Ground is broken on the Wisconsin Energy Institute

Governor Jim Doyle today broke ground on the Wisconsin Energy Institute, which will foster collaboration between the University of Wisconsin’s leading energy researchers and lead the development of clean energy that will grow Wisconsin’s future economy.  Governor Doyle provided $50 million in state funding for the Wisconsin Energy Institute in his 2009-2011 capital budget.

Governor Doyle was joined for the groundbreaking by UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin, CALS Dean Molly Jahn and UW College of Engineering Dean Paul Peercy.

“It’s really great to break ground on the Wisconsin Energy Institute and start a new chapter in the state’s clean energy leadership,” Governor Doyle said. “Capturing even a fraction of the $16 billion our state spends on energy each year would mean billions of dollars in economic growth and job creation.  That’s why we’ve been really focused on building on our strengths in research, innovation and business to create real jobs in the clean energy economy.”

The Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) will bring together leading researchers from the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and across the UW-Madison campus.  The institute will build on Wisconsin’s leadership in clean energy research and development by providing state-of-art lab space and opportunities for collaboration and commercialization.

Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has become a leader in clean energy research and growing a strong bioscience industry.  In 2007, the UW-Madison received a $125 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to create the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) on the University of Wisconsin-Madisoncampus – one of only three bioenergy research centers in the country.  Today more than 30,000 people work in bioscience research and industries in Wisconsin – an industry that contributes nearly $7 billion to the state economy.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has advanced an aggressive agenda to position Wisconsin as a leader in growing a clean energy economy.  Wisconsin has adopted renewable portfolio standards, invested in green job creation, led the advancement of research in cellulosic ethanol and biomass, and made great strides to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses and government buildings.

The Wisconsin Energy Institute is designed to meet sustainable building standards and will reduce annual energy use by over 50 percent.  The 200,000 square-foot building will be built in two phases.  The first phase, funded by the state and private money raised by the UW-Madison, will house offices, lab space, meeting rooms, a high-bay research area to accommodate large engineering equipment, and a first-floor coffee shop and public meeting space.  The second phase, which is funding-dependent, will include a demonstration lab, teaching room and offices for outreach and energy education.

The Wisconsin Energy Institute is being built bat the former University Health Building at 1552 University Avenue.

– Governor’s communication staff