power about 280 average Wisconsin homes, said Corey Zarecki, Gundersen Lutheran efficiency improvement leader.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Sustainable Dunn's Web site recommends the Story of Stuff:

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

WPL (Alliant) may raise rates

From an article by Judy Newman in the Wisconsin State Journal:

If you're a Wisconsin Power & Light customer, you may soon pay more for electricity.

WPL is expected to file an emergency request with state regulators for permission to raise rates. Just last month, the Madison utility company agreed to hold electric rates steady for 2009 and reduce natural-gas rates by $4 million.

The reason: the recession.

WPL is losing millions of dollars in revenues that had been pouring in when business was booming and factories were busy. Now, the General Motors plant in Janesville is down to a few dozen workers and the Domtar paper mill at Port Edwards is closed. Both were among WPL's top 10 power users.

Throughout southern Wisconsin, untold numbers of businesses are paring production and staff. That means less electricity is being used and WPL is collecting less money.

"We are sharing the pain being felt across our service territory," Bill Harvey, chairman and chief executive of WPL's parent company, Alliant Energy, told a conference call with analysts in December.

WPL won't say how much electricity GM and Domtar had been using but said that together, the price they paid for power amounted to 1 percent of the utility's revenues.

Harvey projected WPL's sales this year will be 6.4 percent, or $30 million, lower than those anticipated in the recent rate settlement, which was based on 2007 figures. "Because of this significant downward shift in forecasts, we will likely file an emergency rate case," he told analysts. . . .

Madison Gas & Electric and Milwaukee-based We Energies said they have no plans to seek a rate boost based on recession-impaired revenues. But both of those utilities have discussed the possibility of seeking increases to help meet pension costs.

WPL (Alliant) may raise rates

From an article by Judy Newman in the Wisconsin State Journal:

If you're a Wisconsin Power & Light customer, you may soon pay more for electricity.

WPL is expected to file an emergency request with state regulators for permission to raise rates. Just last month, the Madison utility company agreed to hold electric rates steady for 2009 and reduce natural-gas rates by $4 million.

The reason: the recession.

WPL is losing millions of dollars in revenues that had been pouring in when business was booming and factories were busy. Now, the General Motors plant in Janesville is down to a few dozen workers and the Domtar paper mill at Port Edwards is closed. Both were among WPL's top 10 power users.

Throughout southern Wisconsin, untold numbers of businesses are paring production and staff. That means less electricity is being used and WPL is collecting less money.

"We are sharing the pain being felt across our service territory," Bill Harvey, chairman and chief executive of WPL's parent company, Alliant Energy, told a conference call with analysts in December.

WPL won't say how much electricity GM and Domtar had been using but said that together, the price they paid for power amounted to 1 percent of the utility's revenues.

Harvey projected WPL's sales this year will be 6.4 percent, or $30 million, lower than those anticipated in the recent rate settlement, which was based on 2007 figures. "Because of this significant downward shift in forecasts, we will likely file an emergency rate case," he told analysts. . . .

Madison Gas & Electric and Milwaukee-based We Energies said they have no plans to seek a rate boost based on recession-impaired revenues. But both of those utilities have discussed the possibility of seeking increases to help meet pension costs.

Manitowoc County Says “No Can Do” to Windpower

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2009

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org


Manitowoc County Says “No Can Do” to Windpower Project

The Manitowoc County Board of Adjustment rejected earlier this week a developer’s request for approval to build a seven-turbine wind project west of Two Rivers. The decision marks the latest setback in the project developer’s four-year-long quest to erect a community-scale wind project in the Town of Mishicot.

By contrast, the project developer, Emerging Energies LLP, recently secured a permit to erect eight turbines in the Town of Glenmore in Brown County, about 15 miles from Mishicot.

Under development since 2004, the Mishicot Wind Farm is strongly supported by Wisconsin-based environmental and clean energy groups, including RENEW Wisconsin.

“The Board’s rejection of the Mishicot Wind Farm is certain to send a chill through every Wisconsin developer seeking to construct a community-scale wind project here,” said RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman,

Blessed with some of the state’s strongest winds, Manitowoc County adopted a wind ordinance in 2004. Emerging Energies first proposed the Mishicot project in 2005. Progress since that time has been slowed by a countywide moratorium on wind development and the subsequent adoption of one of the most restrictive wind ordinances in Wisconsin.

Among these features is a minimum setback requirement of 1,000 feet from a turbine to a property line. In contrast, Emerging Energies’ permit in the Town of Glenmore specifies a setback of 1.1 times the total turbine height from property lines and public rights-of-way. The total height of a commercial wind turbine--tower plus vertically extended blade--ranges between 350 and 450 feet.

