Webinar: The New Energy Reality, Aug. 2

Friday, July 27, 2012

Here is a great opportunity to check out an ASPO-USA Webinar for free. The speaker, father of the “energy returned on energy invested” concept, is a really interesting guy, very funny.

Thursday, August 2, 11:00 - 12:30 pm Central

The New Energy Reality
Featuring Dr. Charles A.S. Hall - Professor, School of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York; Co-Author, Energy and the Wealth of Nations; ASPO-USA Advisory Board Member.

Dr. Hall will provide an assessment of global energy trends from his perspective as a systems ecologist and pioneer in the emerging field of biophysical economics. This webinar will examine key concepts regarding energy quality and energy return on investment in the context of current world energy and economic challenges. A critique of neoclassical economics and its divergence from the laws of physics and ecology regarding energy will be implicit in the discussion.

Dr. Hall will also provide highlights from his recent book, Energy and the Wealth of Nations, co-authored with Kent Klitgaard.

Please join us for this informative and lively Webinar.

Register here.

For more information: info@aspousa.org

U.S. wind group: No evidence to support for Sen. Lasee's anti-wind claims

Thursday, July 26, 2012

From a commentary in the Fond du Lac Reporter by John Anderson, director of siting policy for the American Wind Energy Association:

Wisconsin State Sen. Frank Lasee’s recent statements regarding the potential health effects of wind turbines are not supported by numerous government and peer-reviewed studies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently published the “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel.” Most notably, the authors of this report concluded:

• There is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as “Wind Turbine Syndrome.”

• Claims that infrasound from wind turbines directly impacts the vestibular system have not been demonstrated scientifically. Available evidence shows that the infrasound levels near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular system.

• The strongest epidemiological study suggests that there is not an association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health.

• None of the limited epidemiological evidence reviewed suggests an association between noise from wind turbines and pain and stiffness, diabetes, high blood pressure, tinnitus, hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease, and headache/migraine.

• Scientific evidence suggests that shadow flicker does not pose a risk for eliciting seizures.

RENEW influences decisions of Focus on Energy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RENEW Wisconsin will continue to advocate for Focus on Energy to spend the $10 million per year allocated for renewable incentives.

We intend to keep a close watch on how the Focus administrators spend the money, and we told them so. These funds are being collected from rate payers this year, so Focus should spend as much of the money this year as possible. Simple!

RENEW effectively advocated for Focus on Energy (Focus) to reinstate incentives for distributed renewables since the non-residential incentives were suspended in July of 2011. RENEW organized members and other stakeholders to communicate this message to the Public Service Commission and Focus. RENEW’s advocacy led Focus to roll out the renewable programs in July.

Additionally RENEW solicited input from the renewable community, met with the Focus administrators, and provided suggestions in early June on how the Focus funds should best be used. Focus accepted and incorporated the majority of these suggestions in the Focus renewable programs that were launched in early July.

RENEW continues to advocate on behalf of the renewable energy community with the Focus administrators. We asked Focus to drop the need for installers to be licensed plumbers and electricians; to reconfigure the need for a building permit before installation; to clear up whether solar systems could be ground mounted; and, to reduce the minimum incentive for solar and wind installations in the Business Program RFP. Once again, Focus administrators accepted the majority of these suggestions.

Focus also addressed the questions received from RENEW and others in a list of frequently asked questions for residential systems at Focus FAQs.

Be aware that Focus has limited funds for residential solar projects. Focus will provide weekly updates on the level of funds available through the renewable energy program Web pages at Focus funding updates.

Business renewable projects will be considered for funding after a submission due date of August 29, 2012. FAQs on this RFP were issued on July 23, 2012.

Please continue to provide your comments and suggestions to RENEW and to Focus on how the renewable program should be managed within the budget constraints outlined by the PSC.

By working together, we can have the best program possible. Please support RENEW with a membership or donation at Join Today!

Safe bet is to act now to reduce fossil fuel use. Go renewable says RENEW.

Monday, July 23, 2012

In a weekend editorial the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted RENEW's executive director Don Wichert:  

While national leaders dither, local officials and families can start doing things to reduce human impact on climate change

It's possible that this summer is just a fluke; that the heat waves and drought that are wreaking havoc for farmers and others are an anomaly, and that the weather will return to "normal" next summer or maybe the summer after that. That it's just summer and it's hot, and that this really isn't part of a trend that climate scientists have been predicting.

But that's not the way to bet. . . .

"The extreme weather and heat waves are costing lives, hurting farmers and families, and inaction is wasting tax money," said Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison), member of the Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee in a news release. "We need to take cost-effective steps to reduce greenhouse air pollution, create jobs and protect lives like my Jobs, Energy and Tax Savings Act (AB 117) to reduce energy costs at the 9,000 state facilities by 30% to 75% and cut the risk of extreme climate change."

