Midwest Monday: Clean energy happenings


by Maria Sumanka, Maria Energia • 10/13/08 • There have been lots of exciting developments in the Midwest lately. Here are a few I’ve come across.

* The University of Minnesota at Morris has a new biomass gasification plant that burns biomass (corn stalks and other plant waste instead of natural gas) to heat and cool the entire campus. Morris is a small college making huge strides in green energy and technology. Located on the windy prairies of western Minnesota, it has the know-how and resources to lead the way towards energy independence.

* Wisconsin is movin’ on up in national energy efficiency rankings. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Wisconsin ranks 9th of the most energy-efficient states. When the ACEEE did its rankings back in 2006, WI didn’t even break the top 10. California topped the list and Wyoming ranked last. The scorecard was based on eight areas: Utility and public benefits programs and policies, transportation policies, building energy codes, combined heat and power, appliance standards, state facility and fleet initiatives, financial and information incentives, and research, development and deployment.

* Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed into law bills that call for 10 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015 and a requirement to cut power demand by 5.5 percent by 2015. A third provision limits whether industrial electricity customers can switch from Michigan utilities, so this may allow for the advancement of a new coal plant and new nuclear plant by securing a solid customer base for the operations.