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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Moving away from coal as primary source of energy

From a story on WXOW-TV:

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) Dairyland Power serves a half a million households in their system.

Currently, more than 90 percent of their energy is produced from coal.

However, officials say Dairyland wants to have 25 percent of their power be produced by sustainable renewables, like wind and solar, by 2025.

Dairyland isn't the only one looking at making a transition away from coal.

Today, Secretary of State Building Commission David Helbach spoke at UW-L about how Wisconsin is trying to covert its state institutions from coal consumers.

There are 16 heating state plants that heat and cool institutions using some amount of coal.

These heating plants can be found at variety of places from government buildings to college campuses, including UW-La Crosse.

Secretary of State Building Commission David Helbach says, "Coal has about twice the pollutants as natural gas so just by changing the fuel you reduce your emissions by half."

The state wants to transition the biggest users of coal first, which are not university's like UW-L.

That means the university will be put on the back burner.

Helbach, "We'd like to do some of the other plants first so this plant may not be until the first round, maybe on the second or third round"

Since Dairlyand's transition can't happen over night either, it is taking steps to make coal burning more environmentally friendly, like recycling by it byproducts and installing a scrubber system and bag house to make air safer.

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