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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sustainability Summit - Milwaukee

Will we see you at the Sustainability Summit? Register by 1/31/13 for the early bird discount.


Sustainability Summit - Milwaukee

Will we see you at the Sustainability Summit? Register by 1/31/13 for the early bird discount.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Solar Outside the Sunbelt: Wisconsin

It’s only an ambiguity in the law that stands between Wisconsin and a solar boom. 

Herman K. Trabish Published in Greentechmedia on 1/22/2013

Wisconsin has better sunlight than installed solar capacity world leader Germany -- but a political fight now brewing in the state could determine whether Wisconsin will use its solar potential.

“What we are trying to do with Clean Energy Choice is clarify an ambiguity in state law,” explained RENEW Wisconsin Program and Policy Director Michael Vickerman. “If we don’t clear it up, anybody who puts a system on somebody else’s house and sells the energy to the occupant is in danger of being regulated as a public utility.”

Read the FULL ARTICLE, including graphs and images

Thursday, January 24, 2013

RENEW's Keynote, Bill Ritter, with Milwaukee Public Radio

Just before RENEW's policy summit, the keynote speaker, former Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, did an excellent interview on Milwaukee Public Radio. Listen to the interview below, or read the article "Colorado's Renewable Energy Economy Offers Model for Wisconsin" with Susan Bence (attached below).



The Port of Milwaukee announced this week that the wind turbine that supplies energy to the port’s administration building has been paying dividends to the city.  In less than a year of operation, the turbine shifted electrical costs at the port by almost $15,000 dollars.  In fact, the electrical utility actually paid the port for the surplus energy it produced.

Bill Ritter, delivering the keynote at RENEW 's Summit
This news is likely music to the ears of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who championed alternative sources of energy during his time in office. Ritter is now the Director for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, where he is helping states across the country create plans to implement renewable energy economies.  And he’s in Wisconsin this week as the keynote speaker at the RENEW's Energy Policy Summit in Madison.

Aggressive renewable energy standards

Ritter says energy issues first emerged as a priority in his political career when he was campaigning for governor in 2005 and 2006. His campaign focused on renewable energy as a way to move Colorado forward and it became a pillar of his administration’s agenda. Once in office, he signed 57 clean energy bills.

Now Colorado is one of the leaders in the country when it comes to alternative energy. Ritter says the state is on the path to supplying 30 percent renewable energy by 2020, “one of the most aggressive renewable energy standards in America.”

Today, Wisconsin has a renewable energy standard of 10 percent by 2015, but Ritter says a lot of that power comes from outside the state, whereas Colorado’s is mostly in-state.

“Actually our cost of power relative to the rest of America has gotten cheaper as we’ve pushed this very aggressive clean energy agenda,” he says. “We had a day last April where our primary and best run utility got 57 percent of all its energy that it provided Colorado customers from wind alone.”

Building a 'new energy economy'

Of course, the cost has gone down because of broad deployment of such methods. In building this “new energy economy,” Ritter says Colorado attracted manufacturing companies that focused on wind and solar energy, and promoted research and development among private companies and government entities.

“We really have this ecosystem built around advanced energy or clean energy, and really trying to say, ‘It could be domestic, it could be clean, it could help us create job and we can protect rate fares in the process,’” he says.

Facing challenges

But Ritter admits creating this “new energy economy” didn’t come without its hurdles. Some utilities and critics opposed the government creating a renewable energy standard, which at first was 10 percent by 2015.

“People say we don’t like standards because it’s a mandate,” Ritter says. “Quite frankly the entirely energy sector has been heavily regulated since it’s inception, and so to say something like renewable energy standards are a mandate and we should do away with it, I think it’s just wrong, because everything in energy is based on regulation. It is not the operation of free market and it’s that way by intention.”

So voters went to the ballot and passed the standard. Soon, after the state legislature put in a rate cap, the utilities were on board, approving of a doubling of the standard and eventually a tripling of it. Ritter says that’s because the utilities saw that they could make the benchmark, they could hold rates in check and get returns on their investment, and they could make customers happy.

