Wisconsin Governor Outlines Biofuels Initiative

Two days after his State of the State Address, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announced details of his Administration’s Biofuels Initiative. The Governor said the goal is to decrease Wisconsin’s dependence on foreign oil and provide a new market for products produced through the state’s agriculture industry.

“We will promote economic growth and energy security in both rural and urban areas of Wisconsin by using both biobased products and bioenergy in environmentally sound ways,” Gov. Doyle said. “It’s time to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. When it comes to our energy future, let’s rely on the Midwest, not the Mideast.” In his budget, Gov. Doyle will provide US $2 million of grants for farmers and producers who make use of products produced by their land or animals for energy. Not only will this help develop alternative energy sources, it will promote conservation and create a new market for farmers. The Governor said his Administration will establish a Consortium on Biobased Industry to build on the work of his Energy Task Force. The Consortium will include leaders from the farm and forestry industries; environmental organizations; manufacturing, electricity, and energy companies; academics; and state agencies. They will prepare a roadmap on how best to support the development of biobased products and energy in Wisconsin. In addition, the Governor said that through a study called the Wisconsin Competitive Advantage, the state will identify its strengths in comparison to other states and the global market to better prepare for this emerging economic sector. Gov. Doyle said that his Administration has made important strides to increase Wisconsin’s energy capacity – not only power production, but power transmission. The Doyle Administration has given incentives to communities that site power plants or transmission lines, and the state has cut the time it takes to get new facilities approved in half. “In Wisconsin, we may not have oil fields,” Gov. Doyle said. “But we have the corn for ethanol. We have wind and sun and biofuels. And we have ingenuity.” In September 2004, Gov. Doyle created a bipartisan Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewables in light of growing demand for energy in the state and needed improvements in Wisconsin’s energy infrastructure. “The Task Force’s recommendations are good energy policy, good economic policy, and good environmental policy all rolled into one,” Gov. Doyle said. In his State of the State Address, Gov. Doyle set the goal that by the year 2010, at least 20 percent of the energy that state government uses will come from renewable sources, and by 2015, the state will set a standard for homes and businesses of 10 percent.

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