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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Developers seek to build large wind farm in St. Croix County

From an article by Clay Barbour in The Chippewa Herald:

MADISON – Developers have applied to the Public Service Commission for a permit to build a large wind farm in western Wisconsin, the first application of its kind in more than two years.

Emerging Energies applied this month to build Highland Wind Farm, a 41-turbine, 102.5-megawatt project in the St. Croix County towns of Forest and Cylon, about 25 miles east of the Minnesota border.

The application comes as new wind citing rules remain in limbo in the PSC, with officials trying to broker a deal between the wind industry and its critics.

William Rakocy, a founding member of Hubertus-based Emerging Energies, said his company understands there is still some uncertainty surrounding Wisconsin’s wind energy regulations, but he feels confident about the project.

“I guess we would like to believe that more reasonable minds will prevail,” he said.

The new wind siting rules, more than a year in the making, were suspended just before going into effect in March. Those rules required that wind turbines have a setback from the nearest property line of 1.1 times the height of the turbine, or roughly 450 feet. The rules also required turbines be no closer than 1,250 feet from the nearest residence.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Johnson Control wins Fort Bliss solar-energy contract

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

Johnson Controls Inc. has won a contract to reduce energy use and add solar energy at the nation's largest military installation, Fort Bliss in Texas and New Mexico.

A contract awarded Friday is valued at $16 million and is projected to save the Army post $39 million in energy costs over the next 24 years, Johnson Controls said.

The contract was awarded two weeks after President Barack Obama signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to make $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two years, using energy-saving performance contracts like those offered by Johnson Controls.

Some 5,500 solar panels will be installed at Fort Bliss, along with new utility monitoring and control systems to manage energy at 120 different buildings. Together, the solar panels and energy-efficiency measures aim to reduce electricity use during peak power demand periods.

Fort Bliss, which encompasses 1.2 million acres in west Texas and New Mexico, is the country's largest military installation and is undergoing a $4 billion expansion, the military's largest expansion at any military installation since World War II.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Biomass plant construction going full steam ahead

From an article by Jake Miller in the Wausau Daily Herald:

ROTHSCHILD -- A $255 million biomass power plant under construction in Rothschild already has put more than 75 people to work full time, providing them with family-sustaining wages, officials said.

The workers -- mostly general laborers, iron workers and carpenters -- have spent recent months pouring concrete and erecting the 11-story steel frame for a building that ultimately will house the plant's boiler, said Randy DeMeuse, vice president of operations for The Boldt Co., the Appleton-based firm overseeing construction.

The plant, a We Energies and Domtar Corp. project, remains on schedule after crews began to build the facility this summer, We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said. The plant at Domtar's Rothschild paper mill will generate steam for the papermaker and electricity for We Energies and is expected to be complete by late summer of 2013.

The state Public Service Commission approved the project this past summer after neighbors of the site waged a fierce battle to block its construction. Opponents cited pollution and visual concerns, while supporters argued the much-needed jobs outweighed those issues.

The number of people working on-site during construction is expected to climb to 250 by summer. If the project hits any delays, that number could grow to 400 because project managers would need to add a second shift of workers, DeMeuse said.

The number of people working on-site during construction is expected to climb to 250 by summer. If the project hits any delays, that number could grow to 400 because project managers would need to add a second shift of workers, DeMeuse said.

"That's just staff on site; it doesn't include truck drivers at all," he said. "Chances are we may peak out higher than (250)."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Highland Wind Farm, LLC files application for project in St. Croix County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 19, 2011 Contact: Kristin Ruesch or Matthew Pagel, 608-266-9600 Kristin.Ruesch@wisconsin.gov or Matt.Pagel@wisconsin.gov

Madison, WI—The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (Commission) has received an application from Highland Wind Farm, LLC to build a 102.5 megawatt wind project located in the townships of Forest and Cylon, St. Croix County, Wisconsin. When the application is deemed complete, the Commission will have up to 360 days to make a decision on the application.

