Governor Doyle: Governor Doyle, Industry, Environmental, and Education Leaders Sign Wisconsin’s “Declaration of Energy Independence”

Contact:  Anne Lupardus, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162


Launches Broad, Statewide Effort to Make Wisconsin America’s Renewable Energy Leader

GREEN BAY – Governor Jim Doyle, joined by University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly and other industry and environmental leaders, today signed Wisconsin’s “Declaration of Energy Independence” – setting broad, ambitious goals for the state to become the nation’s leader in the drive toward energy independence.  The Governor also announced a comprehensive effort to achieve those goals, including grant funding, incentives for research, support for ethanol and other biofuels, and a new initiative to make several University of Wisconsin campuses 100 percent energy independent within five years.

“America’s energy crisis presents Wisconsin with not only challenge, but opportunity,” Governor Doyle said.  “With our great research institutions, strong agriculture and manufacturing base, and tremendous renewable resources, we are well positioned to become America’s leader in the drive toward energy independence.  For the sake of our environment and our economy, we must seize this opportunity.”

The Declaration calls for a joint public-private effort by the State of Wisconsin, including the University of Wisconsin, to achieve the following goals:

    • To generate 25 percent of our electricity and 25 percent of our transportation fuel from renewable fuels by 2025.

    • To capture 10 percent of the market share for the production of renewable energy sources by 2030, helping America kick its addiction to foreign fossil fuels and bringing tens of thousands of new jobs to our citizens.  Achieving this goal would bring $13.5 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy by 2030.

    • To become a national leader in groundbreaking research that will make alternative energies more affordable and available to all – and to turn those discoveries into new, high paying jobs right here in Wisconsin.

Governor Doyle is directing state agencies to work toward achieving the goals in the Declaration.  As a first step, within the next few months Wisconsin will:

    • Identify at least three University of Wisconsin campuses that will be moved “off the grid” within five years – producing enough energy on their own to be completely energy independent, with a strong focus on renewable fuels.

    • Provide $1 million in grant funding to Wisconsin businesses and entrepreneurs who are developing and commercializing new technologies in the fields of bioenergy, bioproducts, and biofuels.

    • Aggressively promote new incentives, including as part of the budget process, to encourage the production and use of renewable fuels.  The state will seek federal and state grants for the installation of E-85 pumps throughout Wisconsin, lead an effort to create a biodiesel association in the state to foster the growth of this sector, and collaborate with Midwestern States to seek changes in the next Farm Bill to encourage the growth of alternative fuels and the feedstocks used for biomass production.

    • Encourage additional research efforts at the University of Wisconsin system to make Wisconsin the nation’s leader in renewable energy development.

    • Implement the recommendations of the Governor’s Biobased Industry Consortium, whose report Governor Doyle accepted today.  The Governor will call for the creation of a Wisconsin Biobased Industry partnership, building research and development capacity at the UW system and technical colleges, developing specialized business support programs, and building markets and demand for bio-products.

    • Form a Wisconsin Energy Independence Project – an interagency effort to coordinate and focus the activities of state government toward achieving the goals of the Declaration.  The Governor today directed Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Rod Nilsestuen and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett to lead this effort.

    • Launch an effort to make Wisconsin the first state in the nation to have a cellulosic ethanol plant – producing ethanol from wood products.

Governor Doyle indicated that these were only the first steps and that he would announce additional measures over the next several months and make this effort a priority of his second term.  He also urged university, industry and other leaders signing the Declaration to join him in this broad, statewide effort.

The Governor noted that Wisconsin is already leading the way in many fields of energy innovation, but can do more.  Earlier this year, Governor Doyle signed the Energy Efficiency and Renewables Act, requiring the state to get 10 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2015.  Wisconsin is also leading a five state effort to reduce natural gas consumption by five percent. 

A perfect example of this is ethanol.  In 2000, Wisconsin produced no ethanol.  By the end of 2006, with a total state investment of $7 million – the state now produces 180 million gallons a year.  By 2025, Governor Doyle’s goal is to triple the state’s production of ethanol. 

Last month, the legislature delayed action on a plan to encourage gas station owners to install more E-85 pumps. Today, Governor Doyle called on the Legislature to reconsider and approve his plan that would double the availability of E-85 in Wisconsin.

Governor Doyle was joined by a broad coalition of educational, industry, and environmental leaders in signing the declaration, including:

    • Kevin Reilly – President of the University of Wisconsin System
    • Sue Beitlich, Wisconsin Farmers Union
    • Paul Zimmerman, Wisconsin Farm Bureau
    • Bruce Bullamore, Richland County Development Corporation
    • John Imes, Wisconsin Environmental Initiative
    • John Malchine, Badger State Ethanol
    • Eric Apfelbach, Virent Energy Systems
    • Alex Samardzich – Wisconsin Ethanol Producers Association
    • John Lawson, Boldt Construction
    • Jessica Garrels and Anne Sayers – Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
    • Bob Oleson – Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
    • Lori Grant – Wisconsin River Alliance
    • Charlie Higley – Citizens Utility Board
    • Bill Holland – Apollo Alliance
    • Dan Kohler — Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG)
    • Carla Klein – Sierra Club, John Muir Chapter
    • Andy Olsen – Environmental Law and Policy Center
    • Brett Hulsey – Better Environmental Solutions
    • Katie Nekola – Clean Wisconsin
    • Michael Vickerman – RENEW
    • Kevin La Mere – President of the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association
    • Bob Sather – Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition

“The University of Wisconsin System is pleased to be a partner in the many different aspects of these important biofuels initiatives,” UW System President Kevin Reilly.  “Three of our UW campuses will serve as models for fuel efficiency. Our world-renowned researchers and scientists will work with industry partners to develop solutions to some of the state’s – and the nation’s – most pressing energy problems.  In helping to produce the next generation of leaders and applications in the biofuels arena, the UW will play a large part in positioning Wisconsin as a state with a bright economic and environmental future.”  

“It is important for state governments to lead by example when promoting energy sustainability and independence,” said Eric Apfelbach, CEO of Virent Energy Systems, a Madison company that specializes in hydrogen energy production and research.  “Governor Doyle’s announcement today confirms that the State is committed to renewable sources of power.  We hope that Virent can play a role in attaining the Governor’s important energy objectives.”

“The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and the Apollo Alliance support the Declaration of Energy Independence because we believe energy independence can mean good jobs, a cleaner environment and increased security for our nation,” said Jessica Garrels, Northeast Organizer for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

“The cost of imported fuels goes far beyond what we pay for a barrel of oil or a ton of coal. Maximizing our use of renewable energy sources will reduce the price we pay in terms of human health, clean air, and clean water in Wisconsin,” said Katie Nekola, Energy Program Director for Clean Wisconsin. 

Governor Doyle made the announcement at St. Francis Park, across from the Georgia Pacific paper mill.  This initiative will ensure Wisconsin remains the nation’s leader in paper production while moving forward in developing renewable fuels and other value added products, lowering energy costs and increasing Wisconsin competitive advantage.

The Declaration of Energy Independence is available at: