MILWAUKEE, Oct. 10, 2002 — We Energies has found another unusual and environmentally beneficial way to supply electricity to its customers.
The company on Thursday celebrated Wisconsin’s first fully operational duck-manure-to-energy digester facility with a grand opening at Maple Leaf Farms in Franksville, Wis. Franksville is located in Racine County.
“We Energies is constantly working to find new and better ways to deliver energy to our customers,” said Dick Grigg, We Energies president and chief operating officer. “This facility represents the creativity and innovation our state needs to care for our environment and secure our energy future.”
“I’m very proud that we’ve developed a way to turn our waste into renewable energy and protect the land for future generations,” said Dan Harper, corporate manager of governmental and environmental affairs for Maple Leaf Farms. “We want to be a good neighbor to the area surrounding our facility. The electricity we generate here at the facility will flow to businesses and people’s homes.”
Maple Leaf Farms is the leading duck producer in North America. As animal waste decomposes, it releases methane gas. A manure digester speeds up this process and captures the methane. The gas is then used to fuel a small power plant. The generating unit at Maple Leaf Farms produces 200 kilowatts; enough to provide electricity for about 75 homes.
Maple Leaf Farms owns and operates the manure digester facility, and generates the electricity. We Energies purchases the renewable energy for distribution throughout its service area.
Capturing methane from animal waste has important environmental and aesthetic benefits. Methane is twenty times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Capturing and burning it to produce electricity reduces its negative environmental impact while providing a reliable source of renewable energy.
We Energies recently formed a Renewable Energy Collaborative to guide the company in achieving its renewable energy commitments, which are that at least five percent of its retail electric energy sales will come from renewable energy sources by 2011. The company will also spend an additional $6 million annually over 10 years to reach this target, pending regulatory approval.
We Energies, the principal utility subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corp., serves more than one million electric customers and more than 970,000 natural gas customers throughout Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Visit the company’s Web site at www.we-energies.com . Learn about Wisconsin Energy Corp. by visiting www.WisconsinEnergy.com.
Source: We Energies