With a strong history, Stoughton, Wisconsin has long been known as an important center of local industry and culture. Seeking more control over its energy future, the utility entered into a long-term power supply contract with WPPI Energy
on May 15, 2002, becoming the nonprofit power supplier's 37th
member-owner. Today, Stoughton Utilities provides service to more than 8,200 electric; 4,800 water; and 4,700 wastewater customers.
Leading by Example
The Stoughton Utilities building at 600 South Fourth Street features 34 photovoltaic solar panels.
Stoughton Utilities has long been committed to helping customers save and use energy more efficiently. Since 2002, energy-saving projects in city facilities, including lighting upgrades, occupancy sensors, and variable frequency drive installations for well pumps, have saved approximately 450,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), equivalent to the energy needed to power more than 50 homes for one year. At the wastewater treatment plant, premium efficiency motors and a new aeration blower with a variable frequency drive were installed and modifications were made to the compressed air system.
In 2010, the city received WPPI Energy's Leading by Example award for its efforts. Stoughton qualified for the award because it passed a resolution to reduce its energy use and emissions; identified and carried out energy-saving projects; installed a community-based renewable energy project; and actively purchases green power to offset some or all of the energy used in one or more municipal buildings. The city purchases 1,310,400 kWh of green power annually, offsetting 30 percent of their usage with green power.
Green Power Leader
Through Stoughton Utilities' voluntary Choose Renewable
and Choose Renewable for Business
programs, residential, commercial and industrial customers also have the opportunity to offset some or all their energy use with purchases of Green-e Energy certified renewable energy. Each year, residential and business customers voluntarily purchase nearly three million kWh of green power from Stoughton Utilities' Renewable Energy program -- enough power to meet 2 percent of the community's purchased electricity use -- earning Stoughton the prestigious designation of "Green Power Community"
from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Stoughton GreenMax Home, constructed in 2010.
A portion of the utility's renewable energy comes from solar photovoltaic panels installed on the utility office building. The project produces 8,200 kWh annually and provides a highly visual demonstration of the important role that local renewable resources can play in the creation of a diverse resource portfolio and a better energy future.
Stoughton Utilities also ranked ninth in the nation
on the U.S. Department of Energy's
National Renewable Energy Laboratory annual list of leading utility green power programs
by customer participation rate. Based on 2009 customer participation, 5.2 percent of utility customers in Stoughton purchased green power equal to all or a portion of their electricity usage.
Stoughton Utilities also offers a Solar Buy-Back Energy Tariff
program that encourages the installation of small scale solar photovoltaic projects by offering aggressive incentives to a limited number of business and residential customers. Currently, Stoughton Utilities is meeting subscription limitations with customers subscribing to the maximum nameplate capacity of 15 kilowatts.
The utility has also made significant strides to improve the management of energy use and control costs in existing and planned school facilities. All of the schools in the Stoughton Area School District have earned the ENERGY STAR®
rating, indicating superior energy efficiency and environmental protection as a result of energy benchmarking efforts. District wide, several upgrades and improvements were made: T-12 lights were replaced with T-8 lights; variable speed drives were installed on HVAC air handlers, hot water boiler pumps, and on all pool air handlers, hot water pumps and main pool pumps; exterior building and parking lot lights were upgraded to induction lights; and all 400-watt and 250-watt metal halide high pressure sodium gymnasium lights were upgraded to fluorescent lights. On average, the Stoughton Area School District has reduced its energy use by more than one million kWh per year and over the last six years, the district has avoided more than $980,000 in energy costs.
Local and State Leadership
Stoughton Utilities is a partner in Wisconsin's Clean Transportation Program
and, in 2010, was awarded $200,000 to invest in two plug-in hybrid electric utility line trucks. Stoughton Utilities also owns a plug-in hybrid electric and neighborhood electric vehicle.
Stoughton is also home to what is anticipated to be Dane County's first verified net zero energy home -- a home that is capable of producing as much energy as consumed. Through the GreenMax Home
initiative, homeowners John and Rebecca Scheller designed and built a 4,000 square-foot home that combines energy-efficient construction methods and practices with on-site renewable energy technologies to achieve net zero energy use. Two geothermal heat pumps provide space conditioning and domestic hot water, and an on-site solar photovoltaic system harnesses energy from the sun.
Stoughton Utilities staff gathers by their plug-in hybrid electric utility line truck.
Stoughton has also joined in partnership with the State of Wisconsin to become an Energy Independent Community
committed to using renewable resources for 25 percent of electricity and transportation fuels by the year 2025.
Reliable Hometown Service
Stoughton Utilities has earned "RP3" recognition
from the American Public Power Association (APPA)
for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. Stoughton Utilities received the designation in 2006, 2008 and 2010. For the past 10 years, Stoughton Utilities' tree planting and management program has earned the "Tree Line USA Utility"
designation from the Arbor Day Foundation
. The utility also participates in APPA's TREE POWER
program, having planted one tree per customer, and has received APPA's Golden Tree Award
. As a resource on energy efficiency and conservation, Stoughton Utilities supports a variety of programs and services that help customers save energy and money.
Thanks to a strong community-wide conservation ethic, and the dedicated leadership of the local public power utility, residents and businesses in Stoughton are committed to improving the quality of life in their community by supporting clean energy alternatives.