Wisconsin is somewhat like that village. A stranger looking for an energy source in our state would be met with claims of, “No energy resources here; we import all our energy to the tune of $12 billion annually.” And that’s pretty much the way it is right now. But just like the stashes of food the villagers had squirreled away, we too have the resources to create a pot full of energy goodness. Just a little nudge could uncap all that potential. How to create this energy feast?
Wind – Wind power in our five closest upper Midwest neighbors has grown a promising average of 45% since 2011. Here in Wisconsin… a mere 3%. It’s not for lack of wind resource; we have plenty. While our neighboring states are creating jobs, generating energy, and breathing cleaner air we’re missing out. Fortunately, it looks like we may be ready to catch up. In Lafayette Co. negotiations are in the works for a nearly 50-turbine wind farm. Another 44-turbine installation is being considered in St. Croix Co.
Solar – another ingredient for the “energy pot.” A simple on-line calculation for rural Iowa Co. shows that Focus on Energy subsidies and federal tax credits create a 10 yr. payback for an average home-installed solar photovoltaic system. The owner earns nearly 10% interest on the investment which comes out to a nifty profit of about $1,400 over the lifetime of the system!
Energy Efficiencies – Investments in intelligent thermostats, improved lighting, high efficiency water heating, and the elimination of “vampire” electrical loads in our homes can reduce energy usage by 30 – 40%.
Those stones in the folk tale were free as is energy from the sun and the wind. With a little initiative from each of us we can create economic and environmental security from a homegrown mix of energy goodness. Clean energy for a cleaner world because we have no other place to call home. We’re here forever…Earthbound.