“Actually our cost of power relative to the rest of America has gotten cheaper as we’ve pushed this very aggressive clean energy agenda." -former Colorado governor Bill Ritter

Dealing with the utilities was not the only problem the state encountered in getting behind renewable energy. The coal industry, which provided many mining jobs in the state, felt their market share was being taken by renewable energy. A plan to pay residents who built their own system and put power back onto the grid required some finagling. And naturally, political adversaries made it difficult for the legislation to get to Ritter's desk.

“I think the public liked it and got it, but I still had a difficult time politically with it, even with public support, because it doesn’t have the sort of intensity, the political intensity, that other issues might like the economy or job creation,” Ritter says.

He says his opponents claimed such an energy policy would lose jobs in the state, at a time when job creation was at a premium.

“That was really an awful thing to have said about you,” he says. “But our clean energy and clean tech sector wound up being the only sector that grew during the worst recession since the Great Depression in Colorado.”

Now Colorado is second in the country for solar jobs and number one per capita for employment for clean energy jobs overall, Ritter says.

Pushing the agenda

Based on his experience in Colorado, Ritter has some advice for Wisconsin in committing to renewable energy, which he says works handily with a free market. Leasing solar installations on buildings is one way to start.

“Last year over 80 percent of the rooftops in Colorado that installed solar were leased systems, so it’s a great economic development driver,” he says, citing similar success in California and Arizona.
At the Center for the New Energy Economy, Ritter says he is trying to push this whole agenda forward at the state level, from the financing to the R&D on advanced energy technologies to the practical implementation.

“How do we push this whole agenda forward at the state level, so a state can look at their energy economy and say, ‘We’re really about the 21st century,” and we’re tying domestic energy use with environmental issues, (and) economic development,” he says.

See the original article here.

RENEW's Keynote, Bill Ritter, with Milwaukee Public Radio

Just before RENEW's policy summit, the keynote speaker, former Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, did an excellent interview on Milwaukee Public Radio. Listen to the interview below, or read the article "Colorado's Renewable Energy Economy Offers Model for Wisconsin" with Susan Bence (attached below).



The Port of Milwaukee announced this week that the wind turbine that supplies energy to the port’s administration building has been paying dividends to the city.  In less than a year of operation, the turbine shifted electrical costs at the port by almost $15,000 dollars.  In fact, the electrical utility actually paid the port for the surplus energy it produced.

Bill Ritter, delivering the keynote at RENEW 's Summit
This news is likely music to the ears of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who championed alternative sources of energy during his time in office. Ritter is now the Director for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, where he is helping states across the country create plans to implement renewable energy economies.  And he’s in Wisconsin this week as the keynote speaker at the RENEW's Energy Policy Summit in Madison.

Aggressive renewable energy standards

Ritter says energy issues first emerged as a priority in his political career when he was campaigning for governor in 2005 and 2006. His campaign focused on renewable energy as a way to move Colorado forward and it became a pillar of his administration’s agenda. Once in office, he signed 57 clean energy bills.

Now Colorado is one of the leaders in the country when it comes to alternative energy. Ritter says the state is on the path to supplying 30 percent renewable energy by 2020, “one of the most aggressive renewable energy standards in America.”

Today, Wisconsin has a renewable energy standard of 10 percent by 2015, but Ritter says a lot of that power comes from outside the state, whereas Colorado’s is mostly in-state.

“Actually our cost of power relative to the rest of America has gotten cheaper as we’ve pushed this very aggressive clean energy agenda,” he says. “We had a day last April where our primary and best run utility got 57 percent of all its energy that it provided Colorado customers from wind alone.”

Building a 'new energy economy'

Of course, the cost has gone down because of broad deployment of such methods. In building this “new energy economy,” Ritter says Colorado attracted manufacturing companies that focused on wind and solar energy, and promoted research and development among private companies and government entities.

“We really have this ecosystem built around advanced energy or clean energy, and really trying to say, ‘It could be domestic, it could be clean, it could help us create job and we can protect rate fares in the process,’” he says.

