Renewable Energy Installations in WI

Monday, August 30, 2010

Impromptu ACEEE Summer Study review, August 31

Since quite a few people in the Madison area energy community were able to make it to the ACEEE Summer Study it was suggested that it would a good idea to have a little get together and share event highlights. So, the Madison’s AESP chapter will be hosting an impromptu discussion in WECC’s board room tomorrow Tuesday, August 31. It should be a fun time.

Tuesday, August 31
431 Charmany Dr.
Food/drink/social: 5:30-6:00

For more information please read the attached official invite.

RSVP is not required, but appreciated for food/drink planning. The
event will be free.

Kristopher Steege-Reimann, LC, LEED Green Associate
3001 Hermina St
Madison, WI 53714

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Xcel's CEO among those calling for a tax on carbon

From an article by Neal St. Anthony in the Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN:

Dick Kelly, CEO of Xcel Energy Inc., is irked that Congress hasn't raised his taxes.

"We need a price on carbon," said Kelly, who runs a multistate utility in the vanguard of next-generation efficiency and cleaner-energy programs.

Kelly, Duke Power CEO Jim Rogers and other utility executives have been expecting Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation, which would effectively place a tax on carbon emissions. Both Xcel and Duke have moved expeditiously in recent years to modernize old coal-fired plants, switch to wind and natural gas, and implement conservation programs in a bid to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 percent by 2025 and meet state mandates to reduce pollutants that climate scientists say lead to global warming.

"The industry could have worked with the 'Kerry-Lieberman' bill in the Senate, but the Republicans backed away and started calling it 'cap-and-tax,'" Kelly said.

So instead of providing incentives for the utility industry to invest in next-generation, clean-coal programs and promising carbon-diversion efforts, the U.S. Senate is now considering more rules and mandates instead. Kelly and Rogers think that's a mistake.

'Let's move forward'

"There is growing consensus in the electric utility industry to act now, so let's move forward," Rogers wrote earlier this summer. "Duke Energy and other electric utilities are already scheduled to retire and replace virtually all coal and other large power plants with cleaner and more efficient technologies by 2050.

"A clear and predictable federal energy and climate policy can accelerate these projects and put private capital to work more rapidly. It can also create millions of jobs. This would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but would also reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions. That would improve air quality across the board."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Juneau rejects energy grant

From an article by Paul Marose in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen:

JUNEAU - Government grants offer opportunity, but opportunity can come at a cost.

Tuesday night, the Juneau City Council unanimously overturned its earlier approval of a $25,600 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce because the cost of compliance appeared to outweigh the benefits of the grant.

"We can't afford it," summarized Mayor Ron Bosak.

"We'd have to pay up front and there's no guarantee it would pay us back," said Ward 2 Alderman John Schuster.

On June 8, the council voted to accept the grant money, stating in a resolution it would, "assist in financing the proposed energy conservation project to replace interior and exterior lighting with fluorescent and LED lighting for the city garage... community center... and city hall."

At that time, city street superintendent Chad Stange told the council, "we got a contract from the state and they'll send us the rules and regulations needed to procure the products and services for this project.

"Everything is moving smoothly, but at a snail's pace," he said.

Tuesday all movement stopped.

"At the time the grant came out, it was not clear to the city that it was going to be a cost-reimbursement grant," said Juneau Clerk/Treasurer Gladys McKay-Lenius.

"We didn't budget for the anticipated costs and the return would come in energy savings over time," she said.

"It appears to be cost-prohibitive with an estimated return," McKay-Lenius said, adding it would take the staff a great deal of time to complete reports required to comply with grant standards.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Council releases recommendations on rules for siting wind turbines

A news release issued by the Public Service Commission:

MADISON – Today the Wind Siting Council presented the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) with a report on its final recommendations for the wind siting rules. The report is the result of the Council's work conducted in 20 meetings over the course of more than four months.

[The Council vote 11 to 4 in support of the recommendations, with RENEW executive director Michael Vickerman voting with the majority.]

Originally appointed by the PSC pursuant to 2009 Wisconsin Act 40 (Act 40) in March 2010, the Council has worked diligently to provide the Commission with sound advice to consider in finalizing the wind siting rules. The PSC is conducting the wind siting rulemaking pursuant to Act 40, and issued a proposed rule draft in May, 2010 in docket 1-AC-231. The PSC accepted public comments from the public on the proposed rule until July 7, 2010.

