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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

20 MW solar energy farm proposed in Jefferson

From an article by Ryan Whisner in the Jefferson Daily Union:

JEFFERSON - A proposal to build the second-largest solar-generation farm in the United States was presented to City of Jefferson officials Wednesday night.

Green States Energy Inc. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., unveiled plans to build a solar energy farm on 100 acres of the city's north industrial park that would generate approximately 20 megawatts of electricity.

Jefferson Sun One would have approximately 100,000 individual solar panel modules on the 100-acre parcel. The site - just north of the former Brigg & Stratton plant - would generate approximately 3.5 million kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to generating sufficient electricity for about 3,500 homes. An interconnectivity agreement with Jefferson Utilities and WPPI is intended.

"This is a big deal if it can be brought to fruition and can be built," said David Jenkins of the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence.

Currently, he noted, Wisconsin has approximately 6.5 megawatts of installed solar capacity. Only two cities in the state are labeled by the U.S. Department of Energy as solar cities.

"Overnight, if this project were built, the City of Jefferson would have three times as much solar energy as there is in the entire state," Jenkins said. "As far as I'm concerned, if you had 20 megawatts of power here, you would be a solar city."

Approximately five to six weeks ago, Jefferson city officials were approached by representatives from Green States Energy about locating the solar energy farm in Jefferson. Green States representatives presented its proposal Wednesday to a joint session of the Jefferson Common Council, Jefferson Plan Commission and Jefferson Redevelopment Authority.

"It is an opportunity for us to not only provide a lot of good jobs in the construction phase and also the operational stage, but it is also an opportunity for the City of Jefferson to create an identity of being a nationwide leader in renewable energy," Mayor Dale Oppermann said. "We have the task, the challenge and the opportunity to reinvent the economy of Jefferson and the surrounding area."

He said Green States Inc. is offering the city the chance to get involved with state-of-the-art technology and create an identity for the city as being clean and green.

Green States Energy Inc. chief executive officer Jeffrey Lord described the company as a group of people who have come together under a common principle.

"The planet and the people on it will be better off if we can start using less fossil fuels to get the energy we need," Lord said, citing the company's mission.

Environmental groups want impact study on proposed biomass plant

From an article by Kathleen Foody in the Wausau Daily Herald:

ROTHSCHILD -- An environmental advocacy giant has entered the fray surrounding a proposed biomass power plant in Rothschild.

The Sierra Club's Wisconsin Clean Energy Campaign and the Clean Wisconsin advocacy group this week asked the state's Public Service Commission to complete an assessment of all the ways the plant could affect the local environment, from noise to potential air or water pollutants.

The biomass plant was proposed by Milwaukee-based We Energies and the Domtar paper mill, where the plant would be built. The $250 million project isn't subject to an automatic environmental impact statement under state statute, but the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin argued in their request that the commission should perform a study anyway.

Jennifer Feyerherm, director of the campaign, said the organization isn't taking a position for or against the plant, but said a study will provide useful information about the project.

"If we're going to make decisions about how we create the energy we use, we need as much information as possible," Feyerherm said.

The Public Service Commission still is in the process of conducting its own environmental evaluation to determine whether a formal study is necessary.

Requests for a study before the commission's own review is completed are premature, Brian Manthey, spokesman for We Energies, said.

"We continue to provide whatever the commission needs for their environmental assessment," Manthey said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hearing on wind farm siting draws crowd

From an article by Colleen Kottke in the Fond du Lac Reporter:

They came from near and far, packing Legislative Chambers at the City County Government Center in Fond du Lac Monday to voice their opinions about proposed wind farm siting rules to be crafted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

The proposed rules would ultimately result in uniform wind farm siting standards for local units of government, replacing a patchwork of different rules and moratoriums that have been imposed by counties and towns around the state in relation to small wind power projects.

The public hearings, scheduled around the state this week, were launched by the state Legislature after it passed a uniform siting law in October.

Using citizen input, the PSC will draft legislation touching on controversial issues such as maximum sound levels and setback requirements. Once passed, municipalities considering ordinances for wind farms would not be allowed to make their local ordinance more restrictive than the state model. . . .

"Right now the proposed rules are just a draft; that's why the public comments are very important. There are a lot of interested parties and we want to make sure this is a balanced process," said Deborah Erwin, renewable energy policy analyst for the PSC.

Energy slacker
Barnaby Dinges, owner of a public relations firm and member of the American Wind Energy Association, warned that more restrictive rules for siting wind farms would further harm the state's quest to build its alternative energy portfolio.

"Wisconsin is already an energy slacker. We're the only Midwest state that doesn't currently have a major wind energy project under construction," Dinges said. "New restrictions will make the state even less desirable for development of wind projects."

He pointed out that the Wisconsin PSC already has a rigorous wind farm approval process in place for wind farms over 100 mega watts.

Hearing on wind farm siting draws crowdNext hearing in Tomah on June 29

The PSC will hold a hearing in Tomah on June 29.

From an article by Colleen Kottke in the Fond du Lac Reporter:


They came from near and far, packing Legislative Chambers at the City County Government Center in Fond du Lac Monday to voice their opinions about proposed wind farm siting rules to be crafted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

The proposed rules would ultimately result in uniform wind farm siting standards for local units of government, replacing a patchwork of different rules and moratoriums that have been imposed by counties and towns around the state in relation to small wind power projects.

The public hearings, scheduled around the state this week, were launched by the state Legislature after it passed a uniform siting law in October.

Using citizen input, the PSC will draft legislation touching on controversial issues such as maximum sound levels and setback requirements. Once passed, municipalities considering ordinances for wind farms would not be allowed to make their local ordinance more restrictive than the state model. . . .

"Right now the proposed rules are just a draft; that's why the public comments are very important. There are a lot of interested parties and we want to make sure this is a balanced process," said Deborah Erwin, renewable energy policy analyst for the PSC.

Energy slacker
Barnaby Dinges, owner of a public relations firm and member of the American Wind Energy Association, warned that more restrictive rules for siting wind farms would further harm the state's quest to build its alternative energy portfolio.

"Wisconsin is already an energy slacker. We're the only Midwest state that doesn't currently have a major wind energy project under construction," Dinges said. "New restrictions will make the state even less desirable for development of wind projects."

He pointed out that the Wisconsin PSC already has a rigorous wind farm approval process in place for wind farms over 100 mega watts.

Hearing on wind farm siting draws crowdNext hearing in Tomah on June 29

The PSC will hold a hearing in Tomah on June 29.

From an article by Colleen Kottke in the Fond du Lac Reporter:


They came from near and far, packing Legislative Chambers at the City County Government Center in Fond du Lac Monday to voice their opinions about proposed wind farm siting rules to be crafted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

The proposed rules would ultimately result in uniform wind farm siting standards for local units of government, replacing a patchwork of different rules and moratoriums that have been imposed by counties and towns around the state in relation to small wind power projects.

The public hearings, scheduled around the state this week, were launched by the state Legislature after it passed a uniform siting law in October.

Using citizen input, the PSC will draft legislation touching on controversial issues such as maximum sound levels and setback requirements. Once passed, municipalities considering ordinances for wind farms would not be allowed to make their local ordinance more restrictive than the state model. . . .

"Right now the proposed rules are just a draft; that's why the public comments are very important. There are a lot of interested parties and we want to make sure this is a balanced process," said Deborah Erwin, renewable energy policy analyst for the PSC.

Energy slacker
Barnaby Dinges, owner of a public relations firm and member of the American Wind Energy Association, warned that more restrictive rules for siting wind farms would further harm the state's quest to build its alternative energy portfolio.

"Wisconsin is already an energy slacker. We're the only Midwest state that doesn't currently have a major wind energy project under construction," Dinges said. "New restrictions will make the state even less desirable for development of wind projects."

