As a lifelong football fan and a lifelong Packer fan that has lived most of his life in Michigan, this NFL season ended with a bang, did it not? That is unless you’re a Lions, Bears or Vikings fan living behind enemy lines. Me personally, I can’t consider the Steelers an enemy as they are my close 2nd favorite team, so this Super Bowl, for me, is truly going to be super, and I expect a fantastic game out the deal. I also think that our ASQ Section # 1206 may have been their (the Green Bay Packers) good luck charm following our tour and presentation at Lambeau Field! (Did they not end the season with a record of 12-06?)
Additionally, I trust those of you who attended the SCA plant tour and presentation in January were as impressed with their operation as I was, and continue to be. The tour guides / hosts, the presentation (which I would love to schedule a future visit to that lab and see the alternative energy uses that they have implemented) and the people in general have shown us all again that Central Wisconsin is loaded with extraordinarily talented and hard working people. Speaking of this green initiative that Mike Dillon of SCA shared with us at that presentation, they are mentioned in the January edition of Marketplace Magazine. You may have seen me quote news items from them in the past as they are all about the Fox Valley.
The story on page 10 titled “A Win-Wind” talks about the company Renewegy and their development of this very desirable smaller wind turbine. In addition to SCA, they have also installed turbines on top of Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc (the sight of President Obama’s post State of the Union tour) and Bergstrom Mini in Grand Chute, as well as Kaukauna High School. These were the preproduction turbines, and as of October, full production kicked off at the Oshkosh manufacturing company and they are poised to have an exceptional year in 2011. According to one of their founders, Jeff Ehlers, “Our philosophy is we’re helping to save the world one turbine at a time.” These nifty and somewhat affordable units are not the same behemoths that dot the landscape of Fond du Lac County, but one fourth the size, easily maintained and much more affordable for a company that wants to show its community that it cares about the planet. They stand about 100 feet tall (as opposed to the 400 foot tall WE Energy System turbines) and cost between $80,000 - $90,000 with an approximate seven to twelve year payback and twenty five year life expectancy. Additionally, the federal tax credit, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, covers 30% of the cost of an eligible renewable energy project, either as a tax credit or as a grant. The Wisconsin organization, Focus on Energy also funds up to 25% of a project, potentially making the investment affordable.
Especially interesting to me is that this company was founded by former Brunswick employees when MotoTron Corporation was sold to Woodward Governor Company, which manufactures and sells the “embedded electronics” as MotoHawk Control Solutions. As Mr. Ehlers puts it, “Renewegy is really founded on electric systems”, which are the motors that control these amazing power sources. He also states that Renewegy’s customers are “very progressive,” seeking the next step beyond what they can do to conserve energy. This is great stuff, and again, it’s happening right here in our back yards.