Facing challenges

But Ritter admits creating this “new energy economy” didn’t come without its hurdles. Some utilities and critics opposed the government creating a renewable energy standard, which at first was 10 percent by 2015.

“People say we don’t like standards because it’s a mandate,” Ritter says. “Quite frankly the entirely energy sector has been heavily regulated since it’s inception, and so to say something like renewable energy standards are a mandate and we should do away with it, I think it’s just wrong, because everything in energy is based on regulation. It is not the operation of free market and it’s that way by intention.”

So voters went to the ballot and passed the standard. Soon, after the state legislature put in a rate cap, the utilities were on board, approving of a doubling of the standard and eventually a tripling of it. Ritter says that’s because the utilities saw that they could make the benchmark, they could hold rates in check and get returns on their investment, and they could make customers happy.

“Actually our cost of power relative to the rest of America has gotten cheaper as we’ve pushed this very aggressive clean energy agenda." -former Colorado governor Bill Ritter

Dealing with the utilities was not the only problem the state encountered in getting behind renewable energy. The coal industry, which provided many mining jobs in the state, felt their market share was being taken by renewable energy. A plan to pay residents who built their own system and put power back onto the grid required some finagling. And naturally, political adversaries made it difficult for the legislation to get to Ritter's desk.

“I think the public liked it and got it, but I still had a difficult time politically with it, even with public support, because it doesn’t have the sort of intensity, the political intensity, that other issues might like the economy or job creation,” Ritter says.

He says his opponents claimed such an energy policy would lose jobs in the state, at a time when job creation was at a premium.

“That was really an awful thing to have said about you,” he says. “But our clean energy and clean tech sector wound up being the only sector that grew during the worst recession since the Great Depression in Colorado.”

Now Colorado is second in the country for solar jobs and number one per capita for employment for clean energy jobs overall, Ritter says.

Pushing the agenda

Based on his experience in Colorado, Ritter has some advice for Wisconsin in committing to renewable energy, which he says works handily with a free market. Leasing solar installations on buildings is one way to start.

“Last year over 80 percent of the rooftops in Colorado that installed solar were leased systems, so it’s a great economic development driver,” he says, citing similar success in California and Arizona.
At the Center for the New Energy Economy, Ritter says he is trying to push this whole agenda forward at the state level, from the financing to the R&D on advanced energy technologies to the practical implementation.

“How do we push this whole agenda forward at the state level, so a state can look at their energy economy and say, ‘We’re really about the 21st century,” and we’re tying domestic energy use with environmental issues, (and) economic development,” he says.

See the original article here.

The first Net-Zero Energy Hotel in North America

The Green Leaf Inn will be the first net-zero energy hotel in North America... and it's being built in Delavan, Wisconsin. See more about this project in the video below:



Follow the project's facebook page for more updates.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Solar Outside the Sunbelt: Wisconsin & Clean Energy Choice


It’s only an ambiguity in the law that stands between Wisconsin and a solar boom.

Herman K. Trabish: January 22, 2013

Wisconsin has better sunlight than installed solar capacity world leader
Germany -- but a political fight now brewing in the state could determine
whether Wisconsin will use its solar potential.

“What we are trying to do with Clean Energy Choice is clarify an ambiguity
in state law,” explained RENEW Wisconsin Program and Policy Director
Michael Vickerman. “If we don’t clear it up, anybody who puts a system
on somebody else’s house and sells the energy to the occupant is in
danger of being regulated as a public utility.”

Read the full article


What happened to the Town of Sherman wind project?

After much travail,a formal application has been submitted to build a wind farm in the Town of Sherman. This article comes from The Sheboygan Press:

Harvesting the fields and the wind on the farmland North East of Fond du Lac near Calumetville on County Road HHH. Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011.

A Hubertus developer has submitted a formal application to build a wind farm in the Town of Sherman, nearly six months after the project was first unveiled to the public.

The application was filed with town leaders last month and made available to the public within the past week, according to town officials.