"We know that using more renewable energy and more energy efficiency creates more jobs here and produces far less green house gases than the fossil fuels they replace," said Don Wichert, P.E., Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. "Access to renewable energy can be increased by reducing upfront costs through private ownership, by creating fair and consistent electricity policies, and by reinstating utility renewable energy commitments."

It's also the message being pushed by a retired Marine colonel and former strategic adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who argues that sustainability and climate change are national security issues. Local leaders need to start the shift to more sustainable practices such as regenerative agriculture techniques and advanced manufacturing because "D.C. isn't going to do anything," Mark Mykleby, author of "A Natural Strategic Narrative," he told the Editorial Board Thursday.

The science says climate change is happening now, not just in computer models or overactive imaginations but in the real world. From rising sea levels to droughts to tornadoes and wildfires, there is a growing list of anomalous events that indicate climate change is already upon us. And the safe bet is to start acting now to mitigate the human effect on climate change at the international, national and local levels.

State review contradicts anti-wind senator's assertions

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From the above letter written by Kitty Rhoades, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reviewed the scientific literature on the issue of wind turbines and health, and we will continue to do so as new studies are published. Our review of cunent scientific knowledge indicates that levels of noise, flicker and infrasound measured from wind turbines at current setback distances do not reach those that have been associated with objective physical health effects. The Department has considered previous requests to conduct formal epidemiologic studies in Wisconsin, and Division of Public Health staff have discussed this issue with colleagues at UW School of Medicine and Public Health, other state health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, we have been unable to identify a study design or methodology that could provide a constructive conclusion to the individual concerns that have been raised. If such a study were performed, we would review its methodology and findings. [Emphasis added]

Cashton Greens Community Wind Project Plows New Ground

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Immediate release: July 18, 2012

More information:
Michael Vickerman Director, Program and Policy
608.255.4044, ext. 2, mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Two-turbine project sets a number of firsts for Wisconsin

A vision of Wisconsin’s renewable energy future came to life with the dedication today of the two-turbine Cashton Greens Wind Farm, Wisconsin‘s first community wind development. This five megawatt project rises alongside Organic Valley Cooperative’s distribution center in this village 40 miles southeast of La Crosse.

Owned by La Farge-based Organic Valley Cooperative and Gunderson Lutheran Health System, La Crosse, Cashton Greens will generate enough electricity to offset the energy use for Organic Valley’s corporate headquarters and distribution center, as well as 5% of Gundersen Lutheran’s energy needs.

“This ground-breaking community wind project represents a number of firsts for Wisconsin,” said Michael Vickerman, director of programs and policies for RENEW Wisconsin, a renewable energy advocacy organization.

“Cashton Greens is both Wisconsin’s largest customer-owned renewable energy installation and the largest ever to receive a grant from Focus on Energy, the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy program,” Vickerman said. It is also the first wind project permitted following the enactment of Wisconsin’s three-year-old wind siting law (2009 Act 40).The Village of Cashton approved the project in June 2010.

“RENEW and all of our members salute the team of Organic Valley, Gundersen Lutheran, and the village of Cashton for their audacious commitment to energy independence,” said Vickerman. “They are plowing ground that will result in new renewable energy systems supporting Wisconsin’s economic vitality while protecting its environmental health.”

“This project clearly shows that Wisconsin energy customers are eager to move forward to reduce their use of fossil fuels. Rather than wait for their utilities to act, many of them are now taking the initiative and installing systems to supply their own businesses and residences with clean renewable energy produced,” he said.

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Gundersen Health System provides health services to its patients at is hospital and clinics throughout west Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, and northeast Iowa.


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.

Business group asks senator to end "unsubstantiated attacks on wind"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From a news release issued by the Wisconsin Energy Business Association:

Wisconsin Businesses Call on Sen. Lasee to End His War on Wind 
Unsubstantiated attacks on wind industry are preventing economic growth across Wisconsin 

In another attempt to hinder wind development and economic growth in Wisconsin, state Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) is demanding that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin revisit the state’s uniform wind siting rule, PSC 128—a rule that is the product of years of work by the Commission, a citizen advisory council, and industry experts. His most recent attacks are based on the demonstrably false claim that wind energy facilities cause adverse health impacts.

“Senator Lasee’s ongoing hostility towards Wisconsin’s wind industry is preventing real economic growth,” said Chris Kunkle of the Wisconsin Energy Business Association. “National companies looking to invest in Wisconsin’s economy see these unwarranted and baseless attacks and continue to stay out of Wisconsin.”

