Wisconsin makes a play for clean energy

Wisconsin is creating a Clean Energy Generation, Transmission and Storage Systems (CEGTS) Consortium, which will be a public-private partnership to drive clean and biotechnology research and development in the state. The Consortium will be composed of the state’s academic institutions, state industry and government partners.

Wisconsin has a budding energy research corridor between the academic institutions in Madison and Milwaukee. The state hopes to build on that with this initiative which will combine The Center for Renewable Energy Systems (CRES) in Madison and the Southeastern Wisconsin Energy Technology Research (SWETR) consortium in Milwaukee into a single statewide organization which will be funded by a combination of federal, state, regional, local and private industry sources.

The Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence will provide $300,000 in seed capital for the first two years of operation. The project is expected to leverage $37 million in combined sponsored research over a 10-year period.

The goals of the consortium are to provide continuous research and development for the state’s industrial leaders in a wide range of technologies for clean energy development and economic growth. Research areas will include energy efficiency, wind, solar, biofuels, superconductors, smart grid and nanomaterials. Consortium work will take place at UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

Starting in June, the state is also building the Wisconsin Energy Institute a $50 million project that will house the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

In addition, Wisconsin has a partnership with Manitoba, Canada to build efforts to advance emerging technologies and enhance the mid-continent knowledge “IQ” corridor. They will be hosting a series of joint workshops this summer on building a clean energy economy. Manitoba and Wisconsin also work together as partners in the Midwest Greenhouse Gas Accord.

These initiatives are part of an aggressive agenda from Governor Jim Doyle designed to make Wisconsin a hub for developing the clean energy economy. “It is crucial that Wisconsin develop and maintain a leadership role in these emerging energy technologies to provide the needed expertise to its companies,” Governor Doyle said.

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