The developer, EEW Services LLC, hopes to begin construction this year on the Windy Acres Wind Farm on 400 acres east of state Highway 57, west of county Highway CC and north of county Highway A. The turbines would also connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.

EEW spokesman Jay Mundinger couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

The state’s rules place wind farm siting decisions almost entirely in the hands of the state Public Service Commission, as state wind siting rules supersede local ordinances. However, the project still requires approval by the Sherman and Holland town boards.

Sherman Town Chairman William Goehring said that the two towns are in the process of drafting a joint local wind ordinance, though it cannot be more restrictive than the state’s rules.

Following the receipt of EEW’s formal application, the two towns now have until April 1 to pass the joint measure, Goehring said.

After the local wind ordinance is passed, town leaders from Sherman and Holland will have 45 days to conduct a joint review of the developer’s application to ensure that it is complete.

Once the application is deemed complete, they’ll have another 90 days to hold a public hearing and then vote to approve or reject it.

“Our hands are still very much tied,” said Goehring, referring to the project’s approval ultimately resting with state regulators.

Town officials plan to hold public hearings each step of the way, Goehring said, though nothing has been scheduled yet.

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Clean energy advocates: Group makes plans to support renewable-energy initiatives in 2013

Article: The Country Today – News
Wednesday,
January 16, 2013

MADISON - Wisconsin renewable-energy advocates would like to follow the example of Colorado when it comes to advancing their agenda for more solar, wind and bioenergy production in the state.

In recent years Colorado lawmakers have passed legislation to require that 30 percent of the energy produced by utilities must come from renewable sources by 2020 - legislation that even most of the state's utilities endorsed during the debate.

Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter told attendees at the Renew Energy Policy Summit Jan. 11 that while the debate over renewable- Ritter energy standards is generally highly politicized, it was proven in Colorado that the general public supports the use of more clean energy technologies.

"The public is there with us on this," Ritter said. "There is public will out there and it's incumbent on us to ask the question, 'How do you translate that public will into political will?' "

During Ritter's tenure as Colorado governor, from 2006 to 2010, the state passed 57 clean energy bills with economic development as a primary component of. most pieces of legislation. Ritter said at virtually every level of government, job creation is key to getting bipartisan support
for legislation.

For example, Ritter said Vestas, a Denmark-based wind-turbine manufacturer, located a production facility in Colorado because the state had passed a renewable energy standard that encouraged the growth of the industry. The company eventually sited three more plants in the state, totaling 1,800 jobs.

"They built them all in Colorado because we were making this big policy push around clean energy," he said. During the recession, clean energy was Colorado's only private sector industry in which there was job growth, Ritter said.

The policy summit was sponsored by Renew Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that represents 115 renewable-energy companies and about 300 individuals and organizations who support the advancement of clean energy. Don Wichert, Renew Wisconsin interim executive director, said the goal of the policy summit was to shape policy initiatives with a goal of increasing renewable-energy installations in 2013 and beyond.

Attendees heard from renewable-energy users and policymakers and then participated in breakout sessions to prioritize issues for 2013.

Wichert said policy goals for 2013 include:

  • Third-party ownership of clean energy: This would allow customers to directly access renewable energy from third-party-owned renewable energy-systems on the premises. Customers would get fixed-rate electricity over a period of time while developers would own the solar, wind or bioenergy system and-sell electricity back to the utilities.
  • Net metering: This would allow customer-generators the ability to receive consistent terms for the power -they produce. If a system delivered more electricity ~an anticipated in a given month, the meter would go backward, allowing the owner to get credit if he or she produced more than was used.
  • Renewable-energy standard: Wichert said most Wisconsin utilities have already reached the state's standard of 10 percent of energy produced from renewable-energy sources by 2015. Neighboring states have more ambitious standards, he said, such as 25 percent by 2025 in Illinois and Minnesota. "It's time to increase our state's commitment to renewable energy to develop new business opportunities and jobs," a Renew Wisconsin policy letter states.
  • Community-owned renewables: The goal would be to modernize and streamline rules governing access by clean power producers to the grid, opening the market and making rules consistent across the state.
  • Defend Wisconsin's wind-siting rule: Renew Wisconsin members are predicting that the Wisconsin Realtors Association - concerned about the value of property located next to wind turbines - will work to appeal Wisconsin's wind energy standards in 2013. Renew Wisconsin officials said it will be their goal to "protect the rule from future legislative
    weakening."
Ritter said with the political debate over clean energy and climate change, clean-energy advocates should concentrate on making the "business case" for policies they want to endorse. "I think it's fair to say I that it's become sufficiently politicized that if (climate change) is the opening part of the dialogue, there are people in this country who will quit listening to you," he said. "But those same people will listen to you if there is a business case to be made." Ritter said renewable energy proponents should also look for "unconventional allies" in the push for future legislation.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Increase options for alternative energy with Clean Energy Choice

