• WisBusiness

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GreenBiz: Organic Valley and Gundersen cooperate on wind farm


By Gregg Hoffmann
Two organizations that are leaders in their respective fields have combined to start what is being billed as the state’s first “community wind project.”

Organic Valley, an organic dairy cooperative based in La Farge in Vernon County, and Gundersen Health System, based in La Crosse, have started work on the Cashton Greens Wind Farm in Monroe County.

Once complete, the two-turbine wind farm is expected to generate nearly 5 megawatts of energy, enough electricity to power 1,000 homes each year.

Both organizations see the project as being very much part of their respective business visions. “Fostering strong, sustainable rural communities is key to who we are,” said George Siemon, founding farmer and C-E-I-E-I-O of Organic Valley. “We’re particularly proud to establish a long-term renewable energy source right here in the Cashton area, which is not only a sustainable solution for our community, but hopefully also an example for other communities.”

Jeff Rich, executive director of GL Envision LLC, the “green“ wing of Gundersen Health System, echoed Siemon.

“We are pleased to be entering into this partnership with Organic Valley,” said Rich. “The wind farm project is a great thing for our patients and for the community. By reducing our energy costs, we can eventually pass the savings on to our patients in the form of lower healthcare costs.

“In addition, the project creates local construction jobs and has a positive impact on the health of the environment, too. It is a win-win all around.”

The Cashton Greens Wind Farm is billed as the first commercial scale project of its kind in Wisconsin. Wind farms usually are owned by utility or wind development companies, but as developers and owners of the Cashton Greens Wind Farm, Organic Valley and Gundersen will receive income for the energy they generate.

Organic Valley will buy back its portion of energy to offset its footprint through a renewable energy contract with the villages of Cashton and La Farge.

The energy produced by the wind farm should offset electricity used at the Organic Valley Cashton Distribution Center, which is next to the wind farm, and its La Farge headquarters. It will comprise about 5 percent of Gundersen’s energy independence goal.

Roadways, a maintenance facility and other features of the development are expected to be completed before the end of this year. The two turbines for the development are scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2012. Michels Corporation, a contactor based in Brownsville, Wisconsin, will do that installation.

Both Organic Valley and Gundersen have made other commitments to green energy. Organic Valley has installed solar photo-voltaic windows in its new headquarters addition; uses biodiesel in its truck fleet; and has installed solar hot water panels that use the sun to generate hot water for its cheese packaging plant and café.

The co-op also has implemented an On-Farm Sustainability Program as a part of its ongoing effort to educate and assist cooperative farmer-members with implementing energy efficiency measures, both small and large, on their farms.

Methane projects also have been undertaken. “We are partnering with local extension and university personnel to determine the viability of small scale manure digesters, and anticipate feasibility studies on some of our farms this coming year,” according to Organic Valley’s web site. “Additionally, we are working with Stonyfield Farm on a project to reduce methane from cows.”

Organic Valley has invested two seasons growing and researching camelina (a small false flax) and sunflowers. Both of these crops have shown strong promise in test fields as sources for biodiesel fuel.

Through the Envision wing of the organization, Gundersen is developing “a multi-faceted portfolio of innovative sustainability projects intended to lower costs, encourage community partnerships and improve the organization’s environmental footprint, with the goal of becoming 100 percent energy independent by 2014,” according to the company‘s web site.

The Cashton development is one of two wind projects for Gundersen. The health system is also completing a two-turbine wind farm just north of Lewiston, Minn., that is expected to generate nearly 5 megawatts of energy.

A magazine called Practice Greenhealth cited Gundersen last April with inclusion in its “Environmental Leadership Circle.”

“They are the best of the best, the recipients of our top award. Gundersen Lutheran has introduced extensive environmental strategies into health care and is committed to achieving further improvements,” wrote Practice Greenhealth.

A past GreenBiz column was devoted to a partnership between Gundersen and City Brewery, in which methane gas from the brewing process was being converted to electricity.

Corey Zarecki, the project engineer for that partnership, said at the time, ““One reason we have done this is to cut energy costs and move toward our goal of being energy independent by 2014, But, we also feel it is healthy for the community, the right thing for our patients and fits in with being good stewards of the environment.

“You’ve seen the emphasis in the country on the economy, health and energy. We feel this project and our overall goal includes all three.

“The company believes part of the answer (to stemming health care costs) lies in finding solutions to our rapidly rising energy costs.”

-- Hoffmann, a veteran journalist, writes the GreenBiz feature monthly for WisBusiness.com.

Labels:


Comments: 5

At July 30, 2016 at 7:46 AM, Blogger Betty Stevens said...

It was one of the first organic valleys I've heard about! Great article, Gregg! I wish to be one of the owners of such a valley someday so I'm working on sizzling-hot-play.com to make that dream come true! People who share my dream are free to join me there.

 
At June 10, 2017 at 3:52 PM, Blogger Myungeas said...

Author of this post did research on organic Valley and Gundersen cooperate on wind farm then he like to shared his research with us through this website. We should read such posts to increase our knowledge. Well! My friend was asking about best term paper writing service and to guide him i like to browse this sites.

 
At June 19, 2017 at 3:47 AM, Blogger Austin Micheal said...

Natural Valley has contributed two seasons developing and inquiring about camelina (a little false flax) and sunflowers. Both of these products have indicated solid guarantee in test fields as hotspots for biodiesel fuel Research paper experts

 
At August 28, 2017 at 5:27 AM, Blogger Ashish Chaturvedi said...

Methane projects also have been September 2017 Printable Calendar Template undertaken. “We are partnering with local October 2017 Printable Calendar Template extension and university personnel to determine the viability of small scale manure digesters, and anticipate feasibility nice post
studies on some of our farms this coming year,” according to Organic Valley’s web site. “Additionally, we are working with Stonyfield Farm on a project to reduce good gaming laptops under 300 methane free from cows.”

 
At October 9, 2017 at 2:18 PM, Blogger sidd yadav said...

Getting these codes add cash to your steam keys steam wallet. steam wallet gift card add money to your wallet.

 

Post a Comment

Back to BizOpinion main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

BizOpinion site feed
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

wisbusiness.com Social News

Follow Us

Site Sponsors

ARCHIVE

· January 2009
· February 2009
· March 2009
· April 2009
· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· October 2016
· December 2016
Copyright ©2013 WisBusiness.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisPolitics.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications