Opportunities and risks linked to development of wind energy were in the spotlight Wednesday in Milwaukee and Madison.
In Milwaukee, suppliers heard from manufacturers already serving the wind industry about ways to get involved with an industry that’s had tremendous growth rates in recent years, only to see a fallback this year.
Wausaukee Composites CEO David Lisle talked of how his company expanded from other sectors into the wind industry, opening a plant in Cuba City. The plant had to close for lack of orders but now the company has diversified to supply more customers in the wind industry. Preparing for an industry rebound, it recently announced an expansion with plans to create 200 jobs. More on that here.
In Madison, legislators heard a variety of beefs about the state’s wind power siting rules. The rules generated more public comments than any other rules ever drafted at the state Public Service Commission, said PSC executive assistant Nate Zolik.
Wind developers said the ordinance contained some provisions so strict that it would provide a chilling effect on wind power development. Homeowners who live near wind turbines say the ordinance doesn’t go far enough to protect them from noise and shadow flicker from turbines. More on that here.
In other energy news, the Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead to boost the amount of ethanol in gasoline in newer vehicles. That generated cheers from grain farmers and biofuels advocates but jeers from auto and marine industry representatives who worry about damage to engines from the higher ethanol blend. My colleague Rick Barrett reports on that here.
If that’s not enough of a morning jolt of energy news, check out American Transmission Co.’s new power line proposal or the new energy dashboards at dorms, below, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The dashboards offer a real-time check on building energy use, similar to the instant-MPG readings provided in the dashboard of hybrid electric cars.
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