Thursday, July 26, 2012

Insights on Energy: Business Development in New Energy Markets’ - First Event July 2012

Community Power Corporation's modular biomass systems can generate up to 100 kilowatts of energy. | Courtesy of Community Power Corporation
Wisconsin Wind Works hosted its first 'Insights on Energy: Business Development in New Energy Markets' on Wednesday July 25th at Lakeshore Technical College. 

Hosted in partnership with Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) and New North, the event focused on a new energy market with potential opportunities for wind energy companies and suppliers: Biofuels. 

The event, part of a future speaker series of events to be hosted by Wisconsin Wind Works, featured two speakers focused on the current market for biofuels in Wisconsin and the nation. 

Speakers included Tim Baye, Professor of Business Development at University of Wisconsin - Extension with a large background in developing Integrated Bio-Gas Platforms and John Welch, the Solid Waste Manager for Dane County who principally oversaw the development of the Dane County digestor. 

Baye's presentation highlight market trends and price points for biofuels feedstocks and technologies, while focusing on the development of public/private partnerships to successfully develop biofuels projects. 

Welch offered 'lessons learned' from the Dane County digestor, as well as future best practices for newly planned digestor operations.  Welch's experience supporting public and private cooperation to successfully develop the Dane County disgestor proved insightful for those interested in developing projects. 

See the presentation's for each of the speakers at the links below. 

  • Tim Baye  - Professor, Business Development, UW-Extension. Baye’s presentation provided insight on Integrated Bio-Gas Platforms that included: Building a Bio-Economy in Wisconsin and the Concepts and Challenges.  PowerPoint:  Clickhere for the full presentation
  • John Welch – Solid Waste Manager, Dane County. Welch’s presentation included an overview of the Dane County Digester Project and Next Steps to Success for Biogas Projects in Wisconsin.  PowerPoint: Click here for the full presentation  
Wisconsin Wind Works looks to host more 'Insights on Energy' events around the region and state to support manufacturers and companies in development new market opportunities in energy.  Stay tuned for the next event announcement. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Newest WWW Alliance Member Michels Corp. set to begin Construction on Wind Farm

Michels Corporation, headquartered in Brownsville, WI, is the newest member to the Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance.  Michels is a leading utility contractor in North America that offers constuction, engineering and procuring services in energy, transportation, telecommunications and utility construction industries.  Michels was recently ranked No. 43 on ENR's Top 400 Contractors list for 2011. 

New projects for Michels include contruction of the northern-most wind farm in North America.  Michels Wind Energy, a division of Michels Corporation,  anticipates that construction is set to begin in late April on the 24.6-megawatt Eva Creek Wind Farm. 

The farm is set to be the largest wind farm in Alaska and will use turbines that are specifically designed for the harsh Alaskan climate. 

Read the full release on the upcoming project below:

BROWNSVILLE, Wis. (April 10, 2012) ­-- Michels Wind Energy, a division of Michels Corporation, anticipates start of construction in late April on the northern-most wind farm in North America.

The 24.6-megawatt Eva Creek Wind Farm is located approximately 15 miles northeast of Healy, Alaska, and will be the largest wind farm in the state. 

The Eva Creek project will use 12 of REpower’s Cold Climate Version MM92 turbines, each with a rated power of 2.05 MW and a hub height of 78.5 meters. The turbines are specifically designed for the harsh Alaskan climate.

The $93 million project received $13.5 million in state grants. Owned by Golden Valley Electric Association, it is expected to be in commercial operation by October. The Eva Creek Wind Farm will meet Golden Valley Electric Association's goal of having 20 percent of the system's peak load generated by renewable resources in 2014.
Michels Wind Energy, headquartered in Brownsville, Wis., has more than 4,000 MW of wind farm experience.

About Michels Corporation: 

Michels Corporation, a leading utility contractor in North America and ranked No. 43 on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list for 2011, offers construction, engineering and procuring services to keep pace with the growing demand in the energy, transportation, telecommunications and utility construction industries.

For more information, contact:
Jill Badzinski
Corporate Writer and Marketing Specialist
Michels Corporation


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

State-fed agreement announced to enhance coordination of offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes

A recent press release from the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative announces the formation of a Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.  The recent release details the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on how states will work together to collectively promote orderly and responsible review of offshore wind energy development opportunities in the Great Lakes.  The collaboration shown through this MOU and formation of the Collaborative continues to speak positively on future opportunities for wind in the Great Lakes. 

Read the full release from the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative (GLWC) below. 

State-fed agreement announced to enhance coordination of offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes
Five Great Lakes states and 10 federal agencies sign Memorandum of Understanding

Washington, D.C. - A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on offshore wind in the Great Lakes was signed today by the heads of 10 federal agencies and the governors of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania. The purpose of the MOU is to promote the efficient, orderly and responsible evaluation of offshore wind proposals for the Great Lakes.