He pointed out that the Wisconsin PSC already has a rigorous wind farm approval process in place for wind farms over 100 mega watts.

Manitowoc firm will build wind-turbine towers for We Energies project

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Tower Tech Systems of Manitowoc will build 90 steel towers for Wisconsin's largest wind farm, as We Energies adds a "buy-local" flavor to its renewable energy project near Madison.

The Manitowoc maker of wind turbine towers will build the 262-foot tall towers for turbine maker Vestas. The turbines will be erected next year in Columbia County at the $367 million Glacier Hills Wind Park.

The move comes as European companies like Vestas and Ingeteam look to expand their domestic production of wind power components.

Ingeteam last week broke ground on a $15 million wind power generator factory in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley.

For its part, Vestas is ramping up production of turbines, blades and towers at factories in Colorado.

But for this project, Vestas opted to work with Tower Tech Systems, a Manitowoc company that's part of the wind component firm Broadwind Energy Inc. Including factories in Texas and South Dakota, Tower Tech is the third largest producer of wind towers in North America.

The value of the contract hasn't been disclosed, but Chief Operating Officer Paul Smith said it will mean job security for employees at the sprawling Tower Tech complex near Lake Michigan.

As wind project development slowed because of the recession, Tower Tech laid off workers. But this contract and other orders placed by Vestas will enable Tower Tech, now employing 160, to bring back about 60 to 80 workers from layoff in the coming months, Smith said.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tour the top of a turbine



From Madison Gas Electric:

"Many of us have seen giant wind turbines from the road... but very few people get a chance to go inside. In this story, see what's in the core and climb with us to the very top of the turbine!

It's a 26 story vertical climb in a very tight space. See how it's done and find out how energy is transferred from the blades, into the nacell and down the core of the turbine"

Wisconsin garden aims to feed hungry residents

From an article by Rick Olivo in the La Crosse Tribune:

BARKSDALE, Wis. - One of the fundamental tenants of Christianity is the duty of Christians to care for those less well off than themselves.

Indeed, the New Testament plainly states that when one gives food to those who hunger, drink to those who thirst, they do more than aid a fellow human being.

``Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,'' reads Chapter 25 of the Book of Matthew.

It is an injunction that a number of bay area residents have taken to heart through the Northern Garden of Life, an effort to provide high quality fruits and vegetables, locally and sustainably grown, available at moderate cost to the general public, with profits and a substantial selection of the crop going to the BRICK ministries. The funds go to assist the BRICK's programs for the needy and the vegetables and fruit are made available for distribution to families and individuals in need of food.

The Northern Garden of Life is located on a five-acre tract of land on Cherryville Road in the Town of Barksdale. Surrounded by woods, the farm is in its second year of operation and would be the envy of any home gardener. Surrounded by a deer and bear-proof fence, the field is exquisitely maintained by a corps of volunteers who give of their time to grow crops that include tomatoes, potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, squash, watermelons, beans, cucumbers, grapes, carrots, cantaloupes, herbs, cabbage, cauliflower, and a host of other garden delights. Water is supplied to the garden through slow-drip irrigation tubes placed next to the plants and fed from a 5,000-gallon plastic water tank that is, in turn, filled from a well dug on the property specifically to serve the facility. There is also a 2,500-gallon tank stocked with a fertilizer solution available.

The garden is located on land owned by Town of Barksdale resident George Vernon. He says the effort is a natural outgrowth of the beliefs held by the volunteers who keep the Northern Garden of Life going.

Stevens Point spent over $1.5 million on energy usage in 2009

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

Stevens Point in 2009 spent more than $1.5 million on energy, used more than 73,000 million BTUs and emitted more than 21 million pounds of carbon dioxide, according to an inventory taken by the city.

As the city develops and implements a plan to cut its energy use, that inventory will be used as a benchmark with which to compare future use.

Where the biggest problems are depends on what the city's goal ultimately is: decreasing energy use, energy cost or carbon emissions.

Sustainability coordinator Joe Kottwitz said the Stevens Point Energy Team, which is creating the plan, hasn't decided specifically which to focus on yet. However, decreasing one likely will have positive effects on the others.

"If we use less energy and less electricity, odds are the taxpayers and ratepayers will receive those benefits," said Mayor Andrew Halverson, who also is a member of the team.

Regardless of which avenue the city chooses, the primary focus likely will be electricity, which has the highest consumption (41 percent), cost (64 percent) and carbon dioxide emissions (71 percent) in the city.

That is because the electricity comes from coal-fueled power plants, Kottwitz said, which kick out a lot of emissions. Lighting is the most expensive use of energy for the city, costing almost $1 million, partially because it is powered by electricity, and partially because about half the streetlights are owned by Wisconsin Public Service, which charges a maintenance fee in addition to electricity fees.

A renewable dream come true

From a news story by Mary Rinzel on WEAU-TV -- http://www.weau.com/home/headlines/97103734.html
As they lined up their lawn chairs in Chippewa County, their eyes were to the sky. It was a big day at Sylvan and Leona’s Rothbauer's Tilden farm. It was a day more than three years in the making.
"I think it's a good idea, I really do. I think we're going the right way," Leona says.
For years, Sylvan and Leona dreamed of putting up a wind turbine. Now, that dream is up and running.

"Every state we went through had wind turbines,” Sylvan says of a Midwest vacation some years back.

It was that vacation that planted an idea in the farmer's mind. He started saving for a turbine of his own.

"I just decided I was going to get one up, put one up and see what it does anyway," Sylvan says.

Wednesday, that turbine [Ventura VT10-240] started spinning thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program.

“Nationwide, we're going to fund more than $100 million worth of grants in this program this year. In Wisconsin, that's going to be about 75 to 100 projects that we will fund this year," says Jeff Hudson with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Hudson says the Rothbauers will get a $15,750 grant to cover 25 percent of the turbine's $63,000 cost. The company [SolarWinds, Bloomer, WI] that put up the turbine says federal and state tax credits also help.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Environmentalist Bill McKibben: We're losing climate battle

From an article by Nathan Vine in the Stevens Point Journal:

CUSTER -- Bill McKibben said he considered himself fortunate to be at the 21st annual Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.

Being in a Midwestern atmosphere that he characterized as "very clear, practical and ready to get things done," McKibben said it was a great backdrop for the theme of his keynote address at the fair Saturday.
McKibben, an internationally known environmentalist and founder of the 350.org campaign, said those who seek to fight the planet's climate problems face a difficult task.

"We're losing, and losing pretty badly to do what we need to make this planet work," McKibben said. "If we are going to win, it's going to take an enormous amount of that practical spirit."

In between being honored by a pair of standing ovations, and the announcement that the MREA had planted a tree in his honor next to others planted for founding members of the event and past speakers at the event, McKibben focused on the work that still needs to be done.

He pointed out that despite the obvious effects of too much carbon in the atmosphere -- which now stands at 392 parts per million, and which he hopes to reduce to 350 -- from the increase of global temperature to the pollutive effect on the oceans, political forces and the fossil fuel industry have successfully kept substantive change from being made.

"The only way we are going to have the kind of change we need is to radically increase the cost of fossil fuels," McKibben said. "To do that, we need to be engaging in the political battle that we haven't been able to."

McKibben has tried to rally support to that battle through his work with 350.org. In 2009, he and his team coordinated some 5,200 events in 181 countries in one day to bring awareness to the problem of carbon. This year on Oct. 10, they are planning a global work party, where people can take on environmentally friendly projects.

SCA Tissue bets on wind to power its Town of Menasha office needs

With three turbines set, crews raise a fourth one beside the SCA Tissue office building in the Town of Menasha.

From an article by Michael King in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

TOWN OF MENASHA — SCA Tissue is at the forefront of renewable energy applications and looking for more opportunities.