An electric generation project of 100 megawatts (MW) or greater requires a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Commission.

The Commission has siting jurisdiction over all wind energy systems 100 MW or larger and over utility-owned wind energy systems, regardless of size.

A political subdivision (city, town, village, or county) has siting jurisdiction over non-utility wind energy systems smaller than 100 megawatts.

2009 Wisconsin Act 40 made several changes to the state statutes regarding the siting of wind energy systems. The law retained the jurisdictional split between the Commission and political subdivisions; directed the Commission to write wind siting rules; and stated that a political subdivision may not impose requirements that are more restrictive than those in the Commission’s wind siting rules.

In response, final Wind Siting Rules promulgated by the Commission (PSC 128) were published in the Wisconsin Administrative Register on February 28, 2011, to be effective March 1, 2011. Currently the rules are not in effect due to legislative suspension.

The Commission and interested parties are currently working to resolve concerns regarding wind siting for non-utility projects under 100 MW. Because Highland Wind Farm, LLC has planned a project surpassing the 100 MW threshold, the project application will be treated like any other CPCN application received by the Commission; however, the Commission is also statutorily required to “consider whether installation or use of the facility is consistent with the standards specified in the rules promulgated by the commission under Wis. Stats. §196.378 (4g) (b),” meaning the Commission will need to at least consider whether the application is consistent with the standards in the promulgated, yet suspended, PSC 128 rules.

Once the Commission receives all pieces of an application, the Commission has 30 days to determine whether the application is complete. After a CPCN application is deemed complete, the Commission urges the public to take advantage of the many opportunities to weigh in. The public is encouraged to read the Commission’s public notification letter, verify interested parties are included on the Commission mailing lists, review the application posted online, ask questions of the Commission staff, submit comments, and testify at hearings. Information can be found at the Commission’s web site, http://psc.wi.gov, and at local libraries, government offices, clerks’ offices, and within the environmental review documents that will be prepared for the project.

Wis. Stats. § 196.491 describes the procedures related to the issuance of a CPCN. The general application requirements for the CPCN are described in Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 111. An overview of a typical application review process can be found at: http://psc.wi.gov/thelibrary/publications/electric/electric03.pdf.

Documents associated with the Highland Wind Farm application can be viewed on the PSC’s Electronic Regulatory Filing System at http://psc.wi.gov/. Type case numbers 2535-CE-100 in the boxes provided on the PSC homepage, or click on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System button.

###

Why Scott Walker Killed Wind Energy Jobs in Wisconsin

From an article by Louis Weisberg in the Wisconsin Gazette:

When Wisconsin voters elected Scott Walker governor and handed Republicans control of the Legislature, about 1,000 new jobs in the emerging wind energy sector stood waiting on the state's horizon, according to industry proponents.

But Walker, who received at least $1.5 million in campaign cash directly from interests opposed to wind energy and much more indirectly, quickly quashed the rules that would have allowed those jobs - and the state's energy independence - to move forward.

Walker's move reportedly startled wind-energy supporters on both sides of the political aisle, since the so-called "wind siting" rules were ironed out during a year of negotiations with all the major stakeholders and approved by a two-thirds, bipartisan majority of lawmakers during the legislative session immediately preceding the state's GOP takeover.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cashton community wind project under way

An article by Danielle Endvick in The Country Today:

The turbine foundations have been built and basic infrastructure is in place for Wisconsin's first community wind project.

Cashton Greens Wind Farm, set to begin operation this spring near Highway 27 southwest of Cashton in Monroe County, is expected to generate nearly 5 megawatts of energy, enough to power 1,000 Cashton homes annually.

The $11 million renewable energy project is a collaborative effort of the Village of Cashton, Gundersen Lutheran Health System and Organic Valley, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers.

Cecil Wright, Organic Valley director of sustainability, said planning on the wind farm, which is being erected on land near the cooperative's distribution center, began in 2008.

"It's taken a lot of discussion and a lot of learning," he said.