The agreement was modeled after a similar MOU signed between 10 east coast states and the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2010. The Great Lakes MOU, however, carries additional significance because states own the bottomlands of the Great Lakes and ultimately have the primary authority about what can and cannot occur in those state waters.

Numerous federal laws and interests are also at play in the Great Lakes. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has federal authority to approve or deny placement of structures in navigable waters. Nine other federal agencies who signed the MOU also have regulatory roles or federal interest in whether and how offshore wind gets permitted in the Great Lakes.

The MOU establishes a Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium that will make the regulatory and permit review processes transparent and provide insight into potential improvements to ensure that proposal reviews are clear and expeditious. With so many agencies involved, there is high potential for duplication and protracted review times that can be unnecessarily costly to both prospective developers and relevant state and federal government agencies.

Tim Ryan, president of Apex Offshore Wind, noted that his company is excited to see the commitment to cooperation among the states and federal agencies. “It is a good sign for the future of offshore wind in the Great Lakes,” he said. “The MOU should yield lower costs and improve processing of permit applications, as each government unit learns from others’ experiences.”

Mark Clevey, manager of the Michigan Energy Office and co-chair of the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative, said he hopes that the agreement will lead to greater innovations related to sustainable development of windpower in the binational Great Lakes region.

The MOU does not create any new laws¸ call for new regulations or change existing authorities. Rather, it empowers the state and federal agency signatories to coordinate and share information concerning how offshore wind proposals are reviewed and evaluated with the goal of improving coordination among all of the relevant agencies and ultimately the efficiency of such reviews.

The cooperation produced by the MOU is aimed at improving efficiencies in the review of proposed offshore wind projects by enabling simultaneous and complementary reviews, and avoiding duplicative reviews. The MOU will send a market signal to prospective developers and investors that the Great Lakes region is ready to consider offshore wind proposals and that the regulatory process will be timely and efficient.

Victoria Pebbles, Great Lakes Commission program director and staff liaison for the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative, noted the importance of the federal-state collaboration. “It’s gratifying to see cooperation among our state and federal partners that will hopefully improve the regulatory process and benefit all involved.”

Offshore wind can contribute to meeting state renewable energy goals. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each gigawatt of offshore wind installed could produce enough electricity to power 300,000 homes, eliminating 2.7 million metric tons of carbon emissions. The development of even a small portion of the Great Lakes’ offshore wind potential could create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs and generate revenue for local businesses.

The concentrated efforts made possible by the MOU will also shore up existing investments in offshore wind technologies by ensuring a regulatory environment that inspires innovation and helps to bring clean energy solutions to market.


The Great Lakes Wind Collaborative (GLWC) is multi-sector coalition of wind energy stakeholders working to facilitate the sustainable development of wind power in the binational Great Lakes region. For more information about the GLWC, see

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winds of change shift again for Wisconsin’s wind-power industry - Column from Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council President

With recent developments in Wind Energy siting legislation in Wisconsin, a number of wind-supporting organizations are sharing their praise for legislative certainty for wind energy in Wisconsin.

Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council, shares his thoughts and updates on the recent developments in wind siting in Wisconsin in his latest column for the Wisconsin State Journal:

Tom Still column No. 14-12
“Winds of change shift again for Wisconsin’s wind-power industry”
Contact: 608-695-7557

MADISON – Sun Prairie’s Wind Power Happy Hour is back on the social calendar.

Unless you’re someone who follows the wonky ups and downs of the wind energy business in Wisconsin, the return of these periodic get-togethers at Sun Prairie’s Cannery Grill will pass over you like… well, a cool spring breeze.

But if you’re an advocate of wind power or working in the state’s budding wind industry, next month’s return of the happy hour next month symbolizes the end to a very unhappy year.

In March 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature voted to set aside rules that would have allowed continued development of most major wind farms. The rules were crafted by the state Public Service Commission late in Gov. Jim Doyle’s tenure. After his 2010 election, Gov. Scott Walker asked if private property rights and public safety could be threatened once the statewide rules took effect.

Wind power critics say turbine towers – up to 40 stories high – are noisy and cause shadow flicker when built too close to homes. Shadow flicker is the repetitive effect produced when turbine blades sweep in front of the sun’s rays. Groups such as the Wisconsin Realtors Association and the Wisconsin Towns Association agreed and recommended rejection of the PSC rules.

The Legislature was prepared to do precisely that until this month, when wind energy developers, alternative energy advocates and utilities urged lawmakers to reconsider. They argued the Doyle-era rules were strict enough to avoid clashes between landowners and wind farms. They also claimed Wisconsin was rapidly losing ground to other states in building wind projects – a fact that threatened home-grown manufacturers of wind components.

“Until we get the policies corrected in this state, we’re going to see more wind-power jobs leave Wisconsin,” said Jeff Anthony, director of business development for the American Wind Energy Association. “Getting the policies right is extremely important right now.”