On Monday, the papermaker installed the first of four 100-foot-tall, 20-kilowatt wind turbines outside the SCA Tissue Service Excellence Center offices at 1451 McMahon Drive as part of a $300,000 project. The turbines with the 15-foot blades tower over the building, which has rooftop solar panels that were installed a few years ago.

"This is the first commercial wind (turbine project) in the town," said Mike Dillon, SCA Tissue manager of environmental and risk management. He said SCA once again turned to local firms to aid its latest renewable, or "green" initiative.

"The turbines are the first commercial units built by a new Oshkosh company called Renewegy," he said. "Faith Technologies in Menasha is doing the electrical work and the foundation work for the towers was done by our neighbor, Miron Construction."

Once in place, the four turbines will produce 100 to 125 megawatt-hours annually, enough to power 10 to 12 homes each year, but the electricity is being used exclusively in the office building, Dillon said.

"We're actually going to consume every bit of (electricity) in the building," Dillon said. "This is a continuation of our work with renewable energy, looking at new technologies and improved technologies. It's another piece of a (renewable) portfolio we're trying to develop."

SCA Tissue already is looking at solar and wind power options for its converting facility on Ehlers Road in the Town of Menasha and for its Menasha paper mill, along with SCA facilities in Arizona, New York and Alabama.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Concensus unlikely on recommendations from Wind Siting Council

From an article by Paul Ryan in The Daily Reporter:

Deadline pressure and 100 amendments are cracking the unity of the state‘s Wind Siting Council as it strives to agree on turbine placement standards.

Even the definition of agreement is a point of contention among the 15 members. The state law that formed the council requires only that the panel make recommendations that will go to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and, ultimately, the state Legislature.

But some council members insist they will testify against recommendations not based on a consensus vote.

"I told them they can come in with studies and articles and hearsay,” said Larry Wunsch, a Brownsville resident and council member. “I come in with experience. I live in a wind farm, and I can tell you what it looks like and how it sounds."

“But if they’re going to go with majority rule, then, yeah, I would argue against it at future hearings.”

The council is designed to establish turbine placement standards for wind farms that generate less than 100 megawatts of electricity. The PSC already reviews wind farms that generate more than 100 megawatts.

The PSC intends to finalize rules based on the council’s recommendations by Sept. 1, PSC spokeswoman Teresa Weidemann-Smith said.

Public hearings on draft rules begin next week, and the public comment period for recommendations ends July 7.

That puts the council on a tight timeline to finish its work, said Michael Vickerman, a member of the council and executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization focused on clean energy. . . .

Vickerman said he doubts there will be consensus. But, he said, the council represents a wide array of experience and interest, and the PSC and Legislature must take that into account when approving rules for wind turbine placement.

“Those who oppose wind have already made their minds up,” Vickerman said. “We can have a dialogue with them, but I don’t think we can have a meeting of the minds.”

Neighborhood center with solar hosts grand opening

From a story on WXOW-TV, La Crosse:

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- The Black River Neighborhood Center is complete.

To commemorate that milestone, La Crosse's Park and Rec Department held a grand opening at the beach house.

Mike Novak and his son Nick visit family in La Crosse often and enjoy seeing the area while they're at it.

"Oh yeah, beautiful. We were talking about, look at that view coming down the road. You wind down and there's the bluffs and stuff," Mike says.

They came to the North Side to see the Black River and happened to catch the grand opening of the new neighborhood center.

"We had to come check it out, definitely," Mike says.

Around eight years ago, the city took a look at how to improve the North-South Corridor.

Citizens and business owners started a plan to renovate the old bath house that was there.

After talking to the community about what they wanted, the city decided a new building was worth the investment.

"Four years ago, I would have said, 'The building will be about this size and will have running water, and it'll be clean.' I didn't have this vision. I truly didn't. But it's marvelous," says North side merchant Randy Eddy, Sr..

"From a $40,000 renovation of a bath house, it ended up being a $1.3 million community facility," says Steve Carlyon, Park and Recreation Director.

The 8,000 square-foot facility is set up for different uses, like parties, wedding receptions or just relaxing.

It uses green technology, like geo-thermal and solar energy.

MSTC to offer renewable energy and energy efficiency classes

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

Mid-State Technical College will begin offering this fall certificate courses in renewable energy aimed at giving displaced workers additional skills to make them more marketable.

The programs are in five emerging renewable industries that not all journey workers have training in. Mid-State hasn't begun officially accepting applications for the program, and only last week hired the case worker who will screen applicants and fill the classes. Though classes start in late August, likely at the Wisconsin Rapids campus, there should be plenty of demand for the 15 slots in each program.

"We've got a lot of dislocated workers, so I think a lot of people will look at this as a real opportunity," said Ronald Zillmer, associate dean of Mid-State's technical and industrial division. "The fastest impact on our economy is taking people who already have skills in those areas and tweaking them a little bit."

The certificate programs, and the tuition for the first year's students, is being paid for with a $428,000 Department of Labor grant. Mid-State recently began offering associate degrees in renewable energy programs, and the certificates are an extension of that focus.

Three of the certificates -- photovoltaic systems, wind systems and solar thermal -- require the student to be practicing journey workers who have completed their apprenticeship. The biorefinery certificate is for those with some previous industrial workplace experience. The energy efficiency certificate has no requirements.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Group says high-speed rail will add 9,000 jobs in Wisconsin

From an article by Ilissa Gilmore in the Sheboygan Press:

ASHWAUBENON — An advocacy group said Wednesday that the high-speed rail system that will connect several Midwest cities will benefit the environment and provide more than 9,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Members of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group student chapters came to the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon to promote the $823 million project that will connect Green Bay, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, among other cities.

WISPIRG — which works on economic, environmental, and social concerns — is conducting its second annual tour for the system. The group also has visited Eau Claire, La Crosse and Madison and will hit Oshkosh, Milwaukee and Racine.

States need to invest in railways instead of more roads and highways, said WISPIRG student leader Sarah Seibold.

"The Midwest is behind the East Coast and Europe and Asia in railway travel," said Patricia Terry, a science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "Rails are needed to maintain our economic competitiveness."

An expanded rail system in Wisconsin would produce 9,000 new, permanent jobs, and it would reduce dependency on oil because railroads are 23 percent more fuel efficient than airplanes and 40 percent more efficient than single-passenger cars, Seibold said.

The rail system will use diesel gas before eventually moving to electricity, she said, but it would still be more efficient than standard modes of transportation. With oil dependency and gas prices on the rise, rail travel is a favorable alternative, Terry said.

Group says high-speed rail will add 9,000 jobs in Wisconsin

From an article by Ilissa Gilmore in the Sheboygan Press:

ASHWAUBENON — An advocacy group said Wednesday that the high-speed rail system that will connect several Midwest cities will benefit the environment and provide more than 9,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Members of the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group student chapters came to the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon to promote the $823 million project that will connect Green Bay, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, among other cities.

WISPIRG — which works on economic, environmental, and social concerns — is conducting its second annual tour for the system. The group also has visited Eau Claire, La Crosse and Madison and will hit Oshkosh, Milwaukee and Racine.

States need to invest in railways instead of more roads and highways, said WISPIRG student leader Sarah Seibold.

"The Midwest is behind the East Coast and Europe and Asia in railway travel," said Patricia Terry, a science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "Rails are needed to maintain our economic competitiveness."

An expanded rail system in Wisconsin would produce 9,000 new, permanent jobs, and it would reduce dependency on oil because railroads are 23 percent more fuel efficient than airplanes and 40 percent more efficient than single-passenger cars, Seibold said.

The rail system will use diesel gas before eventually moving to electricity, she said, but it would still be more efficient than standard modes of transportation. With oil dependency and gas prices on the rise, rail travel is a favorable alternative, Terry said.