From a guest editorial in by Scott Karel in the La Crosse Tribune support of Clean Energy Choice, a 2013 policy goal of RENEW Wisconsin:

Wisconsin citizens have only have two ways to purchase energy for their homes or businesses: either they buy it from the local electric utility or they pay to have their own alternative energy sources installed on their property.

This effectively gives utility companies a monopoly because most people don’t have the disposable income to install such devices on their own.

However, with a little help from state legislators, Wisconsin residents could benefit from more competition in this market while at the same time producing green energy for their own personal consumption.

Third-party owned renewable-energy systems have become an effective method to promote the growth and production of green energy at no additional cost to ratepayers or taxpayers. This system, known as “clean energy choice,” allows a third party to enter into a contract with a farmer, homeowner or business to lease their roof space.

In return, the third-party company will install, operate and maintain, at no cost to the landowner, a solar panel, manure digester, wind turbine or other renewable energy system on their property. The energy from these systems either passes directly to the customer or is sold to the local utility.

Clean energy choice systems are a benefit to all Wisconsin residents for a variety of reasons. For the customers who enter into these agreements, they are able to lock in their utility rates at a fixed amount for the length of the contract, which is typically anywhere from 10 to 20 years.

A fixed energy rate is one of the main reasons that Kohl’s department stores chose to install solar panels on around 100 of its stores located in states that expressly allow third-party ownership of renewable energy systems.

Clean energy choice also creates more competition in the energy market and promotes renewable energy without using government subsidies.

Finally, allowing third-party energy agreements will support the state’s economy by creating more business for the estimated 135 companies in Wisconsin that participate in the solar market.

Currently, laws in more than 20 states — including Illinois, Michigan and Ohio — specifically allow third-party sale of renewable energy to their customers. However, in about 20 other states, including Wisconsin, the law is unclear about whether this type of agreement is allowable.

Third-party energy companies will not attempt to enter into contracts with landowners until there is clarification on this law for fear of being regulated as a public utility.

We think that the energy certainty provided by these agreements would benefit many farmers in Wisconsin who happen to have plenty of wind or open roof space on their buildings but may not have the extra money to install their own wind turbines or solar panels. No law should prevent customers who want to have access to clean energy simply because they cannot afford to install the system on their own.

If you would like to learn more about the Clean Energy Choice legislation being advanced in the Legislature this year, contact me at skarel@wisconsinfarmers union.com or 608-234-3741.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SC Johnson Honored with RENEW Wisconsin Award for Powering Operations with Renewable Energy

RENEW Wisconsin received a lot of positive press feedback after the 2013 renewable energy policy summit, "Powering Positive Action". Here is a great press release from SC Johnson, reflecting on their award - find the original here.

Company Presented with “Renewable Energy Customer-Generator of the Year” Award for Advanced Wind Turbine Technology and Other Environmental Efforts

RACINE, Wis., Jan. 11, 2013 – Reflecting SC Johnson’s dedication to the environment, RENEW Wisconsin today awarded it the “Renewable Energy Customer-Generator of the Year” honor, specifically citing the company’s achievements in using renewable energy in its global manufacturing operations. The independent nonprofit organization leads and represents businesses, organizations and individuals seeking cleaner, renewable energy in Wisconsin.