“Suffice it to say that if every jurisdiction adopted Manitowoc County’s setback standards, there would not be a single commercial wind project operating in Wisconsin right now,” Vickerman said.

As part of its application, Emerging Energies offered to provide an annual payment of $77,000 to be allocated equally among the county, the town, and neighboring residences living up to ½ mile away from a turbine. Over a 30-year operating life, the developer’s offer would pump $2.31 million directly into the local economy.

“The irony here is that Manitowoc County has prospered more from wind energy’s rapid expansion in recent years than any other county in Wisconsin,” Vickerman said. “The project site is 15 miles away from a turbine tower fabricating plant (Tower Tech) and a company that manufactures specialty cranes for wind farm construction (Manitowoc Crane Group).

“As a result of the global recession, wind component manufacturers are seeing a slowdown in orders. It is not unreasonable to believe that both Manitowoc companies could use the work,” Vickerman added.

Under Wisconsin’s renewable energy law, 10% of Wisconsin’s electricity must be generated by qualifying energy sources by 2015. RENEW estimates that windpower will contribute more than 75% of that electricity. In the past 12 months alone, 251 utility-scale turbines were installed across Wisconsin totaling 396 megawatts, expanding wind generating capacity by a factor of eight.

Yet a half-dozen projects totaling 600 megawatts of planned wind capacity in Wisconsin, from Grant County in the southwest to Kewaunee County in the northeast, have run into roadblocks, mostly from restrictive ordinances designed to thwart development.

“What happened in Manitowoc County is not an isolated phenomenon,” Vickerman said. “However, the county’s decision to reject the Mishicot project is at odds with state energy policy, which not only favors renewable energy development but also prohibits local jurisdictions from saying no to wind projects except to protect public health and safety.

“If we are serious about preventing local governments from arbitrarily exercising veto power over responsibly designed wind projects, then we have to change the law. Nothing else has worked so far.” Vickerman added.

--END--


RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance a sustainable energy future through public policy and private sector initiatives. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

Milwaukee businesses join group to back proposals on climate change

From a media release issued by CREWE:
(MADISON, Wis.) – Leading Wisconsin companies are joining forces to advocate for the meaningful global warming policy changes proposed by the Governor’s Global Warming Task Force (GWTF).

The business coalition named Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy (CREWE) looks forward to working with other members of the GWTF, the Doyle Administration and other companies and organizations to push for the adoption of policies that effectively and responsibly address global warming and capture the economic development and environmental opportunities in Wisconsin, said CREWE Board Chairman Dan Ebert.

“Wisconsin is poised for a transition to a sound economy powered by good, new, green jobs,” Ebert said. “CREWE was formed around the belief that a sustained and shared partnership of government, business and citizens is needed to build a clean energy and reliable future that will benefit all Wisconsin residents and businesses.”

Coalition members include Wisconsin Energy Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Orion Energy Systems, American Transmission Co., Johnson Controls, MillerCoors, WPPI Energy, Potawatomi Tribe and C5-6 Technologies.

CREWE is dedicated to joining forces with other supporters to promote responsible policies that address climate change, create jobs, promote energy efficiency, reliability and independence, and mitigate the economic impacts of rising energy costs, Ebert added.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Building Our Local Food Economy: Nourishing Northern Wisconsin Conference, Jan. 31, Spooner

The brochure for the conference says:

A regional conference aimed at bringing local farmers, community leaders, businesses and institutions together to explore the increasing demand for local and organic food and the opportunity for Sustainable Community Development in Northern Wisconsin.

Study set on potential impact of wind projects on birds and bats along Mississippi

A media release issued by Natural Resources Consulting, Inc.:

NRC was awarded a grant to evaluate the potential impacts of wind energy development on migrating birds and bats in the Upper Mississippi River Valley. NRC will lead stakeholders from the wind energy industry, natural resource agencies, conservation groups, and research community in a series of workshops to consider migratory patterns and standardized methods to evaluate the potential impacts of wind energy facilities on migrating birds and bats.

The Upper Mississippi River Valley is recognized as a globally important bird migration corridor. Increasing interest in locating wind energy facilities along the Mississippi River corridor has created a need for objective and cost-effective methods to evaluate and mitigate potential impacts on migrating birds and bats. The workshops will bring together a diverse stakeholder group to identify research needs and objectives, build consensus on appropriate study design and methods, and expedite the process for the mutual benefit of resource agencies and wind developers.

“We are excited about this opportunity to discuss and reach a consensus on how to best evaluate migration behaviors in this part of Wisconsin” said Dave Siebert, Director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Office of Energy.

Louise Clemency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), added, “The Service commends NRC’s proactive approach in addressing potential impacts to birds and bats from wind energy development within the Upper Mississippi River Valley.”