Local brew pub goes solar

From a story by Heather Sawaski on WAOW, Wausau:

It takes about 500 gallons of hot water to brew a batch of beer at Red Eye Brewery and Restaurant. Soon, that water will get its heat from the sky. Once installed, 10 solar collectors will soak up the sun's rays, mix them with water down through 6 tanks, and come out piping hot and ready to use. Red Eye will be the first Wisconsin brew pub to heat water with solar energy.

"We use a large amount of water in the brewing process and we thought that was how we could utilize the sun the greatest and get the biggest and best payback," said Brew Master Kevin Eichelberger."

And he added, the payback is substantial. The project is funded through a combination of loans and federal green energy grants. Eichelberger said the solar power should pay for itself in about 5 years. That's not to mention the environmental payback.

"We've calculated the equivalent carbon footprint to being equivalent of driving a car about 8,500 miles," Eichelberger said. "So we'll be reducing our carbon footprint by that amount."

Going green is nothing new for the restaurant. Owners said they've always used recycled plastic for to-go containers and utensils. And they donate all used grain from the brewery to an area farmer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kids learning renewable energy in Northcentral Wisconsin

From a story on WSAW-TV, Wausau:

In the next three days, 20 high school students will have already gone to college and completed a credit.

It's all part of Mid-State Technical College's renewable energy academy.

Today, college professors showed how oil and coal has impacted our environment.

The students studied how renewable energy sources such as solar panels and bio-diesel fuels compare to energy consumption and cost.

Many of them say they never realized how many types of alternative energies are out there.

"How much waste is coming out in each of them just learning about it was kinda cool cause you can learn what to prevent in the future," said 9th grader Samantha Contreres.

"I want renewable energy resources to happen so that we have a better future for our grandchildren and children ahead of us," said 9th grader Christopher Herron.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Visit RENEW at the Energy Fair, June 18-20



Visit RENEW in booth C2 at the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010.

Each year the MREA Energy Fair transforms rural Central Wisconsin into the global hot spot for renewable energy education. The Energy Fair brings over 20,000 people from nearly every state in the U.S. and several countries around the world to learn, connect with others and ready them for action at home. The Energy Fair is the nation's longest running energy education event of its kind.

Advance Energy Fair tickets and Reservations for Back 40 Camping will be available starting April 1st.

The Energy Fair features:

•Over 275 exhibitors - sustainable living and energy products
•Over 200 workshops - from introductory level to hands-on education
•Clean Energy Car Show - demonstration vehicles and workshops
•Green Home Pavilion – focused on building and remodeling in a sustainable way
•Sustainable Tables – workshops, chef demos, and a farmers market bringing sustainability to your dinner table
•Inspirational keynotes, lively entertainment, great food, and local beer.
The Energy Fair is held in Custer, WI just seven miles east of Stevens Point. Join us for the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010. For more information about the Fair, contact the Midwest Renewable Energy Association at 715-592-6595 or visit the website: www.the-mrea.org.

Visit RENEW at the Energy Fair, June 18-20



Visit RENEW in booth C2 at the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010.

Each year the MREA Energy Fair transforms rural Central Wisconsin into the global hot spot for renewable energy education. The Energy Fair brings over 20,000 people from nearly every state in the U.S. and several countries around the world to learn, connect with others and ready them for action at home. The Energy Fair is the nation's longest running energy education event of its kind.

Advance Energy Fair tickets and Reservations for Back 40 Camping will be available starting April 1st.

The Energy Fair features:

•Over 275 exhibitors - sustainable living and energy products
•Over 200 workshops - from introductory level to hands-on education
•Clean Energy Car Show - demonstration vehicles and workshops
•Green Home Pavilion – focused on building and remodeling in a sustainable way
•Sustainable Tables – workshops, chef demos, and a farmers market bringing sustainability to your dinner table
•Inspirational keynotes, lively entertainment, great food, and local beer.
The Energy Fair is held in Custer, WI just seven miles east of Stevens Point. Join us for the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010. For more information about the Fair, contact the Midwest Renewable Energy Association at 715-592-6595 or visit the website: www.the-mrea.org.

Visit RENEW at the Energy Fair, June 18-20



Visit RENEW in booth C2 at the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010.

Each year the MREA Energy Fair transforms rural Central Wisconsin into the global hot spot for renewable energy education. The Energy Fair brings over 20,000 people from nearly every state in the U.S. and several countries around the world to learn, connect with others and ready them for action at home. The Energy Fair is the nation's longest running energy education event of its kind.

Advance Energy Fair tickets and Reservations for Back 40 Camping will be available starting April 1st.

The Energy Fair features:

•Over 275 exhibitors - sustainable living and energy products
•Over 200 workshops - from introductory level to hands-on education
•Clean Energy Car Show - demonstration vehicles and workshops
•Green Home Pavilion – focused on building and remodeling in a sustainable way
•Sustainable Tables – workshops, chef demos, and a farmers market bringing sustainability to your dinner table
•Inspirational keynotes, lively entertainment, great food, and local beer.
The Energy Fair is held in Custer, WI just seven miles east of Stevens Point. Join us for the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010. For more information about the Fair, contact the Midwest Renewable Energy Association at 715-592-6595 or visit the website: www.the-mrea.org.

Visit RENEW at the Energy Fair, June 18-20



Visit RENEW in booth C2 at the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010.

Each year the MREA Energy Fair transforms rural Central Wisconsin into the global hot spot for renewable energy education. The Energy Fair brings over 20,000 people from nearly every state in the U.S. and several countries around the world to learn, connect with others and ready them for action at home. The Energy Fair is the nation's longest running energy education event of its kind.

Advance Energy Fair tickets and Reservations for Back 40 Camping will be available starting April 1st.

The Energy Fair features:

•Over 275 exhibitors - sustainable living and energy products
•Over 200 workshops - from introductory level to hands-on education
•Clean Energy Car Show - demonstration vehicles and workshops
•Green Home Pavilion – focused on building and remodeling in a sustainable way
•Sustainable Tables – workshops, chef demos, and a farmers market bringing sustainability to your dinner table
•Inspirational keynotes, lively entertainment, great food, and local beer.
The Energy Fair is held in Custer, WI just seven miles east of Stevens Point. Join us for the 21st Annual Energy Fair June 18-20, 2010. For more information about the Fair, contact the Midwest Renewable Energy Association at 715-592-6595 or visit the website: www.the-mrea.org.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Energy Fair to host renowned author, June 19

From an article by Nicole Strittmater in the Wausau Daily Herald:

An environmental superstar will visit Custer this week to help inspire central Wisconsin residents to go greener.

Bill McKibben, who wrote the first book about global warming 21 years ago and recently created an international campaign called 350.org to solve the climate crisis, is a keynote speaker for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday.

"I very much wanted to come, particularly because the kind of people who will be at the fair are the kind of people we need to reach," said McKibben, 49, from his home in Ripton, Vt.

He spends the majority of his time traveling the world promoting his 350.org campaign, which draws its name from the parts per million of carbon that can safely be in the atmosphere. His focus is to get the planet from 392 parts per million of carbon, where it is currently, to 350 by encouraging people to take on environmentally conscious projects.

"We want all kinds of people who are good at doing practical things -- putting up solar panels, community gardens, starting bike programs," he said.

In 2009, he and his 350.org team coordinated 5,200 rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries in one day, which news outlets dubbed the largest globally coordinated rally of any kind.

This October, he's organizing a global work party. He wants people worldwide to do environmentally friendly projects, such as putting up solar panels Oct. 10.

Energy Fair to host renowned author, June 19

From an article by Nicole Strittmater in the Wausau Daily Herald:

An environmental superstar will visit Custer this week to help inspire central Wisconsin residents to go greener.

Bill McKibben, who wrote the first book about global warming 21 years ago and recently created an international campaign called 350.org to solve the climate crisis, is a keynote speaker for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday.