The project is one of several Organic Valley has spearheaded in an effort to gain energy independence. Others included the use of biodiesel in its truck fleet, solar photovoltaic windows in its headquarters and solar hot water panels in its cheese packaging plant and cafe.

The cooperative also encourages energy efficiency for its members through an On-Farm Sustainability Program.

"Our farmers and board have always wanted us to be responsible and get involved in renewable energy," Wright said. "Climate change is real for us, there's no doubt about that. Our farmers get that, our organization gets it, our consumers get it."


Electricity generated from Cashton Green's two commercial-scale turbines will flow into the Cashton power grid. The village invested in the wind farm's infrastructure.

As developers and owners of Cashton Greens, Organic Valley and Gundersen will receive income per kilowatt hour generated. Through a renewable energy contract with the Upper Midwest Municipal Power Agency, the two companies will buy back energy to offset their footprints.

"We'll turn around and buy it back after it goes through the system," Wright said, "but the actual electrons will be used by the village."

The partner companies will benefit from renewable energy credits.

Wright said the wind farm will allow Organic Valley to hedge rising energy costs.

"As the price of electric goes up, our project revenue will go up with it," he said.

A pre-project performance study suggested a pay-off point of 20 years, he said.

"If the cost of electricity goes up, it should more than pay for itself in that time," he said.

A plan for independence

Cashton Greens is one step in a long-term plan to make Gundersen Lutheran energy independent by 2014.

Corey Zarecki, director of engineering and operations for Envision, Gundersen's renewable energy program, said the health care system has aggressively worked toward that goal since 2008.

"Within the first 18 months, we improved energy efficiency by 20 percent," he said.

Zarecki said Gundersen's interest in renewable energy was spurred by increasing utility costs.

In 2007, the system's energy costs were increasing at a rate of more than $350,000 per year.

"Those costs were translating as higher health care costs," Zarecki said. "We chose to do something about it."

The resulting renewable energy program has led to implementation of solar and biomass electric, a heat and power partnership with a local brewery, and an Onalaska landfill gas energy project that will be operational in 2012.

Gundersen is also tied to a similar wind farm site near Lewiston, Minn., that should be running by New Year's, Zarecki said.

"Our overall goal with Envision is to be both ‘green' and ‘green,' " he said. "We want to reduce the cost of health care while being green from the environmental perspective and the financial perspective."

Most Envision projects have had paybacks of five to 10 years, Zarecki said.

The health care provider is invested in improving the communities it serves, he said.

"If you think about a hospital, we've been the community for 100 years," he said, "and we hope to be in the community for longer than that, into the future."

With the wind farm and completion of recent solar projects, Wright said renewable energy will account for 10 percent of energy usage at the Organic Valley headquarters.

The wind farm will also serve as a living lab for students from the Western Technical College of La Crosse.

Wright and Zarecki said they hope Cashton Greens sets an example.

"Most wind projects are done by developers or utilities," Wright said. "It's a little more unusual for companies and a community to get together."

Michels Corporation, a Brownsville-based contractor will install the turbines.

The partners are anxious to see the turbines at work.

"The tower and blades will show up in February, and we'll begin installation in March," Wright said. "We're hoping to have things turning by May."

Cashton community wind project under way

An article by Danielle Endvick in The Country Today:

The turbine foundations have been built and basic infrastructure is in place for Wisconsin's first community wind project.

Cashton Greens Wind Farm, set to begin operation this spring near Highway 27 southwest of Cashton in Monroe County, is expected to generate nearly 5 megawatts of energy, enough to power 1,000 Cashton homes annually.

The $11 million renewable energy project is a collaborative effort of the Village of Cashton, Gundersen Lutheran Health System and Organic Valley, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers.

Cecil Wright, Organic Valley director of sustainability, said planning on the wind farm, which is being erected on land near the cooperative's distribution center, began in 2008.

"It's taken a lot of discussion and a lot of learning," he said.

