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Power Supplier Earns Award of Excellence

A national organization representing more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities has recognized New Richmond’s power supplier for its support of research and development projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and promoting renewable resources for public power systems.

Wisconsin Public Power Inc., which supplies electricity and support services to New Richmond Utilities and 36 other municipal utilities in Wisconsin, received the 2003 Award of Continued Excellence from the American Public Power Association through its Demonstration of Energy-Efficient Developments (DEED) program.

“WPPI is leading the way to improve the delivery of electric power in an efficient and environmentally conscientious manner,” said Dave Penn, executive vice president of APPA, based in Washington, D.C. “It is making Wisconsin a better place in which to live and work. By sharing its experiences with other utilities across the country, it also helps to maintain a strong, collaborative network for the transfer of cost-cutting information about electricity operations and technology.”

The DEED program was created in 1980 to sponsor and conduct energy innovation activities that improve efficiencies, lower costs and enhance the value of providing electricity and services to customers of community-owned utilities. It has funded nearly $6 million in projects in the last 22 years.

Based in Sun Prairie, WPPI has been a DEED member since 1986 and annually pays the dues for all its member utilities.

Over the years, WPPI has supported a wide range of university and electric utility industry projects that promote energy conservation, energy efficiency and alternative power technologies.

WPPI sponsors research projects to increase the efficiency of its own power operations and those of its member communities. It has earned a number of DEED grants, including those to study options to improve the efficiency of small coal-fired power plants, create software to simulate constraints on the transmission system, quantify energy savings from pumps used in heating and cooling systems and develop conservation programs to help customers reduce energy demand.

On the renewable resources front, WPPI and its members are promoting the development of clean, environmentally friendly electric generating sources through a renewable energy program launched in 2001.

In addition to owning two wind turbines in southwest Minnesota, WPPI is converting methane gas from wastewater treatment plants in Kaukauna and Sun Prairie into a renewable energy source through high-tech microturbines. The two low-emission units are among the first biogas microturbines producing energy in the Midwest.

More than 1,600 customers served by WPPI member utilities are now receiving all or a portion of their electricity from renewable resources, accounting for nearly 500,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy each month.

Other programs funded by WPPI include:

  • A large customer initiative in which more than $100,000 has been awarded since 2002 to support studies, energy audits and efficiency services for large commercial and industrial energy users.
  • Grants of nearly $12,000 to assist with the installation of solar panels used as educational resources at schools in New London and Waunakee.
  • Low-interest loans to assist members with local energy conservation programs.
  • Incentives for members to purchase electric and hybrid vehicles.
WPPI is also a member of several organizations established to promote clean energy strategies and to improve energy efficiency in Wisconsin, including RENEW Wisconsin, the Energy Center of Wisconsin and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

Three other utilities have received APPA’s ACE award since its inception in 2000: Waverly Light & Power of Waverly, Iowa; Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins, Colo.; and Silicon Valley Power, Santa Clara, Calif.