Town of Mazomanie Energy Plan
- Goal: to support Town of Mazomanie residents in adjusting to a rapidly changing economy and environment, and to transition away from fossil-based fuels to more renewable energy sources.
- Background: In recent years there have been notable technological improvements for generating electricity (especially solar energy), in the storage of energy, and in the efficient use of electricity. These developments can potentially lower costs for consumers who have also become capable of generating their own electricity without using fossil fuels.
Along with these technological advances, we are experiencing dramatic climate changes including heavy rains and flooding, polar vortexes in the winter, and sporadic drought periods. A contributing cause to these changes is the rising levels of CO2 in our atmosphere, due in large part to burning of fossil fuels in electrical generating facilities and in transportation. The electrical grid’s dependence on long distance and complex electricity transmission is vulnerable to these climate changes.
Wisconsin’s Statutes 1.12(3) state that the energy goals of the State include:
- Energy efficiency. It is the goal of the state to reduce the ratio of energy consumption to economic activity in the state.
- Renewable energy resources. It is the goal of the state that, to the extent that it is cost effective and technically feasible, all new installed capacity for electric generation in the state be based on renewable energy resources, including hydroelectric, wood, wind, solar, refuse, agricultural and biomass energy resources.
The Dane County Comprehensive Land Plan (Chapter 4, Utilities and Commercial Facilities/Utilities) has as one of its goals to: Promote the adequate provision of affordable, efficient, reliable and environmentally sound energy to meet the current and future energy needs of Dane County residents and businesses.
Supporting objectives include:
– Encourage adoption of green energy policies.
– Incorporate energy conservation methods and renewable energy alternatives as part of a strategy to meet Dane County’s future energy needs.
Based on the above background and goals, we propose the following actions for implementing this energy plan for the Town of Mazomanie:
Action Area 1: Communication/Awareness Building
- Gather data on interest in renewable energy systems in the Town of Mazomanie
- Share experiences of Town residents and neighbors who have already invested in solar, wind, and/or Geo-thermal energy sources, either living “off the grid,” or “grid-tied.”
- Organize and motivate people to attend events for learning about renewable energy and energy efficiency options, such as the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, WI.
Resources: Town website, The Black Earth Creek Watershed Association, Gateway to the Driftless, local newspapers and the Next Door community website. We can also enlist the support of our local banks and utilities, and neighboring communities with interest in taking similar action, such as the villages of Mt. Horeb, Cross Plains, Black Earth and Mazomanie and adjacent townships, especially the Town of Vermont.
Action Area 2: Support Energy Efficiency
- Encourage updating inefficient appliances and equipment to newer, more energy efficient technology, and building standards that provide the quickest payback toward more efficient use of electricity.
- Make information available about possible efficiencies and standards and resources available for financing.
- Area utilities (Alliant Energy, Vanguard, and Madison Gas and Electric) may be able to provide information on usage in the Town of Mazomanie to see how we are doing in reducing our fossil fuel usage.
Resources: WI Focus on Energy (Joel Roltgen, rep for Dane County) offers a wide range of rebates and incentives for energy efficiency upgrades. Also, local utilities for energy usage.
Action Area 3: Support Expansion of Renewable Energy
Cost of solar energy production and battery storage has steadily declined in recent years. There are more than a dozen solar energy installations at home-sites in the surrounding Towns.
- Individual solar: Support Town residents in learning more about on-site solar energy installation, benefits and payback potential. Check Focus on Energy for current federal tax credits and rebates available.
- Utility solar: Encourage utilities serving Town of Mazomanie residents to install local community solar projects if they can be proven to reduce costs and increase reliability for local services.
- Encourage “group buy” arrangements for lower cost installation of solar PV panels (plus, in some cases, battery storage) on privately owned homes and buildings.
- Ask each of the utilities servicing the Town – Madison Gas & Electric, Vanguard Electric, and Alliant Energy – to provide their customers with lower cost, renewable generated electricity through the installment of community solar arrays and storage facilities, or other means.
- Maintain a section of the Town’s website containing information on energy efficiency improvements and area solar installers they can use.
- Conduct energy efficiency and renewable energy assessments of the Town Hall buildings to determine potential cost benefits.
Resources: One Energy, Eric Udelhofen– Community Solar, Eagle Point Solar, Dave Pluym – Group Solar Buy for individual property owners, MadiSUN: WI Renewable Energy, Sam Dunaiski – Group Solar Buy for individual property owners, Legacy Solar Cooperative, Kurt Reinhold—for expertise and advice on site assessments, technical support for solar+battery installations, support for dealing with utilities and the Public Service Commission
Action Area 4: Disruptive Weather Event Preparation as it affects Power Supplies.
The current and most immediate threat to Town residents is increasingly out-of-norm weather events. The flooding from August 2018, as well as the extreme cold of 2019 are two recent local examples.
- Assess Town roads for adequate drainage in heavy rains.
- Assess availability of emergency generators if electric power is disrupted.
- Make sure communication to residents is adequate in case of disasters.
If the solar panel will be installed on a roof, no zoning permit is needed.
If the solar panel is freestanding, a zoning permit is needed. The maximum height of the post can be no higher an 12 feet (center of the panel). It has to be located at least 3 feet away from the side and rear lot line and, depending upon the road, 30 to 42 feet away from the front property line or right-of-way. The zoning permit fee is $50.
An electrical permit would probably be needed from the local electrical inspector as well.
Contact Town Clerk to get information on building permits.
- Dane County and Wisconsin emergency preparedness services and strategies, Town patrolman
There are several existing organizations that can network with us or help find needed information and funding of options for investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. Some of these (with links to their related programs) include:
Vanguard , Madison Gas & Electric, Alliant Energy, Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change, UW-Extension Environmental Resource Center, WI Sierra Club John Muir Chapter, Focus on Energy, Renew Wisconsin, Town of Stark Energy and Information Committee, Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum , Wisconsin Legacy Solar Cooperative