The project is one of several Organic Valley has spearheaded in an effort to gain energy independence. Others included the use of biodiesel in its truck fleet, solar photovoltaic windows in its headquarters and solar hot water panels in its cheese packaging plant and cafe.

The cooperative also encourages energy efficiency for its members through an On-Farm Sustainability Program.

"Our farmers and board have always wanted us to be responsible and get involved in renewable energy," Wright said. "Climate change is real for us, there's no doubt about that. Our farmers get that, our organization gets it, our consumers get it."


Electricity generated from Cashton Green's two commercial-scale turbines will flow into the Cashton power grid. The village invested in the wind farm's infrastructure.

As developers and owners of Cashton Greens, Organic Valley and Gundersen will receive income per kilowatt hour generated. Through a renewable energy contract with the Upper Midwest Municipal Power Agency, the two companies will buy back energy to offset their footprints.

"We'll turn around and buy it back after it goes through the system," Wright said, "but the actual electrons will be used by the village."

The partner companies will benefit from renewable energy credits.

Wright said the wind farm will allow Organic Valley to hedge rising energy costs.

"As the price of electric goes up, our project revenue will go up with it," he said.

A pre-project performance study suggested a pay-off point of 20 years, he said.

"If the cost of electricity goes up, it should more than pay for itself in that time," he said.

A plan for independence

Cashton Greens is one step in a long-term plan to make Gundersen Lutheran energy independent by 2014.

Corey Zarecki, director of engineering and operations for Envision, Gundersen's renewable energy program, said the health care system has aggressively worked toward that goal since 2008.

"Within the first 18 months, we improved energy efficiency by 20 percent," he said.

Zarecki said Gundersen's interest in renewable energy was spurred by increasing utility costs.

In 2007, the system's energy costs were increasing at a rate of more than $350,000 per year.

"Those costs were translating as higher health care costs," Zarecki said. "We chose to do something about it."

The resulting renewable energy program has led to implementation of solar and biomass electric, a heat and power partnership with a local brewery, and an Onalaska landfill gas energy project that will be operational in 2012.

Gundersen is also tied to a similar wind farm site near Lewiston, Minn., that should be running by New Year's, Zarecki said.

"Our overall goal with Envision is to be both ‘green' and ‘green,' " he said. "We want to reduce the cost of health care while being green from the environmental perspective and the financial perspective."

Most Envision projects have had paybacks of five to 10 years, Zarecki said.

The health care provider is invested in improving the communities it serves, he said.

"If you think about a hospital, we've been the community for 100 years," he said, "and we hope to be in the community for longer than that, into the future."

With the wind farm and completion of recent solar projects, Wright said renewable energy will account for 10 percent of energy usage at the Organic Valley headquarters.

The wind farm will also serve as a living lab for students from the Western Technical College of La Crosse.

Wright and Zarecki said they hope Cashton Greens sets an example.

"Most wind projects are done by developers or utilities," Wright said. "It's a little more unusual for companies and a community to get together."

Michels Corporation, a Brownsville-based contractor will install the turbines.

The partners are anxious to see the turbines at work.

"The tower and blades will show up in February, and we'll begin installation in March," Wright said. "We're hoping to have things turning by May."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Years Later, Wisconsin Wind Farm Fears Fail to Materialize

From an article by Rick Chamberlin in Midwest Energy News:

LINCOLN TOWNSHIP, Wis. — When the 31 Vestas wind turbines in northeast Kewaunee County, Wisconsin began producing electricity in the summer of 1999, a moderate Republican named Tommy Thompson was a few months into his fourth term as governor. Relative peace reigned between the parties in the legislature, statewide unemployment was at a record low and the Dow had just topped 10,000 for the first time.

But in Lincoln and Red River townships, where the turbines were erected, the climate was anything but mild. Residents’ tempers had been flaring since before April 1998 when Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) hosted the first meetings in the community about its plans to build 11.2 megawatts of wind power in the area. Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), a Green Bay-based utility, had also announced its intention to build a large-scale wind farm in the area.