“To be recognized with other Wisconsin companies that also champion clean energy is truly an honor and speaks to the priorities of the business community in our state,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “We are grateful for the support of RENEW Wisconsin and their dedicated efforts to advance clean energy policies that put Wisconsin at the forefront of environmental leadership.”

SC Johnson’s commitment to clean energy was recently reaffirmed in December 2012 with the installation of two 415-foot wind turbines at Waxdale, the company’s largest global manufacturing facility in Mt. Pleasant, Wis. These turbines – the first of their kind in the state – will produce about eight million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually – enough to power 700 homes in a year. Combined with two cogeneration turbines that have been in place since the mid-2000s, the facility is now able to produce an average of 100 percent of its electrical energy onsite.

“SC Johnson is doing outstanding work as a renewable self-generator to make wind energy a smart and viable alternative to power their operations,” said Michael Vickerman, Program and Policy Director at RENEW Wisconsin. “We were thrilled to recognize the company for powering positive action in Wisconsin using wind energy, and we are proud that the policies RENEW has advanced have helped SC Johnson achieve this success.”

SC Johnson is emerging as a regional and national leader for its clean-energy initiatives, particularly those related to wind energy. With the commissioning of the wind project at Waxdale, the company is now the only manufacturer in the country that has installed Vensys turbines – the latest in wind turbine technology, meaning less maintenance and higher energy yields than traditional systems.

SC Johnson’s Worldwide Leadership in Renewables

In addition to the wind turbine project at Waxdale, SC Johnson added three SWIFT mini wind turbines to the roof of its Lowell, Ark., sales office, capable of generating as much as 3,600 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. These reduce carbon dioxide emissions equal to about 280 gallons of gasoline. In the Netherlands, a 262-foot-tall wind turbine helps power the SC Johnson European manufacturing facility.

The company has also been making strides in Indonesia since SC Johnson launched a biofuel initiative that converts waste palm shells as a fuel source to heat water for mosquito coil production. This cuts greenhouse gas emissions at the factory by more than 15 percent and reduces local diesel fuel use by 80 percent. Each of these projects brings SC Johnson closer to the company’s goal of increasing worldwide renewable energy use to 44 percent of total electricity by 2016.

Find the original article here.

SC Johnson Honored with RENEW Wisconsin Award for Powering Operations with Renewable Energy

RENEW Wisconsin received a lot of positive press feedback after the 2013 renewable energy policy summit, "Powering Positive Action". Here is a great press release from SC Johnson, reflecting on their award - find the original here.

Company Presented with “Renewable Energy Customer-Generator of the Year” Award for Advanced Wind Turbine Technology and Other Environmental Efforts

RACINE, Wis., Jan. 11, 2013 – Reflecting SC Johnson’s dedication to the environment, RENEW Wisconsin today awarded it the “Renewable Energy Customer-Generator of the Year” honor, specifically citing the company’s achievements in using renewable energy in its global manufacturing operations. The independent nonprofit organization leads and represents businesses, organizations and individuals seeking cleaner, renewable energy in Wisconsin.

“To be recognized with other Wisconsin companies that also champion clean energy is truly an honor and speaks to the priorities of the business community in our state,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “We are grateful for the support of RENEW Wisconsin and their dedicated efforts to advance clean energy policies that put Wisconsin at the forefront of environmental leadership.”

SC Johnson’s commitment to clean energy was recently reaffirmed in December 2012 with the installation of two 415-foot wind turbines at Waxdale, the company’s largest global manufacturing facility in Mt. Pleasant, Wis. These turbines – the first of their kind in the state – will produce about eight million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually – enough to power 700 homes in a year. Combined with two cogeneration turbines that have been in place since the mid-2000s, the facility is now able to produce an average of 100 percent of its electrical energy onsite.

“SC Johnson is doing outstanding work as a renewable self-generator to make wind energy a smart and viable alternative to power their operations,” said Michael Vickerman, Program and Policy Director at RENEW Wisconsin. “We were thrilled to recognize the company for powering positive action in Wisconsin using wind energy, and we are proud that the policies RENEW has advanced have helped SC Johnson achieve this success.”

