Mayor, Community Leaders Announce "100K Clean Energy Challenge" to Combat Global Climate Change

April 20, 2007

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz was joined today by community leaders to set an aggressive goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Madison area. Under the cooperative private-public-not-for-profit "100K Clean Energy Challenge," the City of Madison and its initial partners - Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), University of Wisconsin, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Dane County United, Citizens Utility Board, RENEW Wisconsin, Clean Wisconsin, Sierra Club, Madison Area Clean Energy Coalition, and Sustain Dane - will seek to reduce citywide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 100,000 tons by 2011.

The announcement was made at Warner Park where the Mayor was joined by several hundred children from Lakeview Elementary School to plant trees as part of United Way's Youth Service Day in conjunction with Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations.

"Global climate change affects all of us, and it is up to all of us to do our part to address this issue," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "This partnership will help make Madison a leader in showing how local communities can lead the way forward in protecting our environment for future generations."

The City of Madison component of the 100K Clean Energy Challenge calls for city government to reduce its CO2 "footprint" by 25% by 2011, to eliminate 15,000 tons of CO2, through the following strategies:

• Increase the energy efficiency of city facilities, reducing natural gas and electricity consumption. The city is actively implementing green building and energy efficiency practices, and recently created a new Facilities and Sustainability position to focus solely on this issue.

• Purchase more energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar and install renewable energy systems on city properties.

• Increase fuel efficiency and biofuels in the city's fleet of vehicles. The city is already pursuing this goal through establishing fuel-efficiency standards, the use of hybrid diesel-electric buses, as well as experimentation with biodiesel fuels.

"MGE applauds the City's leadership in setting forth this community challenge. As one of the partners, we are pleased that citizens who want to meet this challenge will be able to help contribute through our renewable energy and energy efficiency programs," said Gary J Wolter, President and CEO of Madison Gas and Electric Company.

The community-wide component of the 100K Clean Energy Challenge calls for Madison-area businesses and residents to reduce CO2 emissions through the following strategies and others:

• Purchase renewable energy. Starting in January 2008, MGE will be substantially expanding its green-pricing programs for customers. The expanded program will give customers who want even more renewables in their energy mix to buy energy generated from new, additional wind resources. With this program, a typical household (600 kwh/month) will be able to offset the CO2 emissions from their home electricity use for less than $10.00/month. When fully subscribed, this additional program will eliminate 40,000 tons of CO2.

• Increase the efficient use of electricity and natural gas. Madison residents and businesses are encouraged to increase their energy efficiency and conservation efforts. One way is to make a power pledge through participation in MGE's Power Tomorrow program, which encourages the use of energy efficient lighting, appliances, and other measures. With every 5,000 pledges, we eliminate15,000 tons of CO2 . The UW's WE CONSERVE program has a list of other energy saving practices people can follow as well at www.conserve.wisc.edu.

• Increase the number of solar systems installed for electricity and hot water generation in homes and businesses. Each 2.5 kWh solar system (typical home size) eliminates 3.5 tons or 7,000 pounds of CO2 per year and each residential solar hot water system, eliminates 1800 pounds CO2 per year. Cash incentives for customer-owned solar energy systems are available from Focus on Energy at www.focusonenergy.com.

• Reduce automobile emissions through programs such as ride-sharing, riding Madison Metro, Community Car, biking and walking. On the horizon is a new bus pass program for small businesses, allowing them to take part in the discounted bus ride program currently offered to large employers. To calculate your vehicle emissions and potential savings, (cars and trucks are responsible for one third of air pollution) use the EPA green vehicle guide www.epa.gov/emissweb/ and the carbon calculator at www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/.

• Plant trees. One tree will absorb 1 ton of CO2 over its lifetime.

Faramarz Vakili-Zadeh, UW Energy Conservation Program Director said, "Since so many faculty and University staff and students live in Madison, the University is hugely supportive of the Mayor's Clean Energy Challenge that promotes these energy conservation actions both at home and at work."

"Meeting this Clean Energy Challenge is an opportunity for all of us from city government, residents, not-for-profits and businesses to do our part locally to protect our environment, health and economic vitality while contributing to a desirable global future," said Sherrie Gruder, UW-Extension Specialist and chair of Madison's Sustainable Design and Energy Committee. "So, sign up for green power and pledge on MGE's website at www.mge.com, and contact Focus on Energy 1 888 762-7077 for a renewable energy site assessment. Together, we can meet the 100k Clean Energy Challenge."

Contact:
  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611