Despite the heat, the two utilities found more than enough landowners in the two towns willing to host all 31 turbines, and the town boards soon voted to approve conditional use permits for the projects. But pressure from several vocal landowners convinced the Lincoln town board in February of 1999 to amend its zoning ordinance to require board affirmation of all applications for future conditional use permits. A few months later, both townships adopted 18-month moratoriums on future wind farm sitings.

“We had some real knock-down-drag-outs,” said Mick Sagrillo, who chaired a committee charged with evaluating the impact of the projects on residents and proposing any changes to the permit process. More than anything, Sagrillo said, people feared change. . . .

A 2003 study by the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) found “no significant evidence that the presence of the wind farms had a negative effect on residential property values” in the communities closest to the Kewaunee County turbines. . . .

When asked if dollars promised to landowners and the townships have materialized, Jerabek said, “I haven’t had any landowners complain that they haven’t received their lease payment.”

An excellent video tells the same story.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Potawatomi plan $18.5 million biomass energy project next to Milwaukee casino

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

The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe is proposing to build an $18.5 million biogas energy project adjacent to its Menomonee Valley casino.

The renewable energy plan calls for construction of an anaerobic digester that would produce both electricity as well as heat that would provide for hot water and heating to the casino.

The digester would produce gas from wastes produced by the food processing industry, the Potatatomi said in a proposal filed with the City of Milwaukee.

The tribe estimated the project would create 61 construction jobs and five full-time jobs. If all approvals are obtained, construction would begin in late spring and be completed by early spring in 2013.

The facility would be located one block west of the casino on the site of what is now a parking lot for casino employees. The tribe says it has ample parking at the casino and that the development would not result in additional street parking.

The tribe was awarded a $2.5 million grant for a variety of renewable energy projects from the U.S. Department of Energy. This project would be funded, as well as a recently completed solar installation at the tribe's administration building in Milwaukee and renewable energy projects that are in the planning stage on the tribe's reservation in northern Wisconsin.

Under the proposal, the biogas project would generate 2 megawatts of electricity, which would be sold to We Energies. That is enough power to supply about 1,500 typical homes. The project would include heat recovery equipment to proivde heat and hot water for the digesters themselves as well as excess heat that would be used to supply heat and hot water to the casino.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coal Critic Coming to Madison to Speak on Effective Renewable Energy Advocacy, January 13, 2012

For immediate release
December 7, 2011

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Leslie Glustrom, research director of Colorado-based Clean Energy Action, and an unwavering critic of utility reliance on coal for electricity generation, will be the featured speaker at RENEW Wisconsin’s Energy Policy Summit.

The Summit will be held on Friday, January 13, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Pyle Center located on the UW-Madison campus. Summit attendees will spend the day discussing and selecting renewable energy strategies that make sense in the current political environment in Wisconsin. More information on the Summit can be found on the RENEW Wisconsin website at http://www.renewwisconsin.org.

As research director, Glustrom authored in 2009 an extensively referenced report on U.S. coal supplies titled, “Coal—Cheap and Abundant—Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming that the US has a 200-Year Supply of Coal,” available for free at http://www.cleanenergyaction.org.

Since 2009, Glustrom has traveled to numerous states helping them to understand the likely constraints on their coal supplies.

Glustrom’s on-going research illuminates a future in which coal prices will likely continue to escalate, driven by a combination of less accessible coal supplies, increasing demand from Asian countries, and rising diesel fuel costs for hauling coal to distant markets like Wisconsin.

Clean Energy Action is spearheading a campaign to shut down Colorado’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with locally generated renewable electricity.

“Leslie’s experiences with Clean Energy Action can help Wisconsin renewable energy advocates formulate effective strategies for 2012 and beyond,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.