Funding for this project is made possible by a grant from the Focus on Energy “Environmental and Economic Research Program” (EERP), which supports the understanding of environmental and economic impacts of energy use.


Perhaps the results will be relevant to all wind projects in the Midwest.

Oconomowoc backs high-speed rail proposal

An article by By Scott Williams of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Elected leaders here have thrown their support behind a proposed network of high-speed commuter trains linking Milwaukee and Madison.

The Oconomowoc Common Council voted Tuesday to support the Midwest Regional Rail System, which would pass through Oconomowoc.

Gov. Jim Doyle and other proponents of the system envision it as part of a 3,000-mile network linking Milwaukee and Chicago to many other Midwestern cities.

The mayor of Winona, Minn., has been soliciting support from communities along the route between the Twin Cities and Chicago.

In addition to Oconomowoc, those communities include Milwaukee, Watertown and Wisconsin Dells.

Wausau Paper gets $343,274 for energy saving initiatives

From a media release issued by Focus on Energy:

Madison, Wis. (January 20, 2009) — Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, awarded Wausau Paper Corporation $343,274 in 2008 to launch energy saving efforts at its Wisconsin mills.

The cash incentives were used at the Brokaw, Mosinee and Rhinelander locations and will help save more than 3,683,717 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 973,313 therms of natural gas annually – saving enough energy to power 1,370 homes for a year. Wausau Paper will also benefit from a $1,097,000 savings on its utility bills each year.

“We have a measurable reduction in energy use,” said Tim Hasbargen, manager of engineering and utilities at Wausau Paper’s Rhinelander mill. “Our meters tell us that every month.”

A large portion of the funding was used to investigate new technologies and find ways to save energy throughout the company. For example, the Rhinelander mill downsized a pump and motor, then controlled the motor with a variable speed drive. Replacing oversized equipment is an effective way to save energy and money.

“Wausau Paper and Focus on Energy have a long history of working together,” said Ken Williams, director for Focus on Energy’s Business Programs. “The company is committed to saving energy any way it can, as fast as it can. It is one of the outstanding leaders in the paper industry.”

With the help of Focus on Energy, the paper manufacturer is researching additional ways to save energy and improve its bottom line. It has completed a number of feasibility studies on air ventilation, tank agitators, compressed air, dryer improvements, heat recovery, vacuum and hydro improvements to determine which measures would deliver the best return on investment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Study set on potential impact of wind projects on birds and bats along Mississippi

A media release issued by Natural Resources Consulting, Inc.:

NRC was awarded a grant to evaluate the potential impacts of wind energy development on migrating birds and bats in the Upper Mississippi River Valley. NRC will lead stakeholders from the wind energy industry, natural resource agencies, conservation groups, and research community in a series of workshops to consider migratory patterns and standardized methods to evaluate the potential impacts of wind energy facilities on migrating birds and bats.

The Upper Mississippi River Valley is recognized as a globally important bird migration corridor. Increasing interest in locating wind energy facilities along the Mississippi River corridor has created a need for objective and cost-effective methods to evaluate and mitigate potential impacts on migrating birds and bats. The workshops will bring together a diverse stakeholder group to identify research needs and objectives, build consensus on appropriate study design and methods, and expedite the process for the mutual benefit of resource agencies and wind developers.

“We are excited about this opportunity to discuss and reach a consensus on how to best evaluate migration behaviors in this part of Wisconsin” said Dave Siebert, Director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Office of Energy.

Louise Clemency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), added, “The Service commends NRC’s proactive approach in addressing potential impacts to birds and bats from wind energy development within the Upper Mississippi River Valley.”

Funding for this project is made possible by a grant from the Focus on Energy “Environmental and Economic Research Program” (EERP), which supports the understanding of environmental and economic impacts of energy use.


Perhaps the results will be relevant to all wind projects in the Midwest.

Business groups cites Trempealeau County to show need for wind siting reform

From a newsletter article by R. J. Pirot, Director, Legislative Relations, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC):

By 2015, state law requires ten percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable resources. WMC is already doing its part to meet that goal. Through Madison Gas and Electric, WMC voluntarily buys half of its electricity from wind generation power plants.

Unfortunately, some local communities are starting to virtually ban development of small wind farms, stymieing Wisconsin from meeting its renewable energy goals. WMC is already working with the Wisconsin Legislature on setting fair and uniform standards to encourage wind farm development, helping Wisconsin meet its renewable energy law.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has authority over all power plant proposals in excess of 100 megawatts, including wind energy power plants. Local units of government have permitting authority over all power plants under 100 megawatts, including wind energy power plants. Some local units of government have imposed expensive, time-consuming and scientifically-unjustified restrictions on the development of wind energy power plants.

