Jan 23, 2009

A wind fall We Energies drops spending for renewable energy plans

From: jsonline
We Energies says it's committed to expanding renewable energy but has pulled off the table, for now, a request to spend up to $69 million on renewable energy project planning.
The company said it needed to "re-evaluate its approach" to adding renewable generation. The company plans to make a new proposal "once the timing and direction of state and federal legislation becomes clearer."
Many pieces of legislation at the state and federal level could change mandates for utilities that are now required to generate 10% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2015. The state task force recommended boosting that to 25% of the state's electricity by 2025, and there is a push in Congress for a national renewable energy mandate.
President Barack Obama stressed the need to expand solar and wind power during his inaugural address Tuesday. The administration supports a national mandate for 10% of the country's electricity to come from renewable power by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
A report this week by energy analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted a national renewable mandate will be passed by Congress between April and October.
"Now that the sessions of Congress and the Legislature have kicked off, we're much more likely to see some additional factors that we need to consider," said Barry McNulty, a We Energies spokesman.
We Energies remains committed to renewable energy, McNulty said, including its proposal to build the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County, at a cost of up to $530 million, and previous commitments to expand solar and biogas generation.

Statewide coalition
We Energies has joined a statewide business coalition that has formed to support legislation that would expand the state's use of renewable energy, relax the state's ban on nuclear power plants and make other changes designed to reduce the state's emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
That group, named Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin's Economy made its debut Thursday. The coalition, led by former PSC Chairman Dan Ebert, plans to lobby in support of legislation that is expected to be proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle. But other business groups are expected to oppose the legislation, including Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin Paper Council and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group.
"Large manufacturers have strong concerns over rising energy costs," said Todd Stuart of Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group. "We would hope this new coalition would at least be pressing for the cost-containment measures in the Task Force package or, preferably, even stronger cost-containment measures."
Ebert said the goal of the task force is not only to reduce the state's emissions but to help position the state to take advantage of areas ripe for investment in tough economic times, including energy efficiency, renewable energy and biofuels.

On the Web Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin's Economy: www.wicrewe.com