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E-M:/ WI Gov Doyle: Coal is not an option at State-owned hearing plants!

Across Lake Michigan, the Governor of Wisconsin is saying NO to COAL -- Governor Doyle’s release, followed by the Sierra Club release --




MADISON—As the Department of Administration (DOA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison look at alternatives for fueling state-owned heating plants in Madison, Governor Jim Doyle said coal is not an option.


“The state should lead by example and move away from our dependence on coal at the state-owned heating plants in Madison,” Governor Doyle said today. “Global warming demands leadership and as we plan for the future of the Madison heating facilities, we must chart a course that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and encourages new alternative energy sources.”


The Governor’s directive to move away from coal at the Madison state-owned heating plants is consistent with the recent recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming that set aggressive emission reduction targets and increase reliance on home grown renewable power to help position Wisconsin as a national leader in climate change solutions.


Today a Comprehensive Heating Plant Feasibility Study was released that examined thirteen different options for the three existing state-owned heating plants in Madison and a possible new combined heating plant.  The study looked at each option’s environmental qualities, reliability and economic implications.  State and university officials will use the information in the study to determine how to heat and cool state agency buildings and the UW-Madison campus with lower emissions as economically as possible.


This study was part of an agreement reached last November. It required DOA and the University of Wisconsin to complete a feasibility study on the Charter Street Heating Plant and other state-owned heating plants in Madison.  DOA and the University of Wisconsin will use the information in the study to develop a plan to heat and cool state agency buildings downtown and on the campus, with a goal of including the project in the state’s Capitol Budget early next year.


The state-owned heating/cooling plants include the Charter Street Heating Plant, the Walnut Street Heating Plant, the Capitol Heat & Power Plant and the West Campus Cogeneration Facility, which is jointly owned by the state and MGE.  The state-owned facilities mainly provide steam to heat and cool state agency buildings and the UW campus in Madison.





August 1, 2008


Contact:  Jennifer Feyerherm, Sierra Club  608-257-4994, cell 608-695-5797


Clean Energy Victory!

Madison Moves Beyond Coal


Physicians, Sierra Club, and Union Leaders Applaud Governor Doyle and the University of Wisconsin


Madison - In a pivotal victory for Wisconsin's energy future, Governor Doyle announced today that two of the State's old, dirty coal-fired heating plants in Dane County will be shut down and replaced with much more efficient, cleaner fueled cogeneration; a move that will reduce Wisconsin's over-reliance on coal, cut the State's global warming pollution, and dramatically reduce Dane County's air pollution.


"This is a big step towards making Madison a model for an environmentally sound energy future," explained Dave Poklinkoski, President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2304.  "At the beginning of the process to find solutions for our aging power plants, I agreed with the University that we must take a transformational approach.

Indeed, this is the first step towards an energy future where we create energy cleanly, use energy wisely, and provide family-supporting jobs for decades to come." 


The announcement came with the release of the Comprehensive Feasibility Study that examines options for cleaning up and replacing the University's Charter Street Heating Plant and the State of Wisconsin's Capitol Heat and Power plant.  During the development of the Feasibility Study, residents, students, Madison Alders, Dane County Supervisors, medical professionals and many others called on the state to move away from the dangers of coal and toward a cleaner, safer energy future.


"A move away from coal means a move towards cleaner air and water," noted Monica Vohmann, a local physician and member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.  "Without coal piles, we will not see coal dust running into Lake Monona, contaminating the sediments and the fish.  Without the soot from coal, we will see fewer asthma attacks, heart attacks, and strokes."


As Madison has grown, our air quality has declined.  For the last three years, Dane County's air quality has exceeded federal health-based standards for soot, or fine particulate matter. As a result, the EPA is expected to order state officials to slash emissions later this year.  Currently, the 1950's-era Charter Street plant and the 106-year-old Capitol Heat and Power plant account for 40% of the sulfur dioxide that comes from smokestacks in Dane County.  Sulfur dioxide is a primary component of soot pollution.

According to the EPA, soot from coal-fired power plants causes hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and more than 20,000 premature deaths in the US each year.  Replacing these two aging coal plants with no-coal options will virtually eliminate sulfur dioxide pollution.  Today's announcement to end coal burning at state facilities in Madison will go a long way toward restoring clean air.


"Using cleaner fuels more efficiently also means less global warming pollution," explained Bob Terrell, a retired utility efficiency expert and Sierra Club volunteer.  "New, clean, cogeneration will maximize the plants'

efficiency, generating more heat and electricity from less fuel, and cutting global warming pollution.  Add in a district heating and cooling system, and we will have supply-side efficiency at its finest."


Cogeneration systems, also known as combined heat and power systems, use the waste heat from generating electricity to heat buildings, making energy generation much more efficient.  One of the no-coal options being considered would even use waste heat to heat commercial and residential buildings in downtown Madison via a district heating system, eliminating the pollution from individual furnaces and boilers.


Currently, coal is the primary fuel used in three antiquated power plants in downtown Madison.  The UW Charter Street plant was constructed in 1954 with second-hand boilers and provides heating and cooling for the University.

Built in 1902, the Capitol Heat and Power Plant provides steam for heating and cooling state, city, and county buildings, including the Monona Terrace.

The largest power plant is Madison Gas and Electric's Blount Street plat, which provides electricity for MG&E customers.  All three plants lack modern pollution controls. 


Today's decision is the latest development in an on-going campaign to clean up Madison's coal-fired power plants.  Late In 2005, Madison residents began the call to eliminate coal in Madison and replace it with cleaner, more efficient systems.  Madison Gas and Electric took the first step, agreeing in 2006 to stop burning coal no later than 2011. In 2007, the City of Madison, Dane County, and the State of Wisconsin teamed up to look at options for the Capitol Heat and Power Plant.  Late in 2007, the Charter Street Plant was added to the list as the University joined the process.

"This is simply the best decision for our economy and for our environment,"

said Jennifer Feyerherm, Director of Sierra Club's Wisconsin Clean Energy Campaign.  "We applaud the Governor and the University for turning toward a cleaner energy future."


Sierra Club volunteer leader Gary Werner envisions a cleaner, greener Dane County that will grow out of today's developments.  "Today's decision opens the way for sustainable development in Dane County that produces local fuel that sustains a local economy, generates heat and electricity as efficiently and cleanly as possible right where it is needed, and provides incentives for downtown development rather than sprawl.  We are finding solutions that make sense for us, for our economy, for our environment, for our families, and for our future."