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
“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
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
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2008
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
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
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."