“Even though Colorado is a coal-producing state, it has adopted some of the most aggressive policies in the country for advancing renewable energy,” said Vickerman. “Colorado’s commitment to clean energy is driving its economy at a time when its coal output is diminishing. For example, Vestas, the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines with four plants employing 1,700 people in Colorado, supplied 90 turbines this year to Wisconsin’s largest wind project, the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County.”

“Leslie will inspire us to reverse the retreat from renewables and retake the initiative going forward,” Vickerman said.

In Boulder, Glustrom was part of the team that led the successful 2010 and 2011 ballot initiatives allowing Boulder to move ahead with plans to municipalize and break away from the long term commitment to coal plants made by their incumbent utility, Xcel Energy.

-- END --

Coal Critic Coming to Madison to Speak on Effective Renewable Energy Advocacy, January 13, 2012

For immediate release
December 7, 2011

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Leslie Glustrom, research director of Colorado-based Clean Energy Action, and an unwavering critic of utility reliance on coal for electricity generation, will be the featured speaker at RENEW Wisconsin’s Energy Policy Summit.

The Summit will be held on Friday, January 13, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Pyle Center located on the UW-Madison campus. Summit attendees will spend the day discussing and selecting renewable energy strategies that make sense in the current political environment in Wisconsin. More information on the Summit can be found on the RENEW Wisconsin website at http://www.renewwisconsin.org.

As research director, Glustrom authored in 2009 an extensively referenced report on U.S. coal supplies titled, “Coal—Cheap and Abundant—Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming that the US has a 200-Year Supply of Coal,” available for free at http://www.cleanenergyaction.org.

Since 2009, Glustrom has traveled to numerous states helping them to understand the likely constraints on their coal supplies.

Glustrom’s on-going research illuminates a future in which coal prices will likely continue to escalate, driven by a combination of less accessible coal supplies, increasing demand from Asian countries, and rising diesel fuel costs for hauling coal to distant markets like Wisconsin.

Clean Energy Action is spearheading a campaign to shut down Colorado’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with locally generated renewable electricity.

“Leslie’s experiences with Clean Energy Action can help Wisconsin renewable energy advocates formulate effective strategies for 2012 and beyond,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.

“Even though Colorado is a coal-producing state, it has adopted some of the most aggressive policies in the country for advancing renewable energy,” said Vickerman. “Colorado’s commitment to clean energy is driving its economy at a time when its coal output is diminishing. For example, Vestas, the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines with four plants employing 1,700 people in Colorado, supplied 90 turbines this year to Wisconsin’s largest wind project, the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County.”

“Leslie will inspire us to reverse the retreat from renewables and retake the initiative going forward,” Vickerman said.

In Boulder, Glustrom was part of the team that led the successful 2010 and 2011 ballot initiatives allowing Boulder to move ahead with plans to municipalize and break away from the long term commitment to coal plants made by their incumbent utility, Xcel Energy.

-- END --

Coal Critic Coming to Madison to Speak on Effective Renewable Energy Advocacy, January 13, 2012

For immediate release
December 7, 2011

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Leslie Glustrom, research director of Colorado-based Clean Energy Action, and an unwavering critic of utility reliance on coal for electricity generation, will be the featured speaker at RENEW Wisconsin’s Energy Policy Summit.

The Summit will be held on Friday, January 13, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Pyle Center located on the UW-Madison campus. Summit attendees will spend the day discussing and selecting renewable energy strategies that make sense in the current political environment in Wisconsin. More information on the Summit can be found on the RENEW Wisconsin website at http://www.renewwisconsin.org.

As research director, Glustrom authored in 2009 an extensively referenced report on U.S. coal supplies titled, “Coal—Cheap and Abundant—Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming that the US has a 200-Year Supply of Coal,” available for free at http://www.cleanenergyaction.org.

Since 2009, Glustrom has traveled to numerous states helping them to understand the likely constraints on their coal supplies.

Glustrom’s on-going research illuminates a future in which coal prices will likely continue to escalate, driven by a combination of less accessible coal supplies, increasing demand from Asian countries, and rising diesel fuel costs for hauling coal to distant markets like Wisconsin.