SC Johnson is emerging as a regional and national leader for its clean-energy initiatives, particularly those related to wind energy. With the commissioning of the wind project at Waxdale, the company is now the only manufacturer in the country that has installed Vensys turbines – the latest in wind turbine technology, meaning less maintenance and higher energy yields than traditional systems.

SC Johnson’s Worldwide Leadership in Renewables

In addition to the wind turbine project at Waxdale, SC Johnson added three SWIFT mini wind turbines to the roof of its Lowell, Ark., sales office, capable of generating as much as 3,600 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. These reduce carbon dioxide emissions equal to about 280 gallons of gasoline. In the Netherlands, a 262-foot-tall wind turbine helps power the SC Johnson European manufacturing facility.

The company has also been making strides in Indonesia since SC Johnson launched a biofuel initiative that converts waste palm shells as a fuel source to heat water for mosquito coil production. This cuts greenhouse gas emissions at the factory by more than 15 percent and reduces local diesel fuel use by 80 percent. Each of these projects brings SC Johnson closer to the company’s goal of increasing worldwide renewable energy use to 44 percent of total electricity by 2016.

Find the original article here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

RENEW Sets Plans to Honor Renewable Energy Leaders

Awards Will Recognize “Engines” for Clean Energy Development

(Madison) – In keeping with the theme of “Powering Positive Action,” RENEW Wisconsin will honor eight companies and organizations whose initiatives and investments in local, clean energy sources set inspiring examples for others to follow.

RENEW will also present its Joel Gaalswyk Public Official of the Year award to Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), recognizing his effectiveness as a champion and defender of renewable energy development in Wisconsin.

Sen. Schultz’s award is named after a long-time advocate who lent his strong voice to the cause of advancing renewable energy while a Sauk County supervisor. The awards ceremony will take place Friday, January 11, 2013, at RENEW Wisconsin’s energy policy summit at UW-Madison’s Pyle Center.

“The Energy Policy Summit is a fitting venue to honor the people and organizations that embraced the vision of energy self-sufficiency and job creation, and made it happen in Wisconsin,” said Michael Vickerman, program and policy director for RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.

“Their solar, wind, and bioenergy installations created jobs, reduced the flow of imported fossil fuels into Wisconsin, and demonstrated responsible environmental stewardship. They truly deserve the recognition, as well as everyone’s appreciation,” Vickerman said.

The following Customer-Generators of the Year will receive recognition for integrating on-site renewable energy to serve their own operations or constituents:
Richland Center Renewable Energy(RCRE), a partnership of Foremost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods RCRE’s 1.7 megawatt biogas plant in Richland Center converts wastewater supplied by these two local food producers into renewable electricity.
SC Johnson, Racine SC Johnson’s two-turbine, 3 megawatt windpower installation enables the company to operate its Waxdale production plant with 100% renewable energy generated on site.
Dane County, sponsor of Wisconsin’s first community biogas generating plant. Dane County’s leadership made possible a 2 megawatt installation near Waunakee that converts manure from nearby dairy farms into clean electricity while reducing nutrient flows into the Yahara Lakes.
Organic Valley Cooperative, La Farge
Its solar and wind generation systems, including a new 2.5 MW turbine in Cashton, supply nearly 90% of the electricity used in Organic Valley’s operations.
Gundersen Health System, La Crosse With sizable investments in biogas and wind, renewable sources now account for 50% of the electricity used in the company’s facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Epic Systems, Verona
Its 2.2 MW solar installation is the largest in the state, and its 9 MW wind installation was the largest built in Wisconsin in 2012.

The following firms will receive recognition as Renewable Energy Businesses of the Year for the critical roles they played in the development and construction of renewable energy installations for customers:
DVO, Inc., Chilton
In 2012, DVO, Inc. developed, designed, and built five Wisconsin on-farm biogas generation systems with an aggregate generating capacity of 4 megawatts.
WES Engineering, Madison In its capacity as a wind engineering firm, WES Engineering was instrumental in advancing 18 megawatts of community-based wind energy in three different locations in Wisconsin (Cashton, Mount Pleasant, and Dane County).

