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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Organic Valley gets "solar windows"

An article by Sharon Udasin in the Jerusalem Post:

Israel-based firm Pythagoras Solar has completed installing the world’s first “solar windows” that simultaneously generate electricity through solar power and also optimize the daylight coming through the windows, the company announced this week. The 20 windows were successfully integrated into the Organic Valley headquarters building in La Farge, Wisconsin.  With the new windows, workers inside the building are able to turn off artificial lights during the daytime, as the windows bring diffused natural light, instead of glare, into the building, the company said.

“By adopting these innovative windows, we are also helping to pave the way for this technology, which has the merit to become a standard in the design and construction of net zero energy buildings,” said Cecil Wright, vice president of sustainability and local operations at Organic Valley, in a statement released by Pythagoras.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Legislature should restore funding to Focus on Energy

From a guest commentary by Keith Reopelle and Charlie Higley in the Janseville Gazette:

In spring 2011, Gov. Scott Walker and legislative leaders significantly cut funding to Focus on Energy, the energy efficiency program that helps residents and businesses lower energy bills. A recent legislative audit demonstrates that the benefits of Focus on Energy more than double the program’s costs, and legislators should quickly restore lost funding in order to maximize the program’s cost-saving potential.

Focus on Energy was created in 2001 to help homeowners and businesses reduce energy costs. More than 2 million Wisconsin residents and businesses have participated in the program.

The statewide program helps keep energy bills affordable for all Wisconsinites by reducing energy use and preventing the need to build expensive new power plants and transmission lines that we all pay for with increased electricity bills.

In addition, Focus on Energy helps reduce the amount of money we spend to fuel our power plants. Wisconsin spends $12.5 billion every year on imported electricity and dirty, out-of-state fossil fuels. Much of that is spent on coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity and heat our homes. Investing in energy efficiency is the No. 1 way we can reduce that and keep money circulating within our own economy.

The audit released by the bipartisan Legislative Audit Bureau confirms that Focus on Energy successfully lowers energy bills and provides environmental and economic benefits that far outweigh program costs. For every $1 invested, residents and businesses save more than $2 on energy bills, according to the audit. This helped save more than $264 million on energy bills in 2010 alone. Since its inception, Focus on Energy has helped residents and businesses save more than $2 billion. . . .

Keith Reopelle is senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. Contact him at kreopelle@cleanwisconsin.org. Charlie Higley is executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin. Contact him at higley@wiscub.org.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Citizen and business action groups help leaders form energy policy




From a report by Alex Brasch on RENEW's Energy Policy Summit:

MADISON, Wis. - Can local governments work together with citizen action groups to effectively transition America away from reliance on fossil fuels? The answer in Wisconsin and Colorado seems to be yes.

Members of Wisconsin's renewable energy industry convened in Madison for the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Policy Summit last week. The diverse crowd of renewable energy manufacturers, installers, state utilities, environmental advocacy groups, university representatives, and government officials, including Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, came together to focus their efforts on retaking the initiative in the fight for a more sustainable energy future for Wisconsin.

Members heard from keynote speaker Leslie Glustrom, a biochemist who belongs to a similar organization in Boulder, Colo. - a group that recently led a successful ballot initiative to authorize creation of a municipal utility in that city.

Don Wichert, founder of RENEW and former chief of energy resources with the Wisconsin Department of Administration and current director of renewable energy services at the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation created the advocacy group more than 20 years ago to address government officials about clean energy development in the state.

Wichert said Wisconsin spends nearly $6 billion per year on imported coal, petroleum, and natural gas. "As a renewable energy advocacy group composed of concerned citizens, clean energy businesses, environmental organizations, and government employees, RENEW Wisconsin seeks to change the way people think about and consume energy through a combination of advocacy, education, and creative partnerships with state and local governments, businesses, utilities, and citizen groups," Wichert said.

Michael Vickerman, long-time executive director of RENEW, expressed optimism that, "despite current rollbacks of renewable energy policies, including the suspension of clean energy incentives and a weakening of state laws that leverage utility-purchased renewable energy, there is still a network of supportive local officials throughout the state." He challenged advocates to resist acquiescing to the current political situation, and instead, use the sum influence of the clean energy industry, including non-profits and concerned citizens, to drum up support for clean energy development. Vickerman provided three guiding principles as a springboard to start discussion on how to retake the initiative.

First, reframe the message by presenting the industry's true potential as a group of highly-motivated, dynamic organizations with a unifying business plan that will generate green jobs. Second, assert the fact that renewable energy is something intensely desired by businesses and citizens, because it gives customers more options, businesses increased market appeal, and a surefire pathway to more local jobs. And finally, pursue community-owned renewable projects that will keep energy production local and redirect investment into the area economy.

