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Thursday, November 17, 2011

RENEW applauds Organic Valley & Gundersen for first community wind project in Wisconsin

A news release from RENEW:

Construction is now proceeding on the Cashton Greens Wind Project, Wisconsin’s first community wind project. Consisting of two 2.5 megawatt turbines, this innovative installation will serve two well-known western Wisconsin organizations – Organic Valley, La Farge, and Gundersen Health System, La Crosse. The two organizations are partnering in the development and ownership of this project.

“We at RENEW salute Organic Valley and Gundersen for demonstrating the viability of a large-scale wind turbine project in Wisconsin as a strategy for controlling their energy expenses and reducing their reliance on fossil fuels, said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.

According to the two companies, the generated electricity will account for five percent of Gundersen’s energy independence goal and more than offset the electricity usage at both Organic Valley’s distribution center in Cashton and its headquarters facilities in La Farge.

“This is leadership by example at its finest. In this case, two economic linchpins in their region have joined forces to incorporate on-site renewable energy production into their base operations,” said Vickerman.

“Organic Valley and Gundersen join a group of farsighted Wisconsin businesses that are taking great strides toward energy independence and sustainability, among them Epic Systems (Verona), Johnson Controls (Milwaukee), and Montchevré, a goat cheese producer in Belmont.”

Erecting wind turbines using in-state contractors, in this case Michels Corporation (Brownsville), will generate jobs for workers and business for local suppliers and subcontractors.

This project was supported with incentives from Focus on Energy, the statewide energy efficiency and renewables program funded by Wisconsin’s utility ratepayers.

“Ironically, this project occurs at a time when our state government is back-pedaling on policies and incentives to boost renewable energy as a means of moving toward energy independence. In contrast to Wisconsin’s elected officials, leading Wisconsin companies certainly ʽget it’ when it comes to the economic and environmental values of renewable energy,” said Vickerman.

For more information about this project and its owners/developers visit Organic Valley’s news room at http://www.organicvalley.coop/newsroom.

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