For example, a new Trempealeau County ordinance forbids building a wind turbine within one mile of a habitable building, effectively banning building small wind farms in the county. Other communities have taken similar action and, as a result, investment in and installation of approximately 400 megawatts of wind energy power plants are stalled in Wisconsin.

Rather than allowing a patchwork of varying local regulations, the Wisconsin Legislature should take swift action to have fair and uniform standards for wind turbines set throughout Wisconsin. Wind speeds in Wisconsin are high enough to support development of additional wind turbine farms and wind is a cost effective way to meet the state’s ten percent renewable energy law. While solar, biomass, biogas and hydroelectricity, too, will help meet this ten percent renewable energy requirement, wind power is projected to account for 95 percent of Wisconsin’s renewable energy production.

Oconomowoc backs Doyle energy plan

A news brief from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Oconomowoc - Oconomowoc has become the latest community in southeastern Wisconsin to adopt Gov. Jim Doyle's commitment for increased energy independence by 2025.

Aldermen passed a resolution Jan. 6 embracing Doyle's "25 by 25" plan, which means that 25% of the city's electricity and motor fuel supplies will come from renewable resources by the year 2025.

Oconomowoc city officials and civic leaders have created a special task force to promote greater use of wind energy, solar energy and other alternative resources.

The governor's office said 73 cities and counties have embraced the 25 by 25 commitment. Other than Oconomowoc, the only one in southeastern Wisconsin is Kenosha County.

Residents start group to push for energy independence

From an article by Nick Halter in the Wausau Daily Herald:

Mike Ritzel's vision of central Wisconsin is one that involves the Wausau area attracting a large manufacturer of solar power systems that creates jobs and sells its products all over the Midwest.

Ritzel's passion for alternative energy propelled him to start a local chapter of the Pickens Plan, a national organization that was founded in July and aims to gain U.S. independence from foreign oil.

The Pickens Plan was founded by Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens and advocates for increased use of wind, natural gas and other forms of alternative energy.

Through the local chapter, Ritzel, a master electrician who also owns Bullshooters Saloon in Weston, hopes to get legislators to offer tax incentives for alternative energy companies to make central Wisconsin their home.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Western Wisconsin Initiative for Sustainable Communities

From the home page of the Western Wisconsin Initiative for Sustainable Communities:

There have been a myriad of TNS [The Natural Step] study circles (approximately 15 to date) in the St. Croix River Valley, from River Falls to Hudson, Spring Valley, Amery, Osceola, St. Croix Falls, and beyond. We now have a TNS study circle umbrella and advocacy group emerging in the form of the Western Wisconsin Initiative for Sustainable Communities (WWISC) that has been developing in partnership with the SCISCD.

In mid-November 2008, the WWISC leadership group (Rainbow Barry, Stew Erickson, Peter Henry, Timm Johnson, John Kalmon, Tracey Mofle, Cader Olive, Jeff Peterson, and Rob Peterson, Chair) developed a mission of "Facilitating regional adoption of the TNS framework for sustainable communities through the exchange of information and the sharing of resources."


The WWISC site includes a link to a summary table of western Wisconsin organizations and their activities.

Start seeds for spring gardening!Workshop, Jan. 29

The connection between gardening and energy might seem weak at first glance, but growing your own food can cut the energy needed for food production and transportation, especially if the food comes from far away.

From a news brief in the Onalaska-Holmen Life-Courier:

Get Sustainable Trempealeau County will present “Starting From Seed: Everything You Need to Know to Begin Your Spring Garden Now” on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Trempealeau Village Hall, 24455 Third St.

“Starting From Seed” is the first Talking Sustainability Forum of 2009, with several more to come. The program will feature area gardener Mary Graziano, who will demonstrate simple ways to start this year’s vegetables and other plants indoors.

The workshop will cover everything people need to know for starting their own garden seeds including:

+ Equipment and lighting;
+ Correct soil conditions;
+ Temperature;
+ Types of seeds (including heirloom varieties);
+ Caring for seedlings;
+ Other resources for finding seeds and equipment.

Graziano has been gardening for more than 30 years and has been starting her own plants for 15. She has a solar-heated, all-season greenhouse where she starts plants for her garden and to sell locally.

In the past five years, Graziano has begun growing heirloom varieties and also has grown native prairie plants and grasses.

We Energies & MREA team up with solar installers for Habitat for Humanity

From an article on the Web site of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council:

How do you build a local renewable energy workforce and new homes at the same time?

Recognizing a need for more NABCEP certified installers in its service territory, We Energies and other partners teamed up with the Habitat for Humanity (H4H) chapter in Milwaukee to develop a solar training program that would benefit the local industry as well as the H4H chapter and its members.