"I very much wanted to come, particularly because the kind of people who will be at the fair are the kind of people we need to reach," said McKibben, 49, from his home in Ripton, Vt.

He spends the majority of his time traveling the world promoting his 350.org campaign, which draws its name from the parts per million of carbon that can safely be in the atmosphere. His focus is to get the planet from 392 parts per million of carbon, where it is currently, to 350 by encouraging people to take on environmentally conscious projects.

"We want all kinds of people who are good at doing practical things -- putting up solar panels, community gardens, starting bike programs," he said.

In 2009, he and his 350.org team coordinated 5,200 rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries in one day, which news outlets dubbed the largest globally coordinated rally of any kind.

This October, he's organizing a global work party. He wants people worldwide to do environmentally friendly projects, such as putting up solar panels Oct. 10.

Energy Fair to host renowned author, June 19

From an article by Nicole Strittmater in the Wausau Daily Herald:

An environmental superstar will visit Custer this week to help inspire central Wisconsin residents to go greener.

Bill McKibben, who wrote the first book about global warming 21 years ago and recently created an international campaign called 350.org to solve the climate crisis, is a keynote speaker for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday.

"I very much wanted to come, particularly because the kind of people who will be at the fair are the kind of people we need to reach," said McKibben, 49, from his home in Ripton, Vt.

He spends the majority of his time traveling the world promoting his 350.org campaign, which draws its name from the parts per million of carbon that can safely be in the atmosphere. His focus is to get the planet from 392 parts per million of carbon, where it is currently, to 350 by encouraging people to take on environmentally conscious projects.

"We want all kinds of people who are good at doing practical things -- putting up solar panels, community gardens, starting bike programs," he said.

In 2009, he and his 350.org team coordinated 5,200 rallies and demonstrations in 181 countries in one day, which news outlets dubbed the largest globally coordinated rally of any kind.

This October, he's organizing a global work party. He wants people worldwide to do environmentally friendly projects, such as putting up solar panels Oct. 10.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homes waste watts of power, study finds

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

TVs, computers, others leach energy and money

In one of the first studies of its kind, energy researchers in Madison have uncovered a simple way that most consumers can save on their electric bills: pull the plug.

The researchers set up more than 700 in-home metering devices in about 50 homes to monitor the proliferation of electronic devices in our homes, and how they affect our energy use.

Thirty years ago, federal data shows, a typical home had about three plugged-in devices. The new study shows our wall sockets are jammed, with each home hosting 30 or more devices. All told, computers, printers, televisions and other devices account for 15% to 30% of a home's total electricity use - about 20% on average, the study found.

The Energy Center of Wisconsin study was able to quantify the impact of having so many devices plugged in and ready to go - sometimes on, sometimes off, and sometimes in standby mode.

Case in point: Home computers that are left on around the clock in some cases suck power even when they're sitting idle.

"Most computers are set up to turn the monitor off after about 20 minutes," said researcher Scott Pigg. "So we turn it on and use it and walk away and come back into the room and see the monitor's off. We think: 'Well, my computer is managing its power and it's shut down.'

"What they don't realize is that two-thirds of the electricity draw is the thing that's sitting on the floor - not the thing that's sitting on the desk," he added. "And the only visual indication that you have that computer's on is a little fan noise and a little green light somewhere."

A step as simple as changing the power management settings on a home PC will take less time than running to the store and buying another energy-saving light bulb, Pigg said.

Homes waste watts of power, study finds

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

TVs, computers, others leach energy and money

In one of the first studies of its kind, energy researchers in Madison have uncovered a simple way that most consumers can save on their electric bills: pull the plug.

The researchers set up more than 700 in-home metering devices in about 50 homes to monitor the proliferation of electronic devices in our homes, and how they affect our energy use.

Thirty years ago, federal data shows, a typical home had about three plugged-in devices. The new study shows our wall sockets are jammed, with each home hosting 30 or more devices. All told, computers, printers, televisions and other devices account for 15% to 30% of a home's total electricity use - about 20% on average, the study found.

The Energy Center of Wisconsin study was able to quantify the impact of having so many devices plugged in and ready to go - sometimes on, sometimes off, and sometimes in standby mode.

Case in point: Home computers that are left on around the clock in some cases suck power even when they're sitting idle.

"Most computers are set up to turn the monitor off after about 20 minutes," said researcher Scott Pigg. "So we turn it on and use it and walk away and come back into the room and see the monitor's off. We think: 'Well, my computer is managing its power and it's shut down.'

"What they don't realize is that two-thirds of the electricity draw is the thing that's sitting on the floor - not the thing that's sitting on the desk," he added. "And the only visual indication that you have that computer's on is a little fan noise and a little green light somewhere."

A step as simple as changing the power management settings on a home PC will take less time than running to the store and buying another energy-saving light bulb, Pigg said.

Tech college energy program sets plan

From an article by Adam Wise in the Wausau Daily Herald:

GRAND RAPIDS -- Mid-State Technical College expects to break ground on its renewable energy program center this fall, with the new teaching space ready for students by August 2011.

The project will include $1.5 million worth of new construction and about $750,000 in upgrades and remodeling at the Wisconsin Rapids campus, said Elizabeth Moran, MSTC spokeswoman. Somerville, an architectural company from Green Bay, is leading the design phase.

About 10,000 square feet of additional space will be developed, including several classroom labs and a rooftop laboratory for students to test wind and solar technologies, said MSTC Facilities Director Craig Hjelle. Several labs also will be remodeled.

"They will be rather high structures, so we can do the stuff with renewables and urban forestry," Hjelle said.

The college -- which has Stevens Point, Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids campuses and a center in the city of Adams -- produced its first graduates from its five renewable energy programs this spring.

Mobile home residents in Dunn County area can get free energy-efficiency improvements

From a news release issued by Focus on Energy:

(June 14, 2010) - Mobile home residents in the Dunn County area may now qualify for a free home energy evaluation and free energy-efficiency improvements. This initiative, called the Mobile Home Duct Sealing Pilot, is part of Focus on Energy's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program. It is being offered to mobile home residents who purchase their gas or electric heating from utilities who participate in the Focus on Energy Program, including Xcel and We Energies. The pilot was designed to create cost-effective energy savings in mobile homes by testing for and correcting a certain set of inefficiencies, primarily leaky duct work. All testing and work is free to eligible mobile home owners, and the entire process can be completed in one day.

The Mobile Home Duct Sealing Pilot, like the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program, uses the most advanced, state-of-the-art equipment to test homes, identify problems, and implement recommended improvements. Duct sealing and other improvements are then tested to ensure the work meets program standards. Partnering consultants and contractors delivering the pilot were selected through a competitive bidding process.

What Mobile Home Residents Can Expect
The first step is to schedule an in-home evaluation with the area's selected consultant - Aaron Riendeau of St. Croix Energy Solutions. Riendeau can be reached at 715.220.4818.

Riendeau will inspect the heating and cooling systems of the mobile home, identify energy-related problems, and implement the recommended improvements, such as sealing ducts to reduce air leaks. These improvements can provide significant energy and cost savings, as research has shown that, in most cases, duct leakage is the number one source of energy loss in mobile homes and a major source of comfort complaints. Once the work has been completed, Riendeau will retest the mobile home's systems to ensure the improvements were effective.

Because this is a pilot project, there is no charge to the homeowner. All that is required of the homeowner is to sign a release form so Focus on Energy can perform the work and obtain the following information:
• Records of energy usage before and after the work is performed
• Permission to anonymously use the homeowner's experience in reporting the pilot's results

Learn More
For details on scheduling a mobile home energy evaluation, call Aaron Riendeau of St. Croix Energy Solutions at 715.220.4818. To find out more about the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program, visit focusonenergy.com.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hudson home's energy use puts it nearly off the grid

From an article by Andy Rathbunin the Pioneer Press, Minneapolis & St. Paul:

A local physician is building a house in Wisconsin without a furnace — it won't need one.

