Renewable Energy Installations in WI

Monday, August 29, 2011

10 types of companies that consume the most electricity

From an article posted on Compare Electricity Rates:

1.Chemicals – Fertilizers and pesticides are among the main processed-chemicals that require huge amounts of power to produce and transport.
2.Petroleum – The U.S. refines nearly a quarter of all the world’s crude oil at nearly 150 refineries across the country, and these refineries consume incredible amounts of power.
3.Paper Industry – The United States would be lost without paper products, and is the world’s leading producer of paper, another industry that is energy-intensive.
4.All that Glitters – All that glitters may not be gold, but America is one of the global leaders in the production of cast-metal, the industry that brings us such life-staples as cookware and faux Christmas trees.
5.Planes, Trains and Automobiles. . . – . . .and trucks and buses and ships, The transportation industry uses more than 25% of all the energy produced in the country, and waning supplies of fossil fuels have necessitated an accelerated changeover to alternative fuel sources, including electricity.
6.Heating, Ventilation and Cooling – The heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) industry used to involve nothing more than fireplaces, blocks of ice and strategically placed doors, windows and porches, but today’s industry requires large amounts of power on a national scale.
7.Appliances – We like our clothes kept clean, and we like our food kept cold until we cook it in our self-cleaning ovens, and the appliances we use to attain these goals use up a lot of power to make and to use.
8.Electronics – Televisions, computers, track-lights, alarm systems and hundreds of other devices fill our domestic world, and every blinking little red light means power is being used.
9.Commercial Buildings – A store or warehouse uses a lot of electricity whether it is open or not, and most other commercial buildings require significant amounts of power to heat, cool and secure.
10.Construction Industry – Even during construction slowdowns the industry consumes power at a great rate, and industry up-ticks use even more power as more projects are generated.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WP&L and WPS warn of higher rates because of pollution rules

From an article by Tom Content published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on August 19:

Two state utilities said this week new federal pollution rules will lead to higher electricity costs come January.

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay said its residential customers can expect an increase of more than $4 a month next year, including about $2 linked to the new rules designed to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The utility said it would see higher costs of about $32.6 million in 2012 from the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that was finalized recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That will result in rates going up by 6.8% instead of 3.4%, the utility said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month finalized stronger regulations for Wisconsin and 26 other states aimed at curbing air pollution from long-distance sources.

Environmental groups praised the new rule because it would reduce acid rain and air pollution as well as help curb health effects from dirty air linked to coal plants. The EPA projected the rule will save up to 34,000 lives a year and prevent more than 400,000 asthma attacks as well as 19,000 admissions to hospitals. . .

The new rule has been in development for several years but the first phase of compliance hits utilities in 2012. WPS said it won't have time to install pollution controls by next year at its plants, but will be able to comply by purchasing credits from other utilities that have cut emissions.

The utility also said it plans to operate its coal plants less next year than it otherwise would have, and will buy more power from the Midwest wholesale power market as a result, a move that it said is also a factor in higher costs for customers. . . .

On Thursday [August 18], Wisconsin Power & Light Co. [Alliant] of Madison said it would face an additional $9 million in costs linked to the air pollution rule. With the change, the utility is now seeking an increase in 2012 of $20 million, or 2%, utility finance manager Martin Seitz said in a filing with state regulators.

Todd Stuart, executive director of the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, criticized the increases, and he noted that large energy users like paper mills will see higher than average increases, compared with homeowners and small businesses. Paper mills served by WPS could see a 9% hike, he said. . . .

"Industry always cries wolf whenever EPA tries to reduce air pollution," said Katie Nekola, lawyer with the conservation group Clean Wisconsin. "The fact is, the new rule will affect old, inefficient, unnecessary coal plants that should have been shut down long ago. The continued operation of those old units is costing ratepayers money, but you don't hear industry complaining about that."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

RENEW asks PSC to stop We Energies' termination of renewable program

From the testimony of RENEW presented by Michael Vickerman, who draws attention to the fact that We Energies is trying to defund its $6 million/year renewable energy development program without any justification. In fact We Energies doesn't say anything about their actions. RENEW asks the PSC not to sanction this sleight of hand maneuver:

Q. What is the purpose of your testimony?
A. The purpose of my testimony is to discuss the May 2011 decision by We Energies to cancel a 10-year, $60 million commitment to support renewable energy development in its service territory. . . .

My testimony includes a recommendation to the Commission that it not allow We Energies to reallocate in 2012 the $6 million per year it had committed to spend on renewable energy development activities for other purposes. . . .

Q. What elements of We Energies’ Renewable Energy Development program do you consider to be particularly successful?
A. Several of We Energies’ customer incentives and tariffs were unique in the way they complemented Focus on Energy’s renewable energy program. For example, We Energies was the first utility to: (1) offer a solar energy-specific buyback rate; (2) increase the net energy billing capacity ceiling for small wind systems generators to 100 kW; and (3) support renewable energy-specific conferences and events such as Solar Decade held in Milwaukee. Perhaps the most innovative element in We Energies’ program, however, was its special incentive for nonprofit customers seeking to install renewable energy systems. Every three months, We Energies would solicit proposals from schools, religious institutions, local governments, nature centers and other nonprofit entities to co-fund new renewable energy systems on their premises. This We Energies incentive supplemented Focus on Energy grants and cash-back awards. It was designed to overcome the inability of these nonprofit entities to capture federal renewable energy tax credits to offset their own system acquisition costs. As a result of this unique incentive, there are more renewable energy systems serving nonprofit customers in We Energies territory than in any other utility territory. This initiative has an educational component to it as well; We Energies posts real-time production data from these systems on its web site.