"It was a natural confluence of events," said Carl Siegrist, Solar Programs Manager. "Last year, I had a number of calls from the local H4H chapter saying they wanted to solarize some of their houses. Around the same time, I'd been talking with our local IBEW and NECA about training opportunities for solar here in Wisconsin. Somewhere between those two conversations, we talked internally about the lack of NABCEP certified solar installers here in the Milwaukee area and in our We Energies service territory. We've got lots of solar work going on here in Milwaukee, but the installers come from Madison or central Wisconsin (where MREA is located). It seemed to us that if there were local installers, maybe the prices would be a bit less because the installers wouldn't be coming from other places in Wisconsin, and we'd be building our own local workforce."

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), long-known for its renewable energy training opportunities, used newly-constructed homes which H4H provided as training roofs for individuals who had prior training, but needed to be the lead on a solar installation in order to qualify for state incentives and to sit for the NABCEP exam.

"We had one of those 'aha' moments," said Siegrist, "when we saw We Energies, NABCEP and IBEW playing together to meet multiple goals: education, training, certification, building our workforce. It was an especially good outcome for NABCEP."

Lunchtime workshp: Green Business—Are You Ready?, Rothchild, Jan. 21

Presented by the Energy Center of Wisconsin
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Lodge at Cedar Creek
805 Creske Avenue
Rothschild, WI 54474
715.241.6300

Agenda
11:30 am—Registration & Lunch
12:00 noon—Presentation
1:00 pm—Question & Answer
1:30 pm—Adjourn

Media coverage around energy and environmental issues exploded over the past year. Sustainability considerations factor into more business decisions as companies green their supply chains and roll out new, eco-friendly products. Major policy initiatives at the federal and state level in Wisconsin will help push what has been called "the green industrial revolution." What does all this mean for economic development here in Wisconsin? What opportunities should you be considering in your business planning? What are the benefits of greener choices at work and at home? Join us for a lively look at top trends in sustainable business-and discuss cost savings, brand enhancement and the policy climate to help you position your company for new opportunity.

Register here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Workshop: Sustainable Bioenergy & Local Climate Change, Jan. 30

From an announcement issued by the Wisconsin Farmers Union:
(January 16, 2009) - Grain and livestock farmers, agriculture professionals, government offices, policy makers, educators and bioenergy enthusiasts are invited to attend the Sustainable Bioenergy and Local Climate Change Solutions workshop at UW-River Falls Dairy Learning Center Classroom on January 30, 2009, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

The seminar is hosted by Wisconsin Farmers Union, Great Lakes Ag Energy, the Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technology (CERET), and UW-River Falls. Experts and leaders in the bioenergy field will present information on how to make and use biofuels in today's changing global climate.

Featured presenters include: Sue Beitlich, WFU president, Jamie Derr of Kombi-Crush, LLC; Maria Redmond, biofuels specialist with the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence; Dr. Ken Walz, chemistry instructor at Madison Area Technical College; Mike Clark past president of Prairiefire Biofuels Cooperative and current secretary of the Wisconsin Biodiesel Association; Robert Brylski, renewable energy instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College; and Mark Toddy of Pepin Biotech, LLC.
More details in the workshop brochure.

Wausau H.S. gets $400,000 for turbine project

From an article in the Wausau Daily Herald:

Members of the Wausau School Board on Monday approved a $400,000 donation for the Wausau East High School wind turbine project.

Members voted 5-0 in favor of accepting the donation, which came from the Walter Alexander Foundation. It will cover most of the estimated $575,000 in project costs.

District officials plan to install two wind turbines on the southeast corner of the Wausau East campus.

The turbines will stand more than 150 feet high and could be operational by next summer, East science teacher Lauren Ebbecke said.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wind in the lake needs transmission lines

From an article by Sean Ryan in The Daily Reporter:
There are not enough power lines to support wind farms in Lake Michigan.

That lack of transmission lines to carry power from offshore wind farms was one issue within the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Wind on the Water report released Thursday. According to the report, if Wisconsin wants to generate more than 600 megawatts from a lake wind farm, the state will need a new power line parallel to Lake Michigan’s shore.

The ability to connect to transmission lines is the No. 1 factor determining where wind farms are built, and Wisconsin could make Lake Michigan more attractive to developers if there is a new power line with capacity for offshore farms, said Mike Donahue, executive vice president of Midwest Wind Energy in Chicago. For land-based wind farms, developers must choose a location and ask transmission companies if the existing power lines can handle the extra electricity generated by the turbines.

“Your transportation infrastructure has become the critical location factor for projects,” he said, “whether they’re land or offshore.”

Osceloa village and schools among governments and groups getting energy grants

From a media release issued by Governor Doyle:

MADISON - Governor Doyle announced today a major investment in Wisconsin communities working toward energy independence and a clean energy future. To assist local efforts, Governor Doyle awarded over $400,000 in grants to 23 community groups working to create a “25x25” Plan to meet the Governor’s goal of generating 25 percent of the state’s electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by the year 2025.