Anthony, who spoke at the March 9 Green Energy Summit in Milwaukee, said surrounding states have continued to build major wind farms. Under construction in the region, he said, are 614 megawatts of wind power in Illinois, 470 in Iowa, 348 in Michigan and 202 in Indiana. That compares to 5 megawatts under construction in Wisconsin.

The construction surge is due in part to a rush to finish wind projects before federal wind power tax credits expire in December, so 2013 won’t be nearly as robust unless the credits are renewed. Anthony said Wisconsin has already lost several major projects, but it’s not too late to salvage part of the 2012 construction season.

Production of wind turbine components is a manufacturing sector that almost left the United States a decade ago. Today, six in 10 turbine components are made in America – and Wisconsin is home to about 300 suppliers and manufacturers, according to the Wisconsin Wind Works consortium.

Ultimately, the Legislature’s reversal reflected a classic policy showdown: Jobs for Wisconsin workers versus tougher protections for homeowners and farmers. In the end, jobs won.

That need not mean Wisconsin will become one giant wind farm, however. The state isn’t highly ranked as a place with top-tier wind potential, and some of the best wind sites have already been taken. Smaller wind turbines – often built to serve individual businesses – are seen as more likely construction targets in Wisconsin.

It may also be cheaper, in the long run, to import wind power from states that have welcomed major projects. That’s why there are plans to build transmission lines to the west, toward Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas and beyond.

The PSC rules set to take effect will bar wind turbines within 1,250 feet of neighboring residences. Wind advocates say that setback rule should offer ample protection. As part of implementing the rules, the PSC must conduct a survey by October 2014 of peer-reviewed scientific literature examining the health effects of wind energy systems.

For now, however, Wisconsin’s wind power industry is back in business – and the organizers of the Wind Power Happy Hour are, once again, happy. And if the wind industry and the PSC follow the spirit of the new rules, people who may live near future wind projects will be happy, too.

Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance Member Gearbox Express to speak at National Wind Energy Summit

Bruce Neumiller, founding partner and CEO of Gearbox Express and Alliance Member of Wisconsin Wind Works, will be a participating panelist during a tracked session at Wind Energy Update’s O&M Summit at the Marriott City Center in Dallas, April 25 – 27, 2012.  

In a recent press release from Gearbox Express, Neumiller shares his excitement for the upcoming Summit. 

“Our team at Gearbox Express has grown up in the industry and has literally rebuilt
thousands of gearboxes across many markets,” Neumiller said. “We consider ourselves a
partner with owners and operators, helping them get the most operational life out of their
assets. It’s in our DNA to see and solve challenges. We are looking forward to sharing our
insights and experience as part of this exciting panel at the O&M Summit.”

Learn more about Gearbox Express on their web site

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Composites Consortium Upcoming Meeting at Winona State Univ. - Opportunity

Photo Courtesy of Wausaukee Composites
7Rivers Alliance, a regional economic development organization of the Lacrosse, WI region is partnering with Winona State University (WSU) to host an upcoming session on new changes to the WSU's composite materials engineering program.  Winona State hosts the only undergraduate program in composite engineering in the country. 

This developing consortium, named the Composites Consortium, has formed to develop and grow opportunities in composite manufacturing.  Wisconsin Wind Works has encouraged all members operating in composite manufacturing and plastics to participate. 

See information below on the meeting and RSVP to the link below:

The Composites Consortium, centered in Winona, MN, is extending an invitation to all composite companies to their Thursday, March 22, 2012 meeting at Winona State University. The meeting will focus on new changes to WSU’s composites materials engineering program (the only undergraduate program in the U.S.) and tour the Composite Materials Technology Center (COMTEC) that uses WSU student to advance composite materials research. It will also include some next-steps for joint ventures including bulk-purchasing of composites supplies. For more information go to:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Great Lakes Wind Can Invigorate Wisconsin’s Economy

Photo courtesy of Ocean Power Magazine
A recent press release from the Sierra Club details the promise of new jobs and investment offshore wind energy development could bring to Wisconsin.  Leaders and suppliers of wind energy met Wednesday, Feb. 8th to discuss the opportunities offshore wind energy can offer and strategies towards attracting offshore development to Great Lakes near Wisconsin. 

Within the release, Mary Ann Christopher, partner at Michael Best & Friedrich, a Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance member, explains the potential offshore wind offers.  

“Great opportunities await Wisconsin in the form of an incredible natural resource – the winds of Lake Michigan right here on our shores,” explains Christopher, also member of the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative. “Europe and Asia are leading the way with almost 4,000 MW of off-shore wind in operation and almost 6,000 MW more under construction. Wisconsin can follow suit, bringing jobs, investments, and clean energy home by developing offshore wind in the Great Lakes.”

Read the full release and connect with RENEW Wisconsin, who hosted the event, at