Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced a pilot program to demonstrate that four state university campuses can make their campuses completely energy independent within the next five years. University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point will take part.
If they meet the challenge, the schools will be the first state-owned facilities capable of acquiring or producing renewable energy equivalent to their consumption.
The campuses are already involved in sustainable energy programs. For example, in April 2006, UW-Steven’s Point Chancellor Linda Bunnell signed an agreement that allows green power to be used as an energy source on campus as of September. UW-Steven’s Point has begun purchasing renewable energy through the NatureWise program available through Wisconsin Public Service. UWSP is purchasing blocks of methane generated power and wind to replace 10 percent of fossil fuel generated energy consumption. Students initiated and fund this project on campus.
For the new initiative, the campuses will work with the Department of Administration’s Division of State Facilities to identify and implement technologies capable of replacing external fossil-fuel power supplies currently serving their locations. The project will also emphasize energy conservation strategies to curtail overall energy demand. Currently all four campuses produce their own heating and cooling by burning fossil fuels.
It is expected that funding for the program will be proposed as part of the next state budget submittal by Governor Doyle.