“Wisconsin Energy Independent Communities are critical leaders in the state’s efforts to clean our air and water, create jobs, and save money for our communities,” Governor Doyle said. “I am confident that this investment will help create a clean energy roadmap that will boost energy efficiency, expand renewable energy use, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and save taxpayers money.”

The Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership is the first of its kind in the nation and is an integral part of Governor Doyle’s ambitious goal for the state to become the nation’s leader in the drive toward energy independence. The partnership includes counties, cities, villages, towns, tribes, and schools in the state that have committed to Governor Doyle’s “25x25” challenge. Currently, there are over 70 communities committed to Governor Doyle’s challenge, with over 250 more communities interested in participating.

The 2009 Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership pilot communities are: Brown County, Oneida Tribe, City of Washburn, City of Ashland, City of Bayfield, Town of La Pointe, Town of Bayfield, Ashland County, Bayfield County, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Village of Osceola, Osceola School District, City of Marshfield, City of Columbus, City of Evansville, City of Platteville, City of Lancaster, the City of Oconomowoc, Town of Fairfield, Village of Spring Green, Town of Spring Green, and the River Valley School District.


More from an article by Kyle Weaver in the Country Messenger (Scandia, MN):

“I think it’s recognition of where we’ve been and where we’re going with the school,” said Osceola School Board President Timm Johnson during a short interview. “It just puts us in a really good position to address our energy use.”

Johnson said the grant should allow both the Village and the school system access to professional services to audit their energy consumption in publicly-owned buildings as well as opportunities to explore new programs, such as encouraging production and consumption of more locally grown foods.

Lancaster, Platteville among governments and groups getting energy grants

From a media release issued by Governor Doyle:

MADISON - Governor Doyle announced today a major investment in Wisconsin communities working toward energy independence and a clean energy future. To assist local efforts, Governor Doyle awarded over $400,000 in grants to 23 community groups working to create a “25x25” Plan to meet the Governor’s goal of generating 25 percent of the state’s electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by the year 2025.

“Wisconsin Energy Independent Communities are critical leaders in the state’s efforts to clean our air and water, create jobs, and save money for our communities,” Governor Doyle said. “I am confident that this investment will help create a clean energy roadmap that will boost energy efficiency, expand renewable energy use, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and save taxpayers money.”

The Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership is the first of its kind in the nation and is an integral part of Governor Doyle’s ambitious goal for the state to become the nation’s leader in the drive toward energy independence. The partnership includes counties, cities, villages, towns, tribes, and schools in the state that have committed to Governor Doyle’s “25x25” challenge. Currently, there are over 70 communities committed to Governor Doyle’s challenge, with over 250 more communities interested in participating.

The 2009 Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership pilot communities are: Brown County, Oneida Tribe, City of Washburn, City of Ashland, City of Bayfield, Town of La Pointe, Town of Bayfield, Ashland County, Bayfield County, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Village of Osceola, Osceola School District, City of Marshfield, City of Columbus, City of Evansville, City of Platteville, City of Lancaster, the City of Oconomowoc, Town of Fairfield, Village of Spring Green, Town of Spring Green, and the River Valley School District.

Marshfield among governments and groups getting energy independence grants

From a media release issued by Governor Doyle:

MADISON - Governor Doyle announced today a major investment in Wisconsin communities working toward energy independence and a clean energy future. To assist local efforts, Governor Doyle awarded over $400,000 in grants to 23 community groups working to create a “25x25” Plan to meet the Governor’s goal of generating 25 percent of the state’s electricity and transportation fuels from renewable resources by the year 2025.

“Wisconsin Energy Independent Communities are critical leaders in the state’s efforts to clean our air and water, create jobs, and save money for our communities,” Governor Doyle said. “I am confident that this investment will help create a clean energy roadmap that will boost energy efficiency, expand renewable energy use, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and save taxpayers money.”

The Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership is the first of its kind in the nation and is an integral part of Governor Doyle’s ambitious goal for the state to become the nation’s leader in the drive toward energy independence. The partnership includes counties, cities, villages, towns, tribes, and schools in the state that have committed to Governor Doyle’s “25x25” challenge. Currently, there are over 70 communities committed to Governor Doyle’s challenge, with over 250 more communities interested in participating.

The 2009 Wisconsin Energy Independent Community Partnership pilot communities are: Brown County, Oneida Tribe, City of Washburn, City of Ashland, City of Bayfield, Town of La Pointe, Town of Bayfield, Ashland County, Bayfield County, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Village of Osceola, Osceola School District, City of Marshfield, City of Columbus, City of Evansville, City of Platteville, City of Lancaster, the City of Oconomowoc, Town of Fairfield, Village of Spring Green, Town of Spring Green, and the River Valley School District.

