March 19, 2006

St. Patrick's Day was "green" indeed for Wisconsin and Los Angeles

St. Patrick's Day 2006 saw the simultaneous adoption of two "green" measures in Wisconsin and Los Angeles.

Wisconsin: Governor Jim Doyle signed Senate Bill 459, the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Legislation, that had passed the State Assembly unanimously March 8th (see article below).

Los Angeles: The first concrete action toward total landfill diversion in Los Angeles was passed by the Los Angeles City Council. In February, the Council voted unanimously for R.E.N.E.W. LA - a comprehensive 20-year plan to significantly reduce its landfill dependency with an environmentally just solution that includes building geographically distributed waste-to-energy facilities throughout the county. On St. Patrick's Day, the Council again voted unanimously to begin in July to reduce dumping at the current Sunshine Canyon landfill by shipping 600 tons/day (1/6th of the total) to landfills outside Los Angeles. Lessening the city's dependence on Sunshine Canyon would help gain support for later initiatives - such as increasing recycling and building the clean waste-to-energy facilities - to reduce the city's need for landfills.


Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficiency Bill Passes the Senate

MADISON, Wis. (March 8, 2006)—Wisconsin made an important commitment to clean energy and energy efficiency when the state legislature passed Senate Bill 459 yesterday. This energy legislation requires utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2015. It also emphasizes energy efficiency by increasing the funding for the Focus on Energy program, and most importantly, preventing the diversion of those funds for purposes other than delivering energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

"The implementation of these renewable energy and energy efficiency programs will have far reaching impacts," according to Susan Stratton, Executive Director of the Energy Center of Wisconsin. "Electricity usage could be reduced by as much as 20-30%, many full-time jobs will be created, the amount of coal being burned in Wisconsin will be reduced and result in less CO2 being released into the air."

This legislation is a great example of consensus and collaboration on the part of Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), Representative Phil Montgomery (R-Ashwaubenon), the Governor's Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables and the entire legislature. The bill passed the State Assembly by a vote of ninety-four to zero.

Many of the recommendations in the legislation resulted from the work of the Governor's Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables. The Energy Center of Wisconsin contributed to their efforts with a study* providing critical information on the achievable potential from investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Wisconsin. The study examined 30 energy efficiency markets and six customer-sited renewable energy markets.

The major provisions of the bill require:

  • State utilities to generate 10% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2015.

  • The state to purchase 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2010.

  • Changes to the Focus on Energy fund to prevent diversion of funds.

  • Utilities to collect and contribute 1.2% of their annual gross revenues to Focus on Energy.

  • The state to upgrade the Commercial Building Code to current International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) efficiency standards.

  • The purchase of Energy Star or equivalent high efficiency standards for all equipment (computers, copiers, lighting, etc.) for state buildings.

  • *Energy Efficiency and Customer-Sited Renewable Energy: Achievable Potential in Wisconsin 2006-2015
    A technical analysis of options for investment in energy efficiency and customer sited renewable energy as an alternative to electric generation and natural gas usage.


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