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SOUL Meeting, Thurs., October 21, 6:30 pm 

Physical meeting at Organic Valley Headquarters in La Farge to discuss the La Farge Community Solar, state lobbying, Cardinal Hickory Creek and Mark Twain projects underway.  Directions and location
 

Solar Profitability and Wisconsin Utilities

Record utility debt  and certain rate increases in coming years insure substantial savings from fixing your electricity costs with solar. Article, and comparison of 30 years savings across Wisconsin utilities. Ask for a personal savings calculator for Wisconsin utilities.
 

20th Century Utility Assumptions Failing Ratepayers in 21st Century

A must read article by  David Roberts explaining causes for skyrocketing cost increases and unwitting liabilities utilities are bringing upon electric customers as they refuse to embrace cost-effective solutions. A companion article by Roberts' provides an overview of New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program in which the NY PSC ordered utilities to apply $200,000 towards energy efficiency, local power and load management instead of spending $1 billion upgrading an older substation.  3rd, related article.
 

Proposed Legislation Would Lower Wisconsin's Water Table Standards  

Senate Bill 291 would reduce protections for deep wells and cumulative effects from multiple wells number of wells by creating â€œforever permits”  of high capacity wells. removing well monitoring conditions  and other ill advised actions described here.   Email Senator Robert Cowles, Chair, Natural Resources and Energy Committee and ask that provisions within Sen. Miller's  legislation, SB72 and Rep. Mason's AB105 to create modern standards used in neighboring states be incorporated into his bill.  Copy of your letter to your state lawmakers.
 

Innovative Volunteer Efficiency Efforts Underway in Upper Michigan

While Upper Michigan is being hit with scorching electricity cost increases, energy hero Melissa Davis is writing and receiving grants to help pay for materials so that volunteers can winterize at least 186 area homes.  Davis's New Power Tour Project is  is also developing plans for multiple 1.4 MW woody biomass generation plants in the region. 
 

Wisconsin County Health Board Rules Wind Farm a ‘Health Hazard’

Low frequency induced nausea and sleep interference associated with wind turbines south of Green Bay are further materializing in Brown County WI. The County Health Board is considering pursuing removal of the turbines as one possible solution.
 

California Grid Operators Eye Bundled Distributed Energy Sources for Wholesale Market

Under the CAISO draft final plan companies including utilities will be able to purchase and consolidate the output of rooftop solar systems, batteries, and plug-in electric vehicles from multiple homes and commercial power systems to a bundle baseline capacity that can sold into the electricity market. The development is expected to allow DER's to have a greater role in meeting the state’s energy needs and is seen as a critical advance in rooftop solar and solar plus storage system economics.
 

Tell your U.S. Senators to Support the Extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit

The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) and The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have created tools to help you ask your U.S. Senators  to support an extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar installations as part of upcoming tax extenders’ legislation.  John Farrell of the Institute of Local Self Reliance has written a comprehensive article about the SITC.
 

Maryland approves nation's highest energy efficiency standard

Maryland utilities had proposed cutting power usage from 0.7% to 1.7% per year, but state regulators decided to expand the Empower Maryland program, upping conservation  to 2% per year.  The Chesapeake Climate Action Network( CCAN) said the new rules would require utilities to save over 1.2 million MWh annually, or about the same as closing a 460 MW coal-fired plant every two years. The American Council on an Energy Efficiency Economy,(ACEEE) says new efficiency target is the highest in the nation. Wisconsin's current  energy efficiency program taps less than 25% of theses conservation goals. See Utility Dive article.
 

Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance Halts Unaccountable Transmission Expansion Proposal 
The Rock Island Clean Line that would impact 16 counties in Iowa is effectively "on hold."  Iowa Governor Branstad is acknowledging that there are major land use obstacles for the privately owned project and that deceasing demand for power across the country is lowering demand for utility expansion projects.  "[RICL] is a very controversial issue and obviously we prefer to have these things resolved between the land owner and whoever the utility might be without the use of eminent domain ... I don't think there's an easy answer to it."  For more information, contact The Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance


Beehive Design Collective - October 25, Gays Mills, WI

Bring the whole family to a compelling presentation of artwork and storytelling entitled, "Rock Bottom in the Age of Extreme Resource Extraction," by the famed Beehive Design Collective  from 3-5 pm at 212 Main Street. Event sponsored by the Crawford Stewardship Project. Call 608.632.2183 or email Forest Jahnke for more information.
 