State wants pilot porgram in Milwaukee to train weatherization workers

From an article by Sean Ryan in The Daily Reporter:

The state funnels $65 million in public money every year into making homes more energy efficient, but contractors warn they are running low on workers to do the job.

Compared to more traditional construction trades, replacing windows, hauling refrigerators and crawling through attics and basements to install insulation isn’t sexy, said Sheree Dallas Branch, administrator of the Division of Energy Services in the Wisconsin Department of Administration. But for years, the state found workers to weatherize thousands of houses, and the push for greater energy efficiency will only expand the need, she said.

The state hires 21 companies to oversee the weatherization program in different areas of Wisconsin, and for the past year those companies have said they are running short on workers, she said.

“One of the themes that was consistent was an aging work force,” Dallas Branch said. “Weatherization is a very technical field, but a lot of people don’t know about it.”

The point of the program is to conserve energy by fixing up old houses. Using money collected from the U.S. Department of Energy and public electric utilities in Wisconsin, the state weatherized 9,900 homes in 2008, Dallas Branch said. Wisconsin budgeted $65 million for the job in 2009 and plans to fix up 7,900 houses. There are fewer this year because the state is focusing on the worst houses that need the most work, she said.

To meet the need for more workers, the state is looking for a company to recruit up to 25 Milwaukee residents a year, help them get basic job skills and get them on-the-job training on state weatherization projects. Proposals are due Jan. 21.

Dallas Branch said the two-year contract in Milwaukee will serve as a pilot program the Division of Energy Services wants to replicate throughout the state.
Read the procurement announcement here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

UWSP turns toward turbine

From an article by Nick Paulson in the Steven Point Journal:

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is taking the first step in a plan to place a wind turbine on its radio tower.

Last week, the Student Government Association received the go-ahead from administrators to conduct a wind assessment.

The tower, located west of Stevens Point on County Highway PP, is owned by the university and used by WWSP 90FM, the student-run radio station. With the height, it's a prime location.

"I think what is driving this is the location; it is the second-highest point in Portage County," said John Gosz, 90FM's faculty adviser.

Now with administrative approval, SGA President Katie Kloth will complete the application for the assessment, then request the $600 it will cost through the SGA Finance Committee.

All money coming from the Sustainability Reserve must be approved by the Finance Committee.

Kloth and Gosz say they aren't sure the turbine will be feasible, but they need to know whether there is enough wind to make continued investigation worthwhile.

"We might as well look," Kloth said.

Energy incentives help Ball Corporation plants in Milwaukee, Watertown, & DeForest

From a media release issued by Focus on Energy:

MADISON, Wis. (January 14, 2009) - With the help of Focus on Energy, Wisconsin's energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, Ball Corporation has completed a number of energy saving improvements and upgrades at its Wisconsin plants in Milwaukee, DeForest and Watertown.

The changes made in Ball's three plants are expected to provide $560,636 in savings annually due to reduced energy consumption. Ball received $431,181 in cash incentives through Focus on Energy in 2008 to boost its efforts toward becoming more energy efficient.

"Ball Corporation has made a huge investment in its Wisconsin facilities," said Ken Williams, Focus on Energy's business programs director. "By making energy management a priority in its business plan, Ball Corporation will reduce its energy use, experience cost savings and benefit the environment for years to come."

"These projects were part of our ongoing sustainability program," explained Doug Barndt, principle energy-demand engineer for Ball. "Focus on Energy was very straightforward and easy to work with, and the incentives they provided were an important catalyst in making lasting, meaningful changes in our Wisconsin operations."

The Milwaukee facility, which manufactures two-piece beverage and food cans, received the majority of incentive funds for projects that will reduce energy consumption by 2,523,540 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 470,875 therms of natural gas annually - enough energy to power 738 homes for a year.

The biggest energy saver was an innovative heat recovery system that captures waste heat from its regenerative thermal oxidizer and uses it to supply preheated water to the boiler of its heating system. The plant also installed new energy management controls for its HVAC system and replaced nearly 600 light fixtures with high efficiency models.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wood replaces natural gas for flooring company

From a media release issued by Focus on Energy:

MERCER, Wis. (Jan. 6, 2009) - With the help of Focus on Energy, Action Floor Systems, LLC, a manufacturer and worldwide distributor of sport facility wood floors, recently installed a wood-fired boiler system at the company's headquarters in Mercer, Wis. The boiler system, which was completed in November 2008, eliminates the need for natural gas in the company's manufacturing process and also meets the space heating needs of the facility.