Medical professionals are unwavering in their repeated analysis that there is no discernible correlation between wind energy generation and negative health impacts. This was stated most recently in a report to the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health that definitively concluded there is “no foundation for a set of symptoms that is called Wind Turbine Syndrome” and was also recently affirmed by Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS). . . .

RENEW responds to Sen. Lasee's latest, meaningless anti-wind joust

Monday, July 16, 2012

In his latest anti-wind publicity stunt, State Senator Frank Lassee (R-De Pere) brought a few of his constituents to Madison to ask the PSC for relief from the supposed impact of the Shirley Wind Farm on their lives.

In response to Lasee on Madison's WKOW-TV, RENEW's Michael Vickerman said:

"Sen. Lasee has been waging an ideological war against wind power for a long time," said Michael Vickerman of the green energy group Renew Wisconsin.

Vickerman believes that is what is really behind Sen. Lasee's crusade, adding that no credible studies have found what the people from Shirley are claiming.

"The one prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health specifically says 'we cannot find any foundation for a set of symptoms that is called Wind Turbine Syndrome,'" said Vickerman.

Additionally, Vickerman made the following rebuttals during the entire interview:

1. The Shirley project was approved five years ago by the Glenmore Town Board. The PSC had nothing to do with that project. The PSC has no jurisdiction over this facility. The statewide siting rule took effect after the Shirley project was placed in service. This is political grandstanding, pure and simple.

2. Sen. Frank Lasee has been conducting an ideologically driven war against windpower for years. Supporters of his anti-wind crusade include the WI Realtors Association (WRA) and several wealthy landowners living in Brown and Calumet County.

3. The adverse health effects claimed by Sen. Lasee were scrutinized by a group of independent health experts under the aegis of the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health. The experts concluded that there is no scientific basis for concluding that wind generation impairs public health.

4. There is absolutely zero evidence substantiating WRA’s contention that wind generation has reduced property values in Wisconsin.

5. Sen. Lasee has two other wind projects in his district, both in Kewaunee County. These two installations, placed in service in 1999 and totaling 31 turbines, are the oldest continuously operating windpower projects in the state. No one in Kewaunee County has reported any kind of health effects from these turbines. Yet Sen. Lasee refuses to acknowledge that fact. Nor does he acknowledge the degree of community acceptance there that has evolved over the projects' 13 year-lives.

6. I characterized the wind opposition as a small but vocal minority that either does not exist in neighboring states or is less well organized there.

7. Lasee’s tireless advocacy on behalf of forces opposed to windpower has caused nationally prominent wind developers to leave the state in search of greener pastures.

RENEW says renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gasses

Friday, July 13, 2012

From a presentation on July 11, 2012, at a Capitol news conference in the state Capitol:

Pathways to Increase Renewable Energy
1. Allow private companies to sell renewable energy to home and building occupants if the renewable system is on private property;
2. Allow fair and uniform net energy billing and interconnection policies;
3. Increase Focus on Energy funding for renewables;
4. Reinstate utility renewable energy commitments;
5. Increase renewable energy requirements.

RENEW announces new members of board of directors

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Immediate release
July 11, 2012

More information
Jenny Heinzen,President

RENEW Announces New Members of Board of Directors

RENEW Wisconsin (RENEW) members elected new directors to its governing board in July.

“The new board represents a wide range of talents and interests in supporting RENEW’s mission of leading and representing businesses, organizations, and individuals that seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin,” said Jenny Heinzen, RENEW’s board president. The new board offers a healthy mix of new and familiar faces, Heinzen said.

RENEW is an independent, nonprofit organization that leads and represents businesses, organizations, and individuals who seek more clean renewable energy in Wisconsin.

The following were elected to three-year terms on RENEW’s board:
• Jeff Anthony, Director of Business Development, American Wind Energy Association, Milwaukee;
• Alex DePillis, principal, Clean Energy Partners, specializing in commercial wind and solar thermal systems, Madison;
• Maureen Faller, co-owner, Kettle View Renewable Energy, LLC, installer of wind and solar systems, Random Lake;
• Jim Funk, owner and engineer for Energize, LLC, specializing in providing high quality, high performing solar PV systems, Winneconne;
• Gary Haltaufderheide, Sun Prairie;
• Duane Kexel, President, Duane T. Kexel Consulting, LLC, Madison;
• Jeff Peterson, executive director, Polk County Energy Fair and director at the Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative, Luck;
• Pam Porter, owner, P Squared Group, energy consulting, Madison; and,
• Carl Siegrist, Managing Partner, Carl Siegrist Consulting LLC, Whitefish Bay.

The new directors will serve three-year terms and join existing board members to form the group that sets overall direction for the organization.

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.