Clean Energy Action is spearheading a campaign to shut down Colorado’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with locally generated renewable electricity.

“Leslie’s experiences with Clean Energy Action can help Wisconsin renewable energy advocates formulate effective strategies for 2012 and beyond,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.

“Even though Colorado is a coal-producing state, it has adopted some of the most aggressive policies in the country for advancing renewable energy,” said Vickerman. “Colorado’s commitment to clean energy is driving its economy at a time when its coal output is diminishing. For example, Vestas, the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines with four plants employing 1,700 people in Colorado, supplied 90 turbines this year to Wisconsin’s largest wind project, the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County.”

“Leslie will inspire us to reverse the retreat from renewables and retake the initiative going forward,” Vickerman said.

In Boulder, Glustrom was part of the team that led the successful 2010 and 2011 ballot initiatives allowing Boulder to move ahead with plans to municipalize and break away from the long term commitment to coal plants made by their incumbent utility, Xcel Energy.

-- END --

Coal Critic Coming to Madison to Speak on Effective Renewable Energy Advocacy, January 13, 2012

For immediate release
December 7, 2011

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Leslie Glustrom, research director of Colorado-based Clean Energy Action, and an unwavering critic of utility reliance on coal for electricity generation, will be the featured speaker at RENEW Wisconsin’s Energy Policy Summit.

The Summit will be held on Friday, January 13, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Pyle Center located on the UW-Madison campus. Summit attendees will spend the day discussing and selecting renewable energy strategies that make sense in the current political environment in Wisconsin. More information on the Summit can be found on the RENEW Wisconsin website at http://www.renewwisconsin.org.

As research director, Glustrom authored in 2009 an extensively referenced report on U.S. coal supplies titled, “Coal—Cheap and Abundant—Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming that the US has a 200-Year Supply of Coal,” available for free at http://www.cleanenergyaction.org.

Since 2009, Glustrom has traveled to numerous states helping them to understand the likely constraints on their coal supplies.
Glustrom’s on-going research illuminates a future in which coal prices will likely continue to escalate, driven by a combination of less accessible coal supplies, increasing demand from Asian countries, and rising diesel fuel costs for hauling coal to distant markets like Wisconsin.

Clean Energy Action is spearheading a campaign to shut down Colorado’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with locally generated renewable electricity.

“Leslie’s experiences with Clean Energy Action can help Wisconsin renewable energy advocates formulate effective strategies for 2012 and beyond,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.

“Even though Colorado is a coal-producing state, it has adopted some of the most aggressive policies in the country for advancing renewable energy,” said Vickerman. “Colorado’s commitment to clean energy is driving its economy at a time when its coal output is diminishing. For example, Vestas, the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines with four plants employing 1,700 people in Colorado, supplied 90 turbines this year to Wisconsin’s largest wind project, the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County.”

“Leslie will inspire us to reverse the retreat from renewables and retake the initiative going forward,” Vickerman said.


In Boulder, Glustrom was part of the team that led the successful 2010 and 2011 ballot initiatives allowing Boulder to move ahead with plans to municipalize and break away from the long term commitment to coal plants made by their incumbent utility, Xcel Energy.

-- END --

Coal Critic Coming to Madison to Speak on Effective Renewable Energy Advocacy, January 13, 2012

For immediate release
December 7, 2011

More information
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Leslie Glustrom, research director of Colorado-based Clean Energy Action, and an unwavering critic of utility reliance on coal for electricity generation, will be the featured speaker at RENEW Wisconsin’s Energy Policy Summit.

The Summit will be held on Friday, January 13, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Pyle Center located on the UW-Madison campus. Summit attendees will spend the day discussing and selecting renewable energy strategies that make sense in the current political environment in Wisconsin. More information on the Summit can be found on the RENEW Wisconsin website at http://www.renewwisconsin.org.