Rising over the St. Croix River Valley, the 1,940-square-foot, three-bedroom home will use solar power and the latest in energy-efficient construction. Designed to let in the maximum amount of sunlight, its walls are 11 inches of insulated concrete surrounded by 11 inches of exterior foam insulation.

In extreme cold, electric heaters in the floors can help warm the entire house.

"On the coldest, cloudiest days of the winter, we'll need the equivalent of like 2,500 watts, which is basically a couple of handheld hair dryers," said Dr. Gary Konkol, who is building the one-of-a-kind home in the town of Hudson, Wis.

Once completed, Konkol's house will be carbon-neutral — that is, it will produce at least as much electricity as it consumes.

The home will also be a "passive house," a highly insulated type of construction reducing heating and cooling needs 90 percent to 95 percent and overall energy consumption 70 percent to 80 percent, said Katrin Klingenberg, executive director of the Passive House Institute US.

While there are tens of thousands of such buildings in Europe, there are only about a dozen in the U.S. certified as passive homes, Klingenberg said. Konkol's home will be the first in Wisconsin and the first of the kind in the country to also be carbon-neutral.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All together for change

Car pool to the Energy Fair, June 18-20

From the newsletter of Energy Concepts:

Walking the conservation talk, Eenergy Concepts is hosting a ride share event for riders and drivers bound for the 21st Annual Energy Fair in Custer, WI. Ample free parking is available from the meeting place at our Hudson headquarters. Participants will also receive $5 off the price of admission. Sign up on our Facebook discussion board here. Don’t do Facebook? No worries, email Kat at kat@energyconcepts.us. The greenest show on earth just got greener.

Keep working to reduce need for oil

From an editorial in the Sheboygan Press:
We don't yet know the final solution to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so we surely don't know the final cost of the cleanup and the restoration of the fishery and the beaches.

But what we should know by now is that offshore oil drilling will have to be more closely monitored in the future. We should also know that we have to make a deeper commitment to reducing our dependence on oil — foreign and domestic.

The Disaster in the Gulf, as the now nearly two-month-long oil spill is being called, should be the wake-up call of all wake-up calls. It should spark bold action — in the offshore drilling regulatory process and in weaning the U.S. from oil.

President George W. Bush said in 2006 that the U.S. was "addicted to oil." Yet today, we remain as hooked on oil and gas as we were then — and, like any addiction, it can be destructive. We are seeing its effect now in the Gulf of Mexico.

Although the U.S. needs to reduce its reliance on oil, there is no way to go "cold-turkey." Our economy relies heavily on transportation — delivery of goods and services and people getting to and from jobs.

Oil, along with coal and natural gas, is also used to generate electricity and heat our homes. Many of the consumer goods we use have a base in petroleum.


In recent years, due mainly to the slowdown in the nation's economy, the demand for oil has slowed in the U.S. It is still growing in much of the rest of the world, particularly China.

But rather than simply returning to oil as the main source of fuel, there needs to be a plan to move the U.S. economy forward while also reducing the use of oil. We're taking baby steps today to find alternative sources of fuel. It's time to think giant leaps forward.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tips to manage costs, stay cool, and enjoy summer

From a news release issued by the Public Service Commission:

MADISON - – Utility bills can soar with rising temperatures. To stay cool this summer while conserving energy and keeping costs down, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) offers these easy, low-cost steps:

 Use cold water for doing laundry and air dry your clothes on clotheslines.
 Wash dishes with cold water and air dry.
 Turn off lights when leaving a room.
 Check the weather-stripping and caulking for leaks around doors and windows.
 Use a microwave oven or cook outside instead of using the stove or oven.
 Minimize the amount of time your refrigerator and freezer doors are open.
 Use natural lighting and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Ninety percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb makes heat.

Xcel Energy: Plantings begin on innovative woody biomass plantations in Lake Superior basin

From a news release issued by Xcel Energy:

Test stations to be used to educate local farmers, public on woody biomass development and costs

ASHLAND, WIS. – Plantings began today on two innovative woody biomass energy plantations in the Lake Superior basin that will be testing hybrid species of poplar and black willow trees. The plantations at the Ag Experiment Station in Ashland and Morning View Farm in Port Wing were made possible by grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Xcel Energy. The Lake Superior Woody Biomass Initiative (LSWBI) will promote the scientific research and development of the two biomass energy plantations.

The LSWBI includes a number of research-based projects that are necessary to support sustainable biomass production and utilization in northwest Wisconsin. To be sustained, production and harvest of woody biomass must protect or enhance soil quality, surface and groundwater quality, and biodiversity. The LSWBI will:

* Evaluate advanced selections of woody biomass crops by establishing hybrid poplar and black willow germplasm clone trials. The trial will be conducted in cooperation with Bill Berguson, Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minn., who has one of the largest hybrid breeding programs in the United States.

* Optimize woody biomass production systems by establishing poplar and black willow production trials to evaluate and demonstrate management and harvest options. The trials will be used to demonstrate basic site preparation, planting and weed control management options to farmers and the public.

Everest district gets into biomass plant feud

From an article by Kevin Murphy in the Wausau Daily Herald:

MADISON -- D.C. Everest Area School District wants to be more involved in decision-making on a proposed $250 million biomass power plant planned in Rothschild.

In a letter to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission dated Monday, Milwaukee attorney William Mulligan asked that the district be granted "intervenor" status, which would allow district representatives to see all communications in the case.

In her affidavit filed with the PSC, Superintendent Kristine Gilmore said the district should be involved in the case because it is obligated to protect the health and safety of its 5,702 students, 720 teachers and staff in 11 schools.

"Rothschild Elementary School is within one half mile and D.C. Everest Junior High School is within one mile of the site of the biomass-fired cogeneration plant Wisconsin Electric Power Company proposes to build in Rothschild," she wrote in the affidavit.

Village of Cascade installs two wind turbines at wastewater plant



From a news release issued by RENEW Wisconsin:

With the start-up of two 100-kilowatt (kW) wind turbines, the Village of Cascade became the first Wisconsin community to power its municipal wastewater treatment plant with 100 percent locally produced wind energy.

The impetus behind Cascade’s embrace of wind power was the avoided utility expenditures associated with operating a wastewater treatment plant. In the first year of operation, Cascade stands to save $30,000. With anticipated increases in electric rates, the Village of Cascade should save more than one million dollars over the thirty-year life of the turbines.

Additional revenue will come from the sale of excess power to We Energies.

“With these two turbines, the Village of Cascade has taken a giant step toward energy independence,” said Michael Vickerman. “Its prudent investment in wind energy will enable the community to control its energy budget, saving money for current and future residents.”

Kettle View Renewable Energy, LLC, a wind system installer located in nearby Random Lake, installed and commissioned Cascade’s turbines.
“We are proud that our local efforts on this project made this the first net-zero wastewater treatment plant in Wisconsin,” said project manager Randy Faller. “It speaks volumes to the commitment by the Village of Cascade to generate clean, domestic energy while saving their community money.”

These two turbines double the number of Northwind 100s operating in Wisconsin to four, all installed in the last 12 months. The first two installed turbines serve schools in Wausau and Fort Atkinson.

Northern Power Systems, the Vermont turbine manufacturer, “couldn’t be more pleased that our technologically advanced, American-made Northwind 100 turbines are delivering real energy solutions for municipalities, schools, businesses and farms across Wisconsin,” said Mr. Brett Pingree, Vice President of Americas at Northern Power Systems.

Grants from Milwaukee-based We Energies and Focus on Energy were instrumental in supplementing Cascade’s investment in the project.