Citizen and business action groups help leaders form energy policy


From a report by Alex Brasch on RENEW's Energy Policy Summit:

MADISON, Wis. - Can local governments work together with citizen action groups to effectively transition America away from reliance on fossil fuels? The answer in Wisconsin and Colorado seems to be yes.

Members of Wisconsin's renewable energy industry convened in Madison for the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Policy Summit last week. The diverse crowd of renewable energy manufacturers, installers, state utilities, environmental advocacy groups, university representatives, and government officials, including Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, came together to focus their efforts on retaking the initiative in the fight for a more sustainable energy future for Wisconsin.

Members heard from keynote speaker Leslie Glustrom, a biochemist who belongs to a similar organization in Boulder, Colo. - a group that recently led a successful ballot initiative to authorize creation of a municipal utility in that city.

Don Wichert, founder of RENEW and former chief of energy resources with the Wisconsin Department of Administration and current director of renewable energy services at the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation created the advocacy group more than 20 years ago to address government officials about clean energy development in the state.

Wichert said Wisconsin spends nearly $6 billion per year on imported coal, petroleum, and natural gas. "As a renewable energy advocacy group composed of concerned citizens, clean energy businesses, environmental organizations, and government employees, RENEW Wisconsin seeks to change the way people think about and consume energy through a combination of advocacy, education, and creative partnerships with state and local governments, businesses, utilities, and citizen groups," Wichert said.

Michael Vickerman, long-time executive director of RENEW, expressed optimism that, "despite current rollbacks of renewable energy policies, including the suspension of clean energy incentives and a weakening of state laws that leverage utility-purchased renewable energy, there is still a network of supportive local officials throughout the state." He challenged advocates to resist acquiescing to the current political situation, and instead, use the sum influence of the clean energy industry, including non-profits and concerned citizens, to drum up support for clean energy development. Vickerman provided three guiding principles as a springboard to start discussion on how to retake the initiative.

First, reframe the message by presenting the industry's true potential as a group of highly-motivated, dynamic organizations with a unifying business plan that will generate green jobs. Second, assert the fact that renewable energy is something intensely desired by businesses and citizens, because it gives customers more options, businesses increased market appeal, and a surefire pathway to more local jobs. And finally, pursue community-owned renewable projects that will keep energy production local and redirect investment into the area economy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Only 20, not 200, years of coal; we have to move "so fast" to get to 100% renewables



Leslie Glustrom is the featured speaker at RENEW's Energy Policy Summit, January 13, Madison. Read the report that she mentions about 11 minutes into the interview.

Register and get details about the Summit at the Summit Web page.

Only 20, not 200, years of coal; we have to move "so fast" to get to 100% renewables



Leslie Glustrom is the featured speaker at RENEW's Energy Policy Summit, January 13, Madison. Read the report that she mentions about 11 minutes into the interview.

Register and get details about the Summit at the Summit Web page.

Only 20, not 200, years of coal; we have to move "so fast" to get to 100% renewables



Leslie Glustrom is the featured speaker at RENEW's Energy Policy Summit, January 13, Madison. Read the report that she mentions about 11 minutes into the interview.

Register and get details about the Summit at the Summit Web page.

Only 20, not 200, years of coal; we have to move "so fast" to get to 100% renewables



Leslie Glustrom is the featured speaker at RENEW's Energy Policy Summit, January 13, Madison. Read the report that she mentions about 11 minutes into the interview.

Register and get details about the Summit at the Summit Web page.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

See who and what companies are coming to RENEW Energy Policy Summit

It's 2012 and the world of energy is shifting fast. Will you be part of the conversation around the shape that will take in Wisconsin?

If you or your business plan to BUILD, BUY, or BE part of Wisconsin's renewable energy future, register NOW for RENEW's Energy Policy SUMMIT on Friday JANUARY 13th in Madison.

There are a LIMITED number of SPACES available for the RENEW Energy Policy Summit. REGISTER TODAY to make sure you have a seat in the room. Click here to register for the Summit.

Want to know who else will be at the Summit table? You can see which people and what companies are registered to participate in the RENEW Energy Policy Summit at the event home page Click here to see who's coming.

Set your clocks for 2012 and get to the table with RENEW Wisconsin.

RENEW Energy Policy Summit
Date: 1/13/2012 8:30 AM CST - 5:30 PM CST
Location: Pyle Center, UW-Madison Campus
702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703

For more informations and questions email Ed Blume.

See who and what companies are coming to RENEW Energy Policy Summit



It's 2012 and the world of energy is shifting fast. Will you be part of the conversation around the shape that will take in Wisconsin?