As research director, Glustrom authored in 2009 an extensively referenced report on U.S. coal supplies titled, “Coal—Cheap and Abundant—Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming that the US has a 200-Year Supply of Coal,” available for free at http://www.cleanenergyaction.org.

Since 2009, Glustrom has traveled to numerous states helping them to understand the likely constraints on their coal supplies.
Glustrom’s on-going research illuminates a future in which coal prices will likely continue to escalate, driven by a combination of less accessible coal supplies, increasing demand from Asian countries, and rising diesel fuel costs for hauling coal to distant markets like Wisconsin.

Clean Energy Action is spearheading a campaign to shut down Colorado’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with locally generated renewable electricity.

“Leslie’s experiences with Clean Energy Action can help Wisconsin renewable energy advocates formulate effective strategies for 2012 and beyond,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.

“Even though Colorado is a coal-producing state, it has adopted some of the most aggressive policies in the country for advancing renewable energy,” said Vickerman. “Colorado’s commitment to clean energy is driving its economy at a time when its coal output is diminishing. For example, Vestas, the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines with four plants employing 1,700 people in Colorado, supplied 90 turbines this year to Wisconsin’s largest wind project, the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County.”

“Leslie will inspire us to reverse the retreat from renewables and retake the initiative going forward,” Vickerman said.


In Boulder, Glustrom was part of the team that led the successful 2010 and 2011 ballot initiatives allowing Boulder to move ahead with plans to municipalize and break away from the long term commitment to coal plants made by their incumbent utility, Xcel Energy.

-- END --

Monday, December 5, 2011

Local firms join energy efficiency effort backed by Obama, Clinton

From an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Washington - President Barack Obama is enlisting former President Bill Clinton and companies including Briggs & Stratton Corp., Kohl's Corp., 3M and Alcoa Inc. in a $4 billion initiative to cut energy costs in buildings and encourage hiring for construction jobs.

The program, which the administration forecast would create tens of thousands of jobs, is expected to provide work for energy service contracting firms including Johnson Controls Inc. and Trane.

It combines $2 billion in energy-efficiency upgrades over two years for federal buildings along with commitments from companies, cities and universities to put $2 billion into similar efforts.

The improvements to government buildings will be made under an existing federal program that uses private financing, according to the administration. The goal: boost buildings' energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2020.

"This is good business" that will help create jobs and promote energy independence, Clinton said after he and Obama toured a building in Washington that is being retrofitted. "It's the nearest thing we've got to a free lunch in a tough economy."

Obama is expanding the "Better Building Initiative" he announced in February and joining it with a White House effort to spark hiring that was begun after the president's $447 billion jobs plan stalled in Congress.

Johnson Controls is among 17 contractors, including Honeywell International, Trane and Ameresco, that are active contractors in a government program that pays for energy-saving projects through the savings the government sees over time on its energy bills.

Friday's announcement is a sizable boost for a program that Johnson Controls has worked on since it launched in 1998, said Clay Nesler, Johnson Controls vice president.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Iowa farmers find profits blowing in the wind

From an article by Jim Offner in The Courier:

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Of the 480 acres Tim Hemphill owns and 1,200 he farms near Milford, he sets aside three for two wind-turbine towers.

In exchange for the small plot of land Hemphill would have devoted to his corn and soybean products, he collects $20,000 a year.

"It's worth it, even with high grain prices," Hemphill said. "When we put them up, corn was around $3 a bushel, and it has doubled since then, but it's still worth it."

"The check's always good," he said.

Hemphills's towers have been up for two years, and the checks will flow in quarterly for the run of a 30-year contract, he said.

Hemphill said he is but one of an increasing number of Iowa farmers who have watched wind towers go up on their acreages.

"There's quite a few farmers I know who have them," he said. "My neighbor has six of them and another with seven."

Hemphill said his motivation transcends finances, although he acknowledges the income certainly doesn't hurt.

"I think we need more green energy," he said. "People in California and the cities have brownouts. Besides, it's a good revenue source."