Village of Cascade Installs Two Wind Turbines at Wastewater Plant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2010

MORE INFORMATION
Michael Vickerman
RENEW Wisconsin
Executive Director
608.255.4044

Randy Faller
Project Manager
Kettle View Renewable Energy
920.994.9433

Eve Frankel
Northern Power Systems
Marketing Communications Manager
802.461.2935

Village of Cascade Installs Two Wind Turbines at Wastewater Plant

With the start-up of two 100-kilowatt (kW) wind turbines, the Village of Cascade became the first Wisconsin community to power its municipal wastewater treatment plant with 100 percent locally produced wind energy.

The impetus behind Cascade’s embrace of wind power was the avoided utility expenditures associated with operating a wastewater treatment plant. In the first year of operation, Cascade stands to save $30,000. With anticipated increases in electric rates, the Village of Cascade should save more than one million dollars over the thirty-year life of the turbines.

Additional revenue will come from the sale of excess power to We Energies.

“With these two turbines, the Village of Cascade has taken a giant step toward energy independence,” said Michael Vickerman. “Its prudent investment in wind energy will enable the community to control its energy budget, saving money for current and future residents.”

Kettle View Renewable Energy, LLC, a wind system installer located in nearby Random Lake, installed and commissioned Cascade’s turbines.

“We are proud that our local efforts on this project made this the first net-zero wastewater treatment plant in Wisconsin,” said project manager Randy Faller. “It speaks volumes to the commitment by the Village of Cascade to generate clean, domestic energy while saving their community money.”

These two turbines double the number of Northwind 100s operating in Wisconsin to four, all installed in the last 12 months. The first two installed turbines serve schools in Wausau and Fort Atkinson.

Northern Power Systems, the Vermont turbine manufacturer, “couldn’t be more pleased that our technologically advanced, American-made Northwind 100 turbines are delivering real energy solutions for municipalities, schools, businesses and farms across Wisconsin,” said Mr. Brett Pingree, Vice President of Americas at Northern Power Systems.

Grants from Milwaukee-based We Energies and Focus on Energy were instrumental in supplementing Cascade’s investment in the project.
END

RENEW Wisconsin: (http://www.renewwisconsin.org/) 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.

Northern Power Systems: (http://www.northernpower.com/) Northern Power has over 30 years of experience in developing advanced, innovative wind turbines. The company’s next generation wind turbine technology is based on a vastly simplified architecture that utilizes a unique combination of permanent magnet generators and direct-drive design. This revolutionary new approach delivers higher energy capture, eliminates drive-train noise, and significantly reduces maintenance and downtime costs. Northern Power systems is a fully integrated company that designs, manufactures and sells wind turbines into the global marketplace from its headquarters in Vermont, USA.

Kettle View Renewable Energy LLC (http://www.kettleviewre.com/) provides consulting, site assessments, and installation services for wind energy systems.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Volunteers rock! Ed Lemar at the MREA

From an article in the Stevens Point Journal:

Volunteer program: Midwest Renewable Energy Association's 21st annual Energy Fair

Volunteer spotlight: The qualities that define a strong community are different to everyone. For some, a strong community means healthy, happy children. For others, it means a population of people who can read and write well. And for others, it means nurturing the environment that provides a home for us all. There are kind and dedicated volunteers throughout our county who work to build up all of these strengths and more. Ed Lemar is one of these volunteers.

Lemar has created a life in Portage County with his wife and 2-year-old daughter. Lemar is a local artist, musician and playwright who also sells artisan cheese at Wisconsin farmers markets. When Lemar is not busy with one of these endeavors, he volunteers his time to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, especially for its annual Energy Fair.

Each year, the MREA Energy Fair transforms rural central Wisconsin into the global hot spot for renewable energy education. The nation's longest running energy education event brings people from nearly every state in the United States and several countries around the world to learn, connect with others and ready them for action at home. With more than 23,000 attendees, the Energy Fair relies on a team of 400 dedicated volunteers throughout the week to make it possible.

From June 14 through the 21, the MREA needs volunteers to help with set up before the fair, and take down after the fair, as well as help with hospitality, sales, grounds crew, traffic control and other tasks. Volunteers are welcome each day to help at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's ReNew the Earth Institute in Custer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Green teams work at work

Green teams work at work

Green teams work at work

Project under way to propose development of 12.5 MW of solar power generation

An announcement by We Energies:

We Energies has a commitment to propose the development of approximately 12.5 MW of solar power generation. This solar commitment entails 5 MW by Jan. 1, 2013, and the remaining 7.5 MW by Jan. 1, 2015. With the development and permitting phase of the Glacier Hills Wind Park completed, Andy Hesselbach, wind farm project manager, will be taking on the added responsibility of developing a plan to comply with this commitment.

To assist in these planning and development efforts, Carl Siegrist, senior project strategist - Regulatory Affairs and Policy, has been assigned to work under Hesselbach’s direction. Siegrist serves on the board of directors of two national solar organizations, has been involved with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin solar task force, and has a network of contacts in all aspects of the solar business and Wisconsin's clean energy advocacy community.

Hesselbach and Siegrist will collaborate with a broad range of regulatory, legal, finance, business planning, engineering and operations personnel during 2010 to develop a plan for compliance with this commitment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tips to manage costs, stay cool, and enjoy summer

From a news release issued by the Public Service Commission:

MADISON - – Utility bills can soar with rising temperatures. To stay cool this summer while conserving energy and keeping costs down, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) offers these easy, low-cost steps:

 Use cold water for doing laundry and air dry your clothes on clotheslines.
 Wash dishes with cold water and air dry.
 Turn off lights when leaving a room.
 Check the weather-stripping and caulking for leaks around doors and windows.
 Use a microwave oven or cook outside instead of using the stove or oven.
 Minimize the amount of time your refrigerator and freezer doors are open.
 Use natural lighting and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Ninety percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb makes heat.

DOE program recognizes Vickerman for wind advocacy

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2010

MORE INFORMATION
Michael Vickerman
RENEW Wisconsin
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Wind Energy Advocacy Award Presented to RENEW Wisconsin Director

RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman was presented with an award by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program. Vickerman received the Midwest Regional Wind Advocacy Award at the program’s annual state summit following the WINDPOWER 2010 Conference & Exhibition in Dallas, Texas. At this event, Wind Powering America recognized wind energy advocates in three regions across the country: East, West and Midwest.

The award cites Vickerman’s “vision and creative leadership in RENEW and his leadership of the Wisconsin Wind Working Group.” Under the auspices of Wind Powering America, RENEW Wisconsin has been facilitating the Wisconsin Wind Working Group since 2007.

“Recognition by one’s peers is a tremendous honor,” Vickerman said, “and it’s especially sweet coming from a national program that serves wind energy advocacy and education networks in 38 states.

“I am particularly pleased that the award specifically recognizes RENEW Wisconsin, which has been the state’s leading voice for strong renewable energy policies since 1991,” Vickerman said. “Wisconsin is a regional leader in many aspects involving renewable energy, and RENEW Wisconsin has been instrumental in making that happen.”

Wind Powering America is a national initiative to dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States. Through various partnerships and programs, it aspires to enhance power generation options as well as protect the local environment and increase our energy and national security.

“We in Wisconsin are indebted to Wind Powering America for providing us with the tools to put wind energy development in our state on a sustainable growth trajectory,” Vickerman said.

END

RENEW Wisconsin (www.renewwisconsin.org) 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.

DOE program recognizes Vickerman for wind advocacy

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2010

MORE INFORMATION
Michael Vickerman
RENEW Wisconsin
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Wind Energy Advocacy Award Presented to RENEW Wisconsin Director

RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman was presented with an award by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program. Vickerman received the Midwest Regional Wind Advocacy Award at the program’s annual state summit following the WINDPOWER 2010 Conference & Exhibition in Dallas, Texas. At this event, Wind Powering America recognized wind energy advocates in three regions across the country: East, West and Midwest.