"The installation of the system made sense for our company, as it replaced an outdated system that was becoming increasingly inefficient and required a lot of maintenance," said Karl Anderson, plant manager for Action Floor Systems. "More importantly it helped us comply with environmental codes, and will save the company a significant amount of money in operating cost down the road."

The completion of the wood-fired boiler system is due in part to technical assistance and a $200,000 Implementation Grant from Focus on Energy, Wisconsin's energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative. The project represents a total investment of $1,055,000, and has a projected payback period of about three and a half years when compared to the alternative of using natural gas to meet facility needs. The wood-fired boiler system will offset 658,300 therms of natural gas, enough energy to heat nearly 700 homes.

According to Anderson, the new wood-fired boiler system is used to produce steam for the wood-drying kilns and the buildings' heating systems. Residual waste wood left from their manufacturing process is used to power the system. Previously the company was using two boiler systems. One was a natural gas-fired system and the other a 50-year-old wood-fired boiler. Due to limited steam generating capabilities and breakdowns of the wood-fired system, operation of the gas-fired boiler was routinely required to satisfy a portion or all of the steam demand. Because of obvious inefficiencies of the previous system, Action Floor Systems decided a new wood-fired boiler that satisfied the entire facility's steam demand was a smart investment.

New Lisbon utility customers can get energy programs

From a media release issued by Focus on Energy:

MADISON, Wis. (January 6, 2009) - Focus on Energy, Wisconsin's energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, announced today that New Lisbon Municipal Light and Water officially became a program member beginning January 1, 2009. The utility serves approximately 850 customers in Juneau County.

"I welcome New Lisbon Municipal Light and Water into Focus on Energy and am delighted its customers will be able to benefit from the services the program offers," said Eric Callisto, Chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the agency that manages the state's Focus on Energy Program. "New Lisbon Municipal Light and Water's decision to participate in Focus on Energy will result in a healthier environment for Wisconsin and will provide options for its customers to make sound energy decisions."

New Lisbon Municipal Light and Water will participate in the Business, Residential and Renewable Energy offerings under the Focus on Energy umbrella. The benefits of participating include:

Business Programs that help manufacturers, commercial businesses, farmers, schools and local governments reduce operating costs, increase their bottom line and improve productivity and employee and customer comfort. The programs offer technical expertise, training and financial incentives to help implement innovative energy management projects.

Wisconsin ENERGY STAR Homes, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR and Apartment & Condo Efficiency Services Programs that encompass new and existing homes, multi-family construction and remodeling projects for all types of residential dwellings. These programs help homeowners and landlords integrate energy improvements into their remodeling projects, as well as deliver newly-built homes, apartments and condominiums that are comfortable, safe, durable and energy efficient.

Lighting and appliance programs that increase the availability of ENERGY STAR qualified products ranging from compact fluorescent light bulbs to heating and cooling equipment. These efforts deliver lower energy bills for residents and businesses and increased sales for retailers and contractors.

Renewable Energy Programs that help residents and businesses harness energy from sunlight, wind and organic materials.

Targeted Home Performance that reduces energy bills while increasing comfort and safety for income-qualified participants.

Port of Milwuakee will get biodiesel terminal

From an article by Rick Barrett in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The old Shell Oil terminal at the Port of Milwaukee has been sold to a New York-based biodiesel company that plans to use the terminal for distributing biodiesel and other renewable fuels in the Midwest.

The terminal, built in the 1950s, includes a 20,000 square foot warehouse, offices and a garage. It also has access to railroad service and an idled connection to a petroleum pipeline.

Leverage will move The Natural Step ahead

From a letter to the editor by Marty Anderson in the Marshfield News Herald:

In my capacity as chairman of the Sustainable Marshfield Committee, I've had the opportunity to present throughout central Wisconsin about sustainability principles. In each presentation, I begin by defining what sustainability is, because the word is often overused and not well defined when it is used.

Put simply, sustainability is defined as living and working in ways that do not jeopardize our current and future social, environmental and economic resources. In other words, we can't take away from the ability of future generations to have a standard of living similar or better than our own conditions today.

In February 2007, the city of Marshfield approved a resolution to become one of the first sustainable communities in the state. In doing so, we also adopted the sustainability framework called The Natural Step, originally founded in Sweden by Dr. Karl Henrik Robèrt in 1989. The Natural Step is made up of four basic principles:

• Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels and extracted underground metals and minerals.

• Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in nature.

• Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems.

• Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently.

These principles are purposely general in their scope. Dr. Robèrt was trying to create a vision for a sustainable definition that everyone can agree with and support. In addition, it gives those working on implementing sustainability a litmus test to determine if what they are doing is moving their community towards sustainability.


Anderson, a former alderman and the current chairman of the Sustainable Marshfield Committee, be reached by e-mail at mande047@solarus.net.