Some cities, utilities work to conserve electricity

Thursday, November 06, 2008

From an article by Gena Kittner in the Wisconsin State Journal:
Communities and the utility companies that distribute electricity are taking steps to conserve energy, in part by changing the way they get around.

In Dane County, a Toyota Prius used by Stoughton Utilities has been converted to a plug-in hybrid and is the first municipal utility in the state to do the transformation.

The same conversion is anticipated in Columbus where the parking lot at City Hall has been equipped with electrical outlets to encourage residents to use electric cars.

Columbus, about 30 miles northeast of Madison, also could become the first city in Wisconsin to convert its street lighting to energy-saving LED lighting.

These energy-saving steps, including upcoming hybrid conversions in Sturgeon Bay, Plymouth and Waupun made possible through grants from Wisconsin Public Power Inc., are examples of utilities trying to conserve the power they're putting out.

"It's our goal to get 25 percent of our electrical energy and fuel by green renewable resources by 2025," said Steven Sobiek, director of economic development and energy sustainability for Columbus.

The proposal in Columbus is to convert a quarter of the 500 conventional street lights to light-emitting diode fixtures, or LEDs. It's a feasible project because Columbus is a smaller city, Sobiek said.