The award cites Vickerman’s “vision and creative leadership in RENEW and his leadership of the Wisconsin Wind Working Group.” Under the auspices of Wind Powering America, RENEW Wisconsin has been facilitating the Wisconsin Wind Working Group since 2007.

“Recognition by one’s peers is a tremendous honor,” Vickerman said, “and it’s especially sweet coming from a national program that serves wind energy advocacy and education networks in 38 states.

“I am particularly pleased that the award specifically recognizes RENEW Wisconsin, which has been the state’s leading voice for strong renewable energy policies since 1991,” Vickerman said. “Wisconsin is a regional leader in many aspects involving renewable energy, and RENEW Wisconsin has been instrumental in making that happen.”

Wind Powering America is a national initiative to dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States. Through various partnerships and programs, it aspires to enhance power generation options as well as protect the local environment and increase our energy and national security.

“We in Wisconsin are indebted to Wind Powering America for providing us with the tools to put wind energy development in our state on a sustainable growth trajectory,” Vickerman said.

END

RENEW Wisconsin (www.renewwisconsin.org) 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.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

With biomass, green and not-so-green lines blur

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Wisconsin power projects spark questions about emissions from biomass vs. fossil fuels

How green can the energy produced by a biomass power plant be if it releases carbon dioxide into the air just like a coal or natural gas-fueled plant?

That's the question being raised about biomass projects, including one proposed by We Energies in Rothschild and another Xcel Energy Corp. is considering in Ashland.

"You can't assume that biomass is carbon-neutral. It depends on how many trees you plant and how fast they grow, and all sorts of variables," said Katie Nekola, energy program director at the conservation group Clean Wisconsin. "It's right to look at it case by case to see exactly what the carbon balance is going to be for any plant. . . ."

Milwaukee-based We Energies is proposing a $255 million, 50-megawatt power plant at the Domtar Corp. paper mill in Rothschild. Some residents in Rothschild, south of Wausau, have objected to the project because of concerns about air pollution that would be released by a new power plant located not far from a $770 million coal-fired power plant in Weston and south of Rothschild.

The utility said it proposed the biomass project as a way to help it comply with Wisconsin's renewable power mandate because it can generate electricity around the clock, unlike a wind farm. The project would supply steam to Domtar's paper mill and create up to 150 jobs, the utility said.

Critics call for a review


Critics of the project are asking the state Public Service Commission and Department of Natural Resources to do a full environmental review of the project.

A detailed review is not required and was not performed for the proposed Xcel Energy biomass plant in Ashland.

The agencies have not decided whether the review, known as an environmental impact statement, will be done for the We Energies project.

"Stop this biomass project now, please," Rebecca Simms of Rothschild said in a public comment filed with the state. "Biomass should no longer be considered an alternative to fossil fuels and should no longer be considered carbon-neutral, because it is not."

In a filing last week in response to an inquiry by state regulators, We Energies disclosed that carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions from the Rothschild plant would be about 590,000 tons a year.

The utility says that will be offset by the replanting of trees in the forest that will absorb carbon dioxide. . . .

In Madison, the state of Wisconsin has proposed a $250 million biomass and natural gas plant to replace a coal-fired plant that serves the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In Ashland, Xcel Energy would replace a coal-fired power plant with a biomass gasifier. The status of that project is uncertain, however, after the utility's cost estimate for the project ballooned by nearly 37% to $79.5 million.

With biomass, green and not-so-green lines blur

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Wisconsin power projects spark questions about emissions from biomass vs. fossil fuels

How green can the energy produced by a biomass power plant be if it releases carbon dioxide into the air just like a coal or natural gas-fueled plant?

That's the question being raised about biomass projects, including one proposed by We Energies in Rothschild and another Xcel Energy Corp. is considering in Ashland.

"You can't assume that biomass is carbon-neutral. It depends on how many trees you plant and how fast they grow, and all sorts of variables," said Katie Nekola, energy program director at the conservation group Clean Wisconsin. "It's right to look at it case by case to see exactly what the carbon balance is going to be for any plant. . . ."

Milwaukee-based We Energies is proposing a $255 million, 50-megawatt power plant at the Domtar Corp. paper mill in Rothschild. Some residents in Rothschild, south of Wausau, have objected to the project because of concerns about air pollution that would be released by a new power plant located not far from a $770 million coal-fired power plant in Weston and south of Rothschild.

The utility said it proposed the biomass project as a way to help it comply with Wisconsin's renewable power mandate because it can generate electricity around the clock, unlike a wind farm. The project would supply steam to Domtar's paper mill and create up to 150 jobs, the utility said.

Critics call for a review


Critics of the project are asking the state Public Service Commission and Department of Natural Resources to do a full environmental review of the project.

A detailed review is not required and was not performed for the proposed Xcel Energy biomass plant in Ashland.

The agencies have not decided whether the review, known as an environmental impact statement, will be done for the We Energies project.

"Stop this biomass project now, please," Rebecca Simms of Rothschild said in a public comment filed with the state. "Biomass should no longer be considered an alternative to fossil fuels and should no longer be considered carbon-neutral, because it is not."

In a filing last week in response to an inquiry by state regulators, We Energies disclosed that carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions from the Rothschild plant would be about 590,000 tons a year.

The utility says that will be offset by the replanting of trees in the forest that will absorb carbon dioxide. . . .

In Madison, the state of Wisconsin has proposed a $250 million biomass and natural gas plant to replace a coal-fired plant that serves the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In Ashland, Xcel Energy would replace a coal-fired power plant with a biomass gasifier. The status of that project is uncertain, however, after the utility's cost estimate for the project ballooned by nearly 37% to $79.5 million.

With biomass, green and not-so-green lines blur

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Wisconsin power projects spark questions about emissions from biomass vs. fossil fuels

How green can the energy produced by a biomass power plant be if it releases carbon dioxide into the air just like a coal or natural gas-fueled plant?

That's the question being raised about biomass projects, including one proposed by We Energies in Rothschild and another Xcel Energy Corp. is considering in Ashland.

"You can't assume that biomass is carbon-neutral. It depends on how many trees you plant and how fast they grow, and all sorts of variables," said Katie Nekola, energy program director at the conservation group Clean Wisconsin. "It's right to look at it case by case to see exactly what the carbon balance is going to be for any plant. . . ."

Milwaukee-based We Energies is proposing a $255 million, 50-megawatt power plant at the Domtar Corp. paper mill in Rothschild. Some residents in Rothschild, south of Wausau, have objected to the project because of concerns about air pollution that would be released by a new power plant located not far from a $770 million coal-fired power plant in Weston and south of Rothschild.

The utility said it proposed the biomass project as a way to help it comply with Wisconsin's renewable power mandate because it can generate electricity around the clock, unlike a wind farm. The project would supply steam to Domtar's paper mill and create up to 150 jobs, the utility said.

Critics call for a review


Critics of the project are asking the state Public Service Commission and Department of Natural Resources to do a full environmental review of the project.

A detailed review is not required and was not performed for the proposed Xcel Energy biomass plant in Ashland.

The agencies have not decided whether the review, known as an environmental impact statement, will be done for the We Energies project.

"Stop this biomass project now, please," Rebecca Simms of Rothschild said in a public comment filed with the state. "Biomass should no longer be considered an alternative to fossil fuels and should no longer be considered carbon-neutral, because it is not."

In a filing last week in response to an inquiry by state regulators, We Energies disclosed that carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions from the Rothschild plant would be about 590,000 tons a year.

The utility says that will be offset by the replanting of trees in the forest that will absorb carbon dioxide. . . .

In Madison, the state of Wisconsin has proposed a $250 million biomass and natural gas plant to replace a coal-fired plant that serves the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In Ashland, Xcel Energy would replace a coal-fired power plant with a biomass gasifier. The status of that project is uncertain, however, after the utility's cost estimate for the project ballooned by nearly 37% to $79.5 million.