“I look forward to carefully reviewing the Wind Siting Council's final report, and I thank them for their unwavering commitment to provide the Commission with useful advice to consider as we finalize the wind siting rules,” said PSC Chairperson Eric Callisto. “I am confident that the rules the Commission sends to the Legislature will provide a fair, uniform foundation to ultimately benefit future energy projects in Wisconsin.”

The PSC plans to complete the rulemaking by the end of August. Once finalized, the uniform rules will set forth consistent standards for the local regulation of wind energy systems in Wisconsin.

View the Wind Siting Council's recommendations here. Documents associated with the wind siting rules can be viewed on the PSC’s Electronic Regulatory Filing System. Enter case number 1-AC-231 in the boxes provided on the PSC homepage, or click on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System button.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Utilities, PSC failing on public reports

From an editorial in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

Utilities in Wisconsin are supposed to file a report with the Public Service Commission that lists problems with their meters and their billings. If they overcharge or backcharge someone, it's supposed to be in the report.

But the vast majority of the utilities don't file the report — and the PSC doesn't seem to care that much about it. Both are a problem for the public.

A Post-Crescent analysis found that 68 of the 94 utilities didn't file a report, as required by state regulations, by the April 1 deadline.

As Charlie Higley of the Citizens Utility Board, a consumer advocacy group, said, the public is supposed to have access to that information.

"Regulated companies don't face competition," he said. "And so, in order to make up for that, they are imposed on to prepare reports providing some indication of the level of service they are providing. These reports could indicate whether they are providing good service or not."

So it's wrong that most utilities aren't doing what they're supposed to do. But the PSC, which is supposed to be looking out for the public, isn't helping with its apathy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Save serious money with a business energy audit

From an article by Elsa Wenzel on IT World:

August 3, 2010, 11:40 AM — PC World —
Sluggish sales and hard-to-get loans may blight the business landscape, but cutting energy waste can bring a big payoff to a small company. To shave liabilities off your profit-and-loss statement, aim to slash your power consumption instead of your workforce or the crucial projects that could help your company expand.

An energy audit creates a portrait of the energy demands that matter to your operations--as well as those you can do without--and it can lead to skinny electricity bills and fat tax breaks.

"We all have incentives to manage our utility bill, but many people don't try because they don't know how," says Geoff Overland, who runs IT and data-center programs for Wisconsin's statewide Focus on Energy program. "By efficiently managing our energy, we have an immediate impact on our bottom line."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Required utility reports sparse on state website

From an article by Ben Jones in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

MADISON — State rules require Wisconsin utilities to disclose meter and billing problems in a yearly report to regulators and the public.

The information, typically on a single page, includes things like the number and dollar amounts of back charges and refunds issued to customers. The reports are to go to the Public Service Commission.

But most utilities don't file the report, The Post-Crescent discovered.

While the state's largest utilities filed the report as required by the April 1 deadline, just 26 of 94 public and investor-owned utilities followed the requirement this year, The P-C found while searching out the information for analysis.

Charlie Higley, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, a ratepayers advocacy group, called The P-C's findings "troubling."

"That's the type of thing that seems to be falling through the cracks," Higley said. "Regulated companies don't face competition. And so in order to make up for that they are imposed on to prepare reports providing some indication of the level of service they are providing.

"These reports could indicate whether they are providing good service or not. And that's an important function."

The P-C first contacted the PSC in May when the newspaper could not find the forms online, more than six weeks after the reports were due. In response, the agency sent a letter to utilities reminding them of the filing requirement. Only one utility, the village of Pardeeville, filed a report afterward.

The missing reports are "one minor, tiny little issue," said Teresa Weidemann-Smith, a spokeswoman for the PSC. She said the agency would contact utilities individually to make sure they file.

"Is this something that is at the forefront of our list of priorities? I would have to admit no, it is not," Weidemann-Smith said.

Higley said it is important for utilities to file the information and it is also important that the commission is not lax in reviewing the filings and using the information to ensure good service.

"That's the concern that we would have," he said.