Madison needs a central transit hub

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A letter to the editor in The Capital Times:

As a frequent visitor to your city, I have a message for Madison and UW-Madison leaders: The Memorial Union was never intended to be a bus terminal. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving there were eight buses in front of the Union at 1 p.m., clogging the street in addition to the city bus traffic that came by.

With the demise of both the Badger and Greyhound bus stations, and the cuts to air service at the airport, Madison should develop a Downtown transit hub for Metro and inter-city buses.

I am surprised UW-Madison tolerates letting the Memorial Union be a bus stop and station for non-students. Further, there is no room on Langdon Street for all these buses.

— Bill Malcolm, Indianapolis

RENEW Wisconsin hosts Renewable Energy Policy Summit, Jan. 13, 2012

Friday, November 25, 2011

REtaking Initiative - REframing Message REvitalizing Economy
8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Pyle Center, UW-Madison Campus
702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703
Wisconsin's renewable energy marketplace is going through a tumultuous period. We need to chart a new course for 2012 to address the ongoing policy uncertainties and emerging marketplace realities.

RENEW WI invites stakeholders from around the state to join us in shaping the renewable energy community’s 2012 policy agenda.

If you want to build or buy any part of today's energy economy, this is a conversation you want to be part of. Join RENEW members, businesses, energy customers, and legislators to craft a robust policy platform for renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Breakout Groups will discuss strategies for:
Expanding Market Access for Customers and Generators;
Economics of Renewable Production;
Regulatory Environment for Renewable Production ;
How do we choose who we want to be customers of?

Summit Outcomes
Summit Statement for enacting an Energy Economy that works for Wisconsin, with RENEW Wisconsin facilitating working groups throughout 2012.

More information and registration at
RENEW Wisconsin Renewable Energy Policy Summit.

Time to derail fossil fuel train, energy agency warns

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

From an article by Stephen Leahy posted on the Inter Press Service: UXBRIDGE, Canada, Nov 10, 2011 (IPS) - Countries have chained themselves to a fossil fuel train that is headed straight off a cliff, warns the International Energy Agency (IEA). Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system, the IEA said Wednesday in London on the release of the 2011 World Energy Outlook. Sounding very much like Greenpeace, the conservative IEA called for urgent action by governments to massively shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy and boost energy efficiency. Without a major shift in priorities in the next five years, there will be enough fossil fuel infrastructure in place to guarantee a two-degree C rise in temperatures, it warned. "Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. "We cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy," van der Hoeven said in a release. "Delaying action is a false economy," the World Energy Outlook report emphasises. Every dollar of investment in cleaner technology before 2020 avoids the need to spend an additional 4.30 dollars after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions, it said.

Gen. Wesley Clark on wind, veterans and energy security

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Six Times More Than Renewable Energy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

From an article by Bill Sills on

Fossil-fuel consumers worldwide received about six times more government subsidies than were given to the renewable-energy industry, according to the chief adviser to oil-importing nations.

State spending to cut retail prices of gasoline, coal and natural gas rose 36 percent to $409 billion as global energy costs increased, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said today in its World Energy Outlook. Aid for biofuels, wind power and solar energy, rose 10 percent to $66 billion.

While fossil fuels meet about 80 percent of world energy demand, its subsidies are “creating market distortions that encourage wasteful consumption,” the agency said. “The costs of subsidies to fossil fuels generally outweigh the benefits.”

. . . While governments argue that fossil fuel subsidies are designed to help the poorest members of society, they generally fail to meet that goal, the IEA said. Just 8 percent of aid reached the poorest 20 percent of each country’s population last year.

“Fossil-fuel subsidies as presently constituted tend to be regressive, disproportionately benefiting higher income groups that can afford higher levels of fuel consumption,” the report said. “Social welfare programs are a more effective and less distortionary way of helping the poor than energy subsidies.”

Bluff collapse at power plant sends dirt, coal ash into lake

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

From an article by Meg Jones and Don Behm in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Oak Creek - A large section of bluff collapsed Monday next to the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant, sending dirt, coal ash and mud cascading into the shoreline next to Lake Michigan and dumping a pickup truck, dredging equipment, soil and other debris into the lake.

There were no injuries, and the incident did not affect power output from the plant.

When the section of bluff collapsed and slid from a terraced area at the top of a hill down to the lake, Oak Creek Acting Fire Chief Tom Rosandich said, it left behind a debris field that stretched 120 yards long and 50 to 80 yards wide at the bottom.

Aerial images show a trailer and storage units holding construction equipment tumbled like Tonka toy trucks and were swept along with the falling bluff in a river of dirt that ended in the water.

"This is definitely a freak accident," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Brian Dykenssaid.

As a company hired by We Energies began cleanup in Lake Michigan, the utility confirmed that coal ash was part of the debris.

"Based on our land use records it is probable that some of the material that washed into the lake is coal ash," We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty said. "We believe that was something that was used to fill the ravine area in that site during the 1950s. That's a practice that was discontinued several decades ago."

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of developing stricter regulations of coal ash following a 2008 Tennessee coal ash pond washout that created a devastating environmental disaster.