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Doyle launches 2025 alternative energy plan

Madison Wis. - Gov. Jim Doyle, during visits to Green Bay and Madison, issued a call to action for increasing the state's production of renewable energy.

In what was billed as a "Declaration of Energy Independence," Doyle initiated a joint public-private effort to generate 25 percent of electricity and transportation fuel from renewable sources by 2025.

"America is facing an energy crisis," Doyle said at Virent Energy Systems in Madison. "It's a crisis of affordability for middle-class families. It's a crisis for our national economy, and increasingly it's a crisis for our national security.

"I believe that here in Wisconsin we have an opportunity - and given our resources, we truly have an obligation - to provide leadership at this very critical time."

The comments were delivered to a crowd that filled the office lobby of Virent Energy Systems, a company that specializes in hydrogen energy production and research. Katie Nekola, energy program director for Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, and representatives of the Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition were on hand to lend their support for the initiative.
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The effort also will involve supporting research and capturing 10 percent of the market share for the production of renewable energy sources by 2030. Doyle predicts that achieving this goal would bring $13.5 billion annually to Wisconsin's economy.

Leveraging the "U"

Kevin Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, offered his support by identifying three UW campuses that will be moved "off the grid" and made energy independent within five years.

Reilly said university researchers and scientists will work with industry partners to develop solutions to some of the nation's most pressing energy problems, and help produce the next generation of applications in the biofuels arena.

Doyle highlighted a report from the Wisconsin Consortium on BioBased Industry that offers specific recommendations for leveraging Wisconsin's agricultural, forestry, manufacturing, and life sciences sectors to serve as catalysts for what he called the state's "bioeconomy."

The report identifies eight key technologies that capture the bulk of biobased opportunities in Wisconsin, including biomass gasification, fermentation of six-carbon sugars and cellulosic biomass, and fiber composites manufacturing.

It recommends that the state work cooperatively with bioindustry producers to develop markets and focus on commercialization of "leapfrog" bioindustry technologies. It cites the UW's capabilities in plant genomics and plant biochemistry, and calls for continued investments to strengthen that capacity.

Doyle said that during his push to install more E85 pumps in gas stations across the state, he was stymied by "senseless action by the legislature to back away from the plan," but added that two new ethanol plants in the state will soon come online to double the state's current annual production of 180 million gallons.

E85 is the term for motor fuel blends of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 flexible fuel vehicles are designed to run on E85, gasoline, or any blend of the two.

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Comments

Michael Neuman responded 7 years ago: #1

Governor Doyle's so-called "Declaration of Energy Independence" is not the answer to the growing energy crisis in Wisconsin and elsewhere. It leads us in the wrong direction of substituting one bad source of energy for an equally bad other source of energy. Wisconsin citizens and businesses need to become less dependent on ALL forms of fuel burning, not just oil derived sources.

Just as burning diesel fuel and gasoline release greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, which are known to be accumulating in the atmosphere to a level that scientists say has been causing Earth's temperature to rise, so too also does burning biofuels such as ethanol release those same gases to the atmosphere. In fact, the amount of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere from driving one mile and using ethanol vs. driving one mile and using gasoline is probably about the same. Then on top of that for biofuels you have to also count the greenhouse gas emissions released in the manufacturing of biofuels and for the oil you should theoretically take the fuel burned in delivery of the oil as well. In the case of both of these emissions, the CO2 that gets emitted to the atmosphere theoretically stays up in the atmosphere (50 - 200 years) just as long for the biofuel that gets burn as it does for the oil that's burned.

So I submit that what the governor as well as the other folks who signed onto the governor's Declaration of Energy Independence should have done instead is to declare that we'll all cut back on the total amount of all fuel burning, not just oil, gasoline and kerosene (jet fuel) burning.

Doing that is also called "energy conservation". That's what's missing from the governor's "Declaration of Energy Independence". A more sustainable approach is for us all to reduce burning of fuels as a whole by driving and flying less, and burning less fuel in recreation.

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