 Save the Hills Alliance - 4th Annual Meeting & Event Sat., Nov. 7, Menomonie, WI

Science-based presentations concerning native prairie habitat, farmland, and forest restoration and reclamation with Dan Masterpole, Kathy Denning, and Katie Himanga. introduced and moderated by Dave Carlson of the TV series, "Northland Adventure. To be held at the Veterans Center of Menomonie, E4710 County Road BB. from 1pm to 4pm. For more information and to register, contact Save the Hills Alliance at  877.353.4976 or AllianceSaveTheHills.register@gmail.com .
 

CARS, Citizens for Rail Safety Await Judge's Ruling

Earlier this year, nine citizens concerned about the proposed expansion of rail lines carrying crude oil through the Upper Mississippi River Basin filed a legal challenge to the Wisconsin DNR’s decision to issue a wetland fill and bridge permit to BNSF Railway. The suit says the DNR’s environmental analysis of the project didn’t comply with state law and asks the court to reverse the DNR’s decision.  With four state chapters and alliances with Minnesota and Iowa citizen and governmental groups, CARS has gained the support of US Senator Tammy Baldwin and is working on further governmental actions. For more information about the law suit, meetings and action you can take, visit CARS
 

Madison, WI Area Actions: Enbridge Line 61, Tar Sands, Regressive Madison Gas & Electric Rate Changes

Attend upcoming meetings and calls of the Madison area chapters of 350.org and Citizens Climate Lobby in addressing concerns about tar sand pipelines in Wisconsin and climate change. 350.org will meet Mon., November 2 at Friends Meeting House, 1704 Roberts Ct.  The Citizen's Climate Lobby holds informative weekly phone calls about their activities. Members of another local group. RePower are holding community discussions with Madison Gas and Electric about improving their renewable energy and energy efficiency offerings to area electric customers. Visit this site to learn about actions you can take to stop the utility's backwards rate structure proposal before the PSC.
 

Advancing Sustainable Living Courses - Echo Valley Hope

Free workshops and classes are being offered concerning a variety of sustainable practices as well with ongoing community conversations about peace making and  organic farming opportunities through the WWOOF project.    The public is invited to the next peace conversation, "Changing Our Story"  on November 14 at the Echo Valley Farm near Onatrio, WI. Visit Echo Valley Hope's events page for more information.




 

 

Leave a Comment with the WI PSC  concerning the utility's request to pay for unneces-sary capital investments by increasing the fixed fee from $8 to $18 per mo. More 

 
SOUL of Wisconsin's free Excel spreadsheet allows one to enter household energy use data and see savings generated from three types of solar and efficiency invest-ment for use with most Wisconsin utilities.   Request Calculator via email.
Discover clever, low-cost ways to become a Load Defector to promote better energy policies while saving your household or business lots of money. If your household electric bill is greater than 700 kilowatt hours, per month, its likely you can make significant improvements. Learn more about the energy and emis-sion savings tips and email SOUL for your personalized, online ledger to record your month to month and year to year progress.
LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP to support ratepayer energy investment priorities is only $5!  Membership numbers are especially important when SOUL intervenes in utility cases and seeks funding for engineers and other experts.  Consider two or more memberships for your family. Donations above the $5 fee are tax deductible. Join online here or mail a check to SOUL of Wisconsin, PO Box 413, La Farge, WI 54639 
Understanding Wisconsin Utilities Excessive Spending

Wisconsin utilities were legally enabled to begin their current spending binge in 1998 when WI state legislators adopted laws that ceased competitive bidding between supply side and demand side energy investments.  No longer were proposals for new power plants and transmission lines required to economically compete with alternative solutions that can dramatically shrink all underlying need for these very expensive additions.  By 2006, as most states were investing more and more dollars on energy efficiency placing no debt on consumers while lowering utility bills, Wisconsin utilities had added numerous power plants and were expanding the transmission system with a trajectory of spending increases. Read More


 
The Natural Gas Gamble: A Risky Bet on America's Clean Energy Future

Assessment by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluding that dramatically expanding the use of natural gas to generate electricity creates numerous costly and complex risks for our economy, our health, and our climate. 
Small Solar Power Additions Making Huge Contributions to New U.S. Energy Sources

Summary of study released by the Solar Energy Industries Association by John Farrell, "Even more impressive than the steady growth each quarter is the portion of overall power plant capacity coming from solar each year. From January to June 2015, distributed solar accounted for 18% of new power plant capacity and solar as a whole represented nearly one-third. This continues the pattern of a growing share of new power capacity coming from customer rooftops!"