Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Governor Doyle Announces Four UW Campuses to Be Energy Independent By 2012

[from Gov. Doyle's office]

Governor Jim Doyle today announced that the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point will take part in a pilot program to make their campuses completely energy independent within the next five years. Upon completion, the schools will be the first state-owned facilities capable of acquiring or producing renewable energy equivalent to their consumption.

"With ongoing increases in the cost of energy, now is the time for Wisconsin to take control of our energy future," Governor Doyle said. "By committing four of our campuses to energy independence by 2012 we are tapping into the ingenuity of the UW System and laying the groundwork for a cleaner, more energy independent future in Wisconsin."

The campuses will work with the Department of Administration's Division of State Facilities to identify and implement technologies capable of replacing external power supplies currently serving their locations. Possible replacements include the use of solar or wind power, fuel cells, a greater emphasis on renewable fuels, and a switch to biomass. The project will also emphasize energy conservation strategies to curtail overall energy demand. Currently all four campuses produce their own heating and cooling by burning fossil fuels.

By conservative estimates, converting the four campuses to renewable fuels will save 260,000 tons of coal over a decade - equivalent to a train loaded with coal 30 miles long. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 676,000 tons and improve the energy efficiency of campuses - saving taxpayers money.

Energy use on college campuses has increased dramatically over time as the proliferation of computer technology and high-end equipment has taken on a larger role in day-to-day campus life. Adding to that demand is an ongoing surge in the number of electronic devices students bring to campus such as laptops, cell phones, iPods and televisions.

Kevin Reilly, President of the University of Wisconsin System, commended the project, saying it holds great promise for not only the pilot campuses but also Wisconsin residents.

"At the heart of the Wisconsin Idea is the belief that what starts on one or two campuses can radiate out and provide benefits to the entire state," Reilly said. "This is an exciting project because it gives our faculty, students and staff an opportunity to find innovative solutions to our energy challenges and a chance to participate in the implementation of those solutions."

Earlier this week, the Governor unveiled plans to grow Bioindustry in Wisconsin through a $450 million public/private investment strategy - including nearly $80 million from the state - in biopower, biofuels and bioproducts. The Governor's proposal, which will be included in his budget next year, is expected to create 17,000 jobs in Wisconsin. The plan includes financial incentives such as bonds, tax credits, loans, and grants for companies to invest in and develop new technologies and renewable energy.

In July, Governor Doyle launched Wisconsin's "Declaration of Energy Independence," setting three broad goals for the state:

  • To generate 25 percent of our electricity and 25 percent of our transportation fuel from renewable fuels by 2025.

  • To capture 10 percent of the market share for the production of renewable energy sources by 2030, helping America kick its addiction to foreign fossil fuels and bringing tens of thousands of new jobs to our citizens. Achieving this goal would bring $13.5 billion annually to Wisconsin's economy by 2030.

  • To become a national leader in groundbreaking research that will make alternative energies more affordable and available to all - and to turn those discoveries into new, high paying jobs right here in Wisconsin.


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