If you or your business plan to BUILD, BUY, or BE part of Wisconsin's renewable energy future, register NOW for RENEW's Energy Policy SUMMIT on Friday JANUARY 13th in Madison.

There are a LIMITED number of SPACES available for the RENEW Energy Policy Summit. REGISTER TODAY to make sure you have a seat in the room. Click here to register for the Summit.

Want to know who else will be at the Summit table? You can see which people and what companies are registered to participate in the RENEW Energy Policy Summit at the event home page Click here to see who's coming.

Set your clocks for 2012 and get to the table with RENEW Wisconsin.

RENEW Energy Policy Summit
Date: 1/13/2012 8:30 AM CST - 5:30 PM CST
Location: Pyle Center, UW-Madison Campus
702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703

For more informations and questions email Ed Blume.

See who and what companies are coming to RENEW Energy Policy Summit



It's 2012 and the world of energy is shifting fast. Will you be part of the conversation around the shape that will take in Wisconsin?

If you or your business plan to BUILD, BUY, or BE part of Wisconsin's renewable energy future, register NOW for RENEW's Energy Policy SUMMIT on Friday JANUARY 13th in Madison.

There are a LIMITED number of SPACES available for the RENEW Energy Policy Summit. REGISTER TODAY to make sure you have a seat in the room. Click here to register for the Summit.

Want to know who else will be at the Summit table? You can see which people and what companies are registered to participate in the RENEW Energy Policy Summit at the event home page Click here to see who's coming.

Set your clocks for 2012 and get to the table with RENEW Wisconsin.

RENEW Energy Policy Summit
Date: 1/13/2012 8:30 AM CST - 5:30 PM CST
Location: Pyle Center, UW-Madison Campus
702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703

For more informations and questions email Ed Blume.

See who and what companies are coming to RENEW Energy Policy Summit



It's 2012 and the world of energy is shifting fast. Will you be part of the conversation around the shape that will take in Wisconsin?

If you or your business plan to BUILD, BUY, or BE part of Wisconsin's renewable energy future, register NOW for RENEW's Energy Policy SUMMIT on Friday JANUARY 13th in Madison.

There are a LIMITED number of SPACES available for the RENEW Energy Policy Summit. REGISTER TODAY to make sure you have a seat in the room. Click here to register for the Summit.

Want to know who else will be at the Summit table? You can see which people and what companies are registered to participate in the RENEW Energy Policy Summit at the event home page Click here to see who's coming.

Set your clocks for 2012 and get to the table with RENEW Wisconsin.

RENEW Energy Policy Summit
Date: 1/13/2012 8:30 AM CST - 5:30 PM CST
Location: Pyle Center, UW-Madison Campus
702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703

For more informations and questions email Ed Blume.

Initiative aims to increase energy efficiency of student rentals at UW-EC

RENEW received the email below from Tyrel Zich, an intern in the SOS office on campus and an intern in the Economic Development and Community Service area of Xcel Energy:

After receiving an email about the RENEW Energy Policy Summit, I explored the RENEW webpage further and discovered your great news, blogs, and quarterly journal pages.

I wanted to inform you about a great program that Xcel Energy is doing in collaboration with students at UW-Eau Claire called $CORE – Student and Community outreach on Rental Efficiency. In a nutshell this program has students educating students in their rental properties about sustainability, energy conservation, and renewable energy while providing them with a free home audit and free conservation materials (CFLs, weather-stripping, window film, low-flow sink and shower heads).

Because students live in these rentals short-term they have no real interest in renewable energy; however, the educators will introduce and help students sign up for Xcel Energy’s Wind Source program which has all or part of their electricity being provided by renewable sources for a slightly higher cost. These programs are excellent and I want to make sure the entire State is informed about the great initiatives going on here in Eau Claire so we can implement them around the state.

More information:

http://www.uwec.edu/newsreleases/11/sept/0929SCORE.htm

http://www.weau.com/news/headlines/Off-campus_UWEC_students_to_CORE_on_their_energy_bills_131893838.html?ref=838

http://www.wqow.com/story/15789771/uw-eau-claire-finds-student-renters-a-way-to-cut-costs?

http://www.xcelenergy.com/Save_Money_&_Energy/For_Your_Home/Renewable_Energy_Programs/Windsource_for_Residences_-_WI

Monday, January 2, 2012

Renewable energy summit leader lauds Xcel’s new incentives

For immediate release

More information
Michael Vickerman
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org
608.255.4044

The economics of small-scale renewable energy in western Wisconsin will brighten in January when Xcel Energy’s new rates take effect for homeowners and businesses. In a recent rate case decision, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Xcel’s proposal to strengthen its support for renewable energy in its territory through higher payments for the energy produced by solar, wind, and biogas installations.