The Public Official of the Year award will be given to State Senator Dale Schultz for his thoughtful, forceful and bipartisan advocacy on behalf of local clean energy development.

END

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Clean Wisconsin: No link between wind farm sounds and health impacts

Clean Wisconsin
Your environmental voice since 1970.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 2, 2013
Contact: Tyson Cook, Staff Scientist, 608.251.7020 ext. 27

Study Finds No Link Between Wind Farm Sound and Health Impacts
Testing finds sound below threshold of hearing in homes near wind farm

Shirley, Wis. – A series of tests on homes near the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County found no evidence linking low frequency sound from wind turbines to health impacts, according to a study released late last week.

“After testing three homes near the Shirley Wind Farm, scientists were unable to measure any low-frequency sound from wind turbines above the threshold of human hearing from within the homes,” explains Tyson Cook, staff scientist at Clean Wisconsin. “There are no peer-reviewed studies showing negative health impacts from wind turbine sounds below the threshold of hearing.”

The testing was conducted in early December 2012 by four independent firms at the request of the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC requested the testing as it decides whether to approve the Highland Wind Project, a proposal to construct a wind farm in St. Croix County that would bring clean, renewable energy to 29,000 homes and create up to 100 jobs.

“It’s important that we fully understand the impacts of our energy sources, which is why we wanted to see this study conducted,” said Cook. “Like others, this study finds no physical link between wind farm sound and negative health impacts.”

Wind farms offset the need to burn fossil fuels, which result in harmful pollution that threatens the health of our families. A poll conducted by a bipartisan research team in January of 2012 found that 85 percent of Wisconsin voters would like to increase the use of wind energy to meet the state’s future energy needs.

“While there is no evidence directly linking wind farms to negative health impacts, there are volumes of studies showing the disastrous impact of air and water pollution from burning fossil fuels,” said Cook. “By moving toward clean, safe energy choices like wind, we can help improve the health of families across Wisconsin.”

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Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. www.cleanwisconsin.org.


Clean Wisconsin: No link between wind farm sounds and health impacts

Clean Wisconsin
Your environmental voice since 1970.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 2, 2013
Contact: Tyson Cook, Staff Scientist, 608.251.7020 ext. 27

Study Finds No Link Between Wind Farm Sound and Health Impacts
Testing finds sound below threshold of hearing in homes near wind farm

Shirley, Wis. – A series of tests on homes near the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County found no evidence linking low frequency sound from wind turbines to health impacts, according to a study released late last week.

“After testing three homes near the Shirley Wind Farm, scientists were unable to measure any low-frequency sound from wind turbines above the threshold of human hearing from within the homes,” explains Tyson Cook, staff scientist at Clean Wisconsin. “There are no peer-reviewed studies showing negative health impacts from wind turbine sounds below the threshold of hearing.”

The testing was conducted in early December 2012 by four independent firms at the request of the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC requested the testing as it decides whether to approve the Highland Wind Project, a proposal to construct a wind farm in St. Croix County that would bring clean, renewable energy to 29,000 homes and create up to 100 jobs.

“It’s important that we fully understand the impacts of our energy sources, which is why we wanted to see this study conducted,” said Cook. “Like others, this study finds no physical link between wind farm sound and negative health impacts.”

Wind farms offset the need to burn fossil fuels, which result in harmful pollution that threatens the health of our families. A poll conducted by a bipartisan research team in January of 2012 found that 85 percent of Wisconsin voters would like to increase the use of wind energy to meet the state’s future energy needs.

“While there is no evidence directly linking wind farms to negative health impacts, there are volumes of studies showing the disastrous impact of air and water pollution from burning fossil fuels,” said Cook. “By moving toward clean, safe energy choices like wind, we can help improve the health of families across Wisconsin.”

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Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. www.cleanwisconsin.org.