The Organic Valley of Wisconsin

I had a wonderful (but challenging) 124-mile ride for #BikeTheSun in support of #SolarParaNinos on Wednesday. The scenery along the bluffs and highlands of the Mississippi was spectacular, although there were a LOT of hills, thus the challenging day when you are lugging a 90-pound bike up and down those hills, not to mention my own body weight 🙂

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Some of the highlights of the day included ice cream at the Udder Brothers Creamery in Boscobel and a meeting with Tracy Fillback, who is a local representative for the Badger Hollow Solar Farm in Iowa County. The proposed Badger Hollow Solar Farm would generate approximately 300 MW of electricity (the largest solar farm in Wisconsin by far) at capacity using silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules fixed to single-axis solar trackers. This project could remove 370,000 tons of carbon pollution from being released to the atmosphere annually along with $3 million in annual landowner payments, tax payments, and local spending and salaries. This could be a significant economic boost to the region, especially when considering the uncertainty in agricultural commodity prices in the years ahead due to the trade wars that are front-and-center in our national discourse. I am very anxious to see how this project moves ahead and hope to be able to visit during construction that could begin as early as next spring.

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Entered into the “Organic Valley” of Wisconsin and overnighting in Viroqua, which is an incredible small city with options for great organic, farm-to-table restaurants, organic coffee roasters, and several commercial-scale solar installations.  I stayed at an incredible Victorian B&B — the Heritage Inn — I highly recommend!  I will be interviewed live on the local radio station at 10:00 today (Thursday), which I look forward to.

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Counting the money that has been donated directly to Engineers without Borders this week, we are up to close to $2000, which is 20% of my goal for this month. Keep those donations coming and please help to spread the word to your colleagues at home and at the office, every little bit helps!


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