“Xcel’s energy initiative affirms the value of voluntary utility actions that provide needed incentives that support the continued growth of Wisconsin’s renewable energy economy,” said Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin’s Executive Director.

RENEW and other industry leaders will host an energy policy summit in January to formulate strategies for advancing in-state development of renewable energy through public policies and private initiatives. More information about the RENEW Energy Policy Summit can be found at http://www.renewwisconsin.org

In the same decision, the PSC strengthened Xcel’s net metering offering. Starting in January, the ceiling on qualifying systems rises from 20 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts in size, which will enable larger solar and wind systems to receive full retail value for energy sold to the utility up to the customer’s annual consumption.

“Net metering policy is a critically important facet of the renewable energy marketplace. At our January summit, we will tackle the thorny questions of how to strengthen this and other policies for assisting Wisconsin electricity customers who wish to capture the benefits of on-site renewable energy production.” Vickerman said.

-- END –

Sunday, January 1, 2012

News releases

2012
11.12.12 State's Renewable Standard Delivers Positive Results
09.27.12 RENEW Raps We Energies' Radical Proposal to Restrict Net Metering
09.11.12 Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card
07.17.12 Cashton Greens Community Wind Project Plows New Ground
07.11.12 RENEW Announces New Members of Board of Directors
07.05.12 Focus on Energy Resumes Offer of Renewable Energy Incentives
05.23.12 RENEW Rips WPS's Net Metering Proposal
04.17.12 PSC Issues Flawed Decision on Renewable Energy
03.16.12 RENEW Cheers End of Wind Siting Impasse

2011
10.13.11 RENEW Puts Solar Hot Water on the Wisconsin Map
09.27.11 Montfort Wind Farm Marks 10th Anniversary
08.08.11 Statement of Michael Vickerman on Alliant's Iowa Wind Energy Project
07.20.11 RENEW Debuts Wisconsin Renewable Energy Map
07.18.11 National Study Vindicates Wisconsin's Clean Energy Policies
07.05.11 Funding Hiatus Darkens Outlook for In-State Renewables
05.13.11 We Energies Terminates Its Renewable Energy Program
04.15.11 Rising Diesel Prices Fuel Higher Electric Rates
03.30.11 Second Wind Developer Foresakes Wisconsin for Greener Pastures
03.27.11 Hostile Regulatory Climate Sinks Brown County Wind Project.
03.01.11 Suspension of Wind Siting Rule endangers state’s economic future
01.18.11 Walker's wind siting proposal strips local control
01.10.11 Landowners and municipalities to reap millions from wind farm operations for 2010

2010
12.09.10 PSC Approves Final Wind Siting Rule; Improve Clean Energy Outlook
12.01.10 Wisconsin Cannot Afford to Ignore Rising Cost of Coal
09.16.10 MGE Rate Filing Rewards Fossil Fuel Use, Penalizes Renewable Energy
07.07.10 Uniformity Cited as Key to Wind Siting Success
06.09.10 Village of Cascade Installs Two Wind Turbines at Wastewater Plant
06.04.10 DOE program recognizes Vickerman for wind advocacy
05.24.10 Canadian company’s first U.S. turbine spins plenty of power for cranberry farm
04.27.10 Renewable Energy Not Responsible for MGE Rate Increase
04.23.10 RENEW Wisconsin Calls for Veto of Waste-to-energy bill
04.21.10 We Energies Wins Praise for Support of Clean Energies Job Act
04.15.10 RENEW Wisconsin Backs Amended Clean Energy Jobs Act
01.29.10 Hearing on Clean Energy Jobs Act bill trivialized Advanced Renewable Tariffs
01.21.10 RENEW denounces WMC's "fact-free flip-flop" on energy bill
01.11.10 Wind project approval will recharge state's economy

2009
12.22.09 Think tank flunks renewable energy analysis
12.15.09 Report: Wind turbines cause no human harm
10.30.09 PSC Approval of Bay Front Project Advances Wood Over Coal
10.23.09 Solar Outlook Set to Dim in 2010
09.15.09 State Senate strongly backs new rules for wind projects
08.27.09 PSC opens door for more in-state renewable installations
07.09.09 Statement on PSC approval of Alliant's Bent Tree project
05.08.09 State snares federal dollars for renewable energy work
01.22.09 Manitowoc County Says “No Can Do” to Windpower Project

2008
12.03.08 RENEW, Farmers Union, and partners launch Homegrown Renewable Energy Campaign
11.17.08 RENEW, Clean Wisconsin endorse Manitowoc wind project
11.11.08 RENEW's reaction to PSC rejection of Cassville coal plant
01.16.08 Calumet County morass blocks wind projects again

2007
12.18.07 Trempealeau sharply limits wind service