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PSC Approves Brown County Bioenergy Project

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) has approved a conditional $15 million Focus on Energy grant to BC Organics, LLC, for an innovative bioenergy system in Brown County. The system will produce renewable natural gas from dairy farm manure and other waste. The project will reduce the need to landspread raw manure, protect sensitive groundwater and surface waters in northeastern Wisconsin and provide positive economic benefits to participating farms.

At the direction of Governor Walker, the PSC, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection collaborated to develop a request for proposals (RFP) on innovative anaerobic digester systems that could produce renewable energy, remove nutrients from manure, protect water quality, and reduce pathogens.

BC Organics was recommended unanimously by the evaluation team comprised of expert staff from the PSC, DNR, DATCP, UW-Madison and Focus on Energy. BC Organics must obtain all of the necessary state and local regulatory approvals before construction may begin and includes an odor control plan designed to minimize impacts on neighboring landowners.

The consortium consists of 24 members led by Wisconsin based Dynamic Concepts (Waukesha), along with WEC Energy Group (Milwaukee), US Biogas LLC (Plymouth), and BioStar  Organics, among other Wisconsin based firms.

The project’s proposed location is northeast of Holland, near Green Bay, and is co-located with a proposed landfill owned by Brown County.  It has commitments from nine Wisconsin farms with over 22,000 animal units, with the capability to expand to include additional farms in the future. The facility is expected to begin operations by January 1, 2019.

The project involves the construction of multiple anaerobic digesters with capability to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) from manure and food waste, and eventually landfill gas. The estimated energy output of 5.7 million therms is equivalent to the home heating needs for 7,600 Wisconsin homes. The RNG will be injected into the interstate natural gas pipeline system for use
as a heating and transportation fuel.

WUI 2017 Annual Meeting Attracts Record-Breaking Crowd

WUI Executive Director, James Buchen, addresses the crowd at the 2017 WUI Annual Meeting of Members

A record number of WUI members joined us at the EAA in Oshkosh on September 14 for the
Annual Meeting! It would be safe to say, not only do utility stockholders share a respect for
the energy industry and reliable dividend returns, but they also share a love of history and
transportation!

This presents a good problem in looking to the 2018 Annual Meeting, how do we improve upon
the 2016 National Railroad Museum and the 2017 Experimental Aircraft Association Museum?

The Wisconsin Utility Investors Board of Directors wish to thank all who attended, who braved
the morning fog. We are also grateful to our excellent speakers, Andy Smith of Edward Jones
who addressed the group about “Making Sense of Investing” and Garrett J. Huffman (Research
Assistant to Mike Kuglitsch, Committee Chair on Energy and Utilities) who presented a
legislative review and a new legislative proposal which would reduce state tax on dividends.

What would an Annual meeting be without an update from our Utilities? John Sumi of MGE
Energy, Joel Haubrick of WEC Energy, and Chris LaRowe of WPS discussed the latest Issues
Impacting Wisconsin Utilities.

Thank You to the staff at the EAA and to the docent, Chris Henry, who presented a history of the
EAA and led members on a guided tour of the museum.

ENERGY RESEARCH CONSORTIUM ANNOUNCES FIVE NEW MEMBERS

The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium has welcomed four new members to the
M-WERC team. SAS Institute, Alliant Energy, Madison Gas and Electric, OSIsoft and Tetra
Tech have all joined. M-WERC also thanked Kohler Company for their renewed support of
our organization. The SAS Institute is the world’s largest privately held software business
and is based out of Cary, North Carolina. They are a founding member of the Smart Cities
Technologies working group.

XCEL ENERGY BOARD ELECTS NEW BOARD MEMBER

David K. Owens has been elected to Xcel Energy’s Board of Directors effective immediately. An executive with
extensive experience in public policies concerning energy and utility operations, Owens is recognized as an
industry
expert on business transformation.

After 36 years of service, Owens recently retired from the Edison Electric Institute, the association representing
all
U.S. investor-owned electric companies. He served as an Executive Vice President with EEI and was the first African-American to hold an officer title with the organization. Owens guided the association on issues affecting
the future
structure of the electric industry and the new rules in evolving competitive markets.

WISCONSIN FARMER SUCCESSFUL IN XCEL ENERGY STRAY VOLTAGE CASE

A western Wisconsin farmer could be awarded up to $13.5 million after winning a five-year legal battle against an
electric services company over stray voltage. The farmer had claimed that his dairy farm herd of nearly 1,000 cows
became ill and had decreased milk production for more than a decade because of improperly grounded power lines.
The jury award was $4.5 million, but could be tripled if the company were found in willful, wanton or reckless violation of statutes. Xcel Energy spokeswoman Christine Ouellette says the company is disappointed by the decision and is looking into the next steps.

WUI Board of Directors Tours Wisconsin’s Largest Hydro Dam

Jim Falls Dam, Chippewa Falls, WI

 

WUI Board Members and Staff from left to right; James Buchen, Charles Clarke, Roger Cole,Michelle Lancaster, Phillip Mikulsky, Walter Woelfle, Thomas Fehring, Jeffery West, Richard Krueger, Kenyon Kies, and Trudy Popenhagen.

 


On June 15, 2017, members of the Wisconsin Utility Investors Board held  a board of director’s meeting in Chippewa Falls and toured the state’s largest hydro dam (in terms of generating capacity) at Jim Falls. The dam is an impressive engineering accomplishment, built in 1988 and functioning at full capacity today while preserving and contributing to the natural beauty, habitat and leisure access of the area. Board members were grateful to Xcel Energy for the opportunity to learn more about the powerful contribution of this hydro dam in terms of energy and preservation of our natural resources.

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