Dane County exec. announces "Clean Lakes, Clean Energy" initiative

Friday, September 28, 2012

Michael Vickerman, RENEW director of programs and policy, gestures toward Lake Monona during the announcement of a "Clean Lakes, Clean Energy" initiative by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (right in suit coat).

For Immediate Release
September 27, 2012

New technology to eliminate 100% of lake polluting phosphorus, expanded lake clean‐up partnership, “CNG by 2023,” and Solar Powered “Green Highway Garage” among highlights

Near the shores of Lake Monona today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced his comprehensive 2013 “Clean Lakes, Clean Energy” plan to be included in his 2013 county budget that will be introduced to the County Board on Monday.

“Cleaning up our lakes, preserving our lands, and investing in green energy like solar, wind, and alternative fuels are shared values that enhance our quality of life we enjoy in Dane County,” Parisi said. “My budget reflects a continued commitment to protecting and enhancing the resources that make our home such an attractive place to live, work, and visit,” he added.

One of the cornerstones of Parisi’s $4.5 million capital lakes clean‐up initiative, is brand new technology that successfully removes 100% of the pollutant phosphorus from animal waste.

Parisi’s budget will have $300,000 to install this cutting edge system as part of the new manure digester being built in the Town of Springfield in early 2013. “Technology is rapidly evolving and this system not only keeps our county on the cutting edge of lake clean‐up, it also could be the gateway to developing additional manure digesters in areas where we know phosphorus run‐off is a problem,” Parisi said.

DeForest Area Progressives' Global Frackdown Action

Monday, September 17, 2012

Social evening with screening of GaslandJosh Fox's Academy Award nominated film:

"Gasland may become to the dangers of gas drilling what Silent Spring was to DDT" - Variety

"Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."
DeForest Progressives' Headquarters
6610 Lake Road (Windsor Commons stripmall)
Windsor, WI 53598 

Sat Sept 22,
6:30 social, 7:00 - 8:30 movie, 8:30 conversation.

Fracking is attacking our grandchildren


Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign

Friday, September 14, 2012

From an article by Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss in the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Grothman would take state backward

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

News Release: Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More information
Don Wichert
Executive Director
608.255.4044, ext. 1

Utilities Get C on Renewable Energy Report Card 

No Wisconsin utility graded higher than a B/C on a report card issued by a renewable energy advocacy group, and C was the overall average for the state’s five major utilities.

We Energies, headquartered in Milwaukee, earned a C (2.4 out of 5) on the report card for its renewable energy efforts in 2011 and had the lowest score of all utilities graded. The state’s other major utilities received similar or slightly higher grades: Alliant (aka Wisconsin Power and Light), C (2.6); Madison Gas & Electric, B/C (3.0); Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, C (2.7); and Xcel Energy, B/C (3.0).

“2011 was a year in which Wisconsin’s investor owned utilities cut back on their previous good performance supporting renewable energy,” said Don Wichert, RENEW Wisconsin’s executive director and the report card director. “At this point in 2012, it appears that this poor performance trend continues.”

“It’s surprising because recent opinion surveys indicate that the vast majority of Wisconsin’s population, including utilities ratepayers and stockholders, prefer renewable energy,” according to Wichert.

RENEW graded utilities on six criteria: amount of renewable electricity sold; green energy purchasing programs; ease of connecting to the utility system; prices paid for renewable electricity; legislative activities; and other programs offered voluntarily to customers.

Wisconsin utilities performed best in meeting the state’s renewable electricity standard, the amount of renewable electricity sold to its customers. All of the utilities already meet or expect to meet the 10% standard by 2015, although some have the majority of the power coming from out of Wisconsin.

We Energies scored at the bottom, because it had “agreed with RENEW and other groups to spend $6 million/year over 10 years to encourage the use of renewable energy in its service area. As part of the program, over 100 nonprofit organizations installed renewable energy systems. In 2011, however, WE simply announced the end of the program after only five years,” said Wichert at a news conference in from of a Milwaukee church that had a solar electric system installed as party of We Energies now-discontinued program.

RENEW gave the state’s investor owned utilities the following grades: C Alliant, Madison; B/C Madison Gas & Electric, Madison; C We Energies, Milwaukee; C Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay; B/C Xcel Energy, Eau Claire.

This was the first time RENEW conducted a grading system, but RENEW plans to continue the process in the future because people are interested in how well their utilities support renewable energy.

“The annual survey can be used by Wisconsin utilities and others to see which areas are lacking and how they can improve their grades. Adoption of renewable energy supports local jobs, lower emissions of pollutants, and energy security. These are attributes everybody wants. There is no reason that Wisconsin has to lag the rest of the country in clean energy,” said Wichert.


RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin. More information on RENEW’s Web site at www.renewwisconsin.org.

We Energies CEO Sees Investment Opportunity in State-Owned Plants

Friday, September 07, 2012

An excerpt of an article from energy writer Thomas Content in the Journal Sentinel.

Acquiring some of Wisconsin's state-owned heating plants could be a "significant investment opportunity" for We Energies, the utility's top executive said.

We Energies CEO Gale Klappa discussed the utility's interest in buying the state facilities during a presentation to Wall Street analysts in New York City this week.

He also discussed the company's transition away from massive engineering and building projects such as new power plants and environmental control systems toward a lower-risk strategy centered on renewing the company's aging utility poles, transformers and natural gas pipelines.

The final "megaproject" is about to be completed, he said. The addition of pollution controls is nearly finished at the original Oak Creek power plant, at a cost of nearly $900 million.

It's the second-biggest project in the company's history, after the construction of the new coal plant in Oak Creek, just to the south of the original plant.

Looking ahead, Klappa said, the utility is considering the purchase of state-owned heating and cooling plants, some of which are under pressure to reduce pollution linked to burning coal.

"That could be a significant investment opportunity for us, and a significant (additional) investment opportunity because of the modern environmental controls, or the conversion from coal to natural gas that would be necessary," Klappa said.


Kohl's to Add Electric Car Charging Stations at Stores

Thursday, September 06, 2012

From an article in BizTimes:

"Menomonee Falls-based Kohl's Department Stores today announced the company will expand its electric vehicle (EV) charging station initiative with 36 new stations across 18 additional Kohl's locations by the end of fall 2012.

The expansion spans three new states, including Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and adds additional locations to the company's Texas EV program.

With the expansion, Kohl's shoppers will be able to take advantage of a total of 101 charging stations at 52 Kohl's locations across 14 states. Each of the participating Kohl's locations will have two or three parking spaces reserved for EV drivers to charge at no cost while they shop.

The new locations in Wisconsin will include: one station at Kohl's headquarters in Menomonee Falls; two stations at the Menomonee Falls Credit Center; two stations at Bayshore in Glendale; three stations at Madison West; and two stations in Johnson Creek."

Read more