Wisconsin Environmental Research Program FAQs

1. Why study the effects of electrical generation and transmission on the environment in Wisconsin?
The more we know about how electrical generation and transmission affect the Wisconsin environment, the greater our chances are of preventing pollution in the future. As our towns and cities grow, we will need to produce more electrical power. How we accomplish this will have an impact on many things including our health, our economy, and our beautiful natural environment. We need to have more information in order to make wise decisions about new generation plants and transmission lines, and to know how we can reverse environmental damage that has already occurred.

2. What is the Environmental Research Program (ERP) and what are its goals?
The Environmental Research Program (ERP) is an important part of the Focus on Energy Program because its purpose is to further the exploration of how our energy use has an impact on Wisconsin’s natural environment. Funding for this program is designated to support research projects that study the environmental effects of electrical generation and transmission.

The primary goal of this program is to contribute practical and useful knowledge to the ongoing process of designing Wisconsin’s electrical energy future. Of specific interest are research projects that fill gaps in existing knowledge about the environmental effects of electrical energy generation and transmission in Wisconsin.

For a two-page print-optimized overview of the Environmental Research Program, download:
ERP Program Overview  ( 32KB)

For lists of projects funded by the Environmental Research Program:
Environmental Research Projects Selected in FY02  ( 71KB)

and
Environmental Research Projects Selected in FY03  ( 72KB)

3. What is the Environmental Research Forum and what is its role in the Program?
The Environmental Research Forum was appointed by the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of Energy to recommend research projects for funding. The eight members of the Forum contribute a broad spectrum of viewpoints and expertise, and represent the following organizations and institutions: the University of Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources, the Public Service Commission, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Administration’s Division of Energy, Wisconsin Environmental Decade, and two representatives of investor-owned Wisconsin utilities.

The Forum has developed a proposal process to solicit, evaluate, and recommend research projects for funding once a year, in late autumn. Interested researchers are invited to participate. For complete information about the latest Request for Proposal, go to RFP Postings Environmental Research Program. For further information about the process, go to Grant Process FAQs.

For more information about the Environmental Research Forum, download the ERP Program Overview document listed under Question 2 above. For a print-optimized list of the members of the Environmental Research Forum, download:
ER Forum Members  ( 122KB)

4. How will the ERP results be used to improve the environment in Wisconsin?
The Environmental Research Forum wants to emphasize the importance of learning new information about the effects of electrical generation and transmission on Wisconsin’s environment. New information from research results will be made available to legislators and policy makers, the scientific community, and the general public.

Final research reports will appear at Research Reports as projects are completed. Other new data will appear on this website at Other Program Publications as they become available.

Wisconsin Research Grant Program Update

First Year of the Program: 2001-2002
The Environmental Research Forum met five times during the first year. Their work began with identification of research gap areas and development of a Request for Proposals to be distributed to the scientific community.

The Forum identified six research areas for inclusion in the Request for Proposals (RFP):

– The effect of mercury and other air pollutants on human health in Wisconsin from coal-fired power plants.

– Measurement and inventory of mercury in Wisconsin environment with regard to both sources and fate in the ecosystem.

– Deposition monitoring, modeling and fate of multiple pollutants (other than mercury) from Wisconsin power plants.

– Ecosystem impacts of electrical generation and transmission.

– Land-use issues resulting from electrical generation and transmission.

– Global climate change impacts and strategies for Wisconsin.
The Forum received twenty research proposals that met the RFP criteria, and recommended funding seven proposals, for a total of $666,788. The Department of Administration approved all seven projects for FY02 funding.

For information about the seven Environmental Research Grant Projects funded in 2002 (FY 2001), download:
Funded Environmental Research ProjectsFY02 ( 71KB)

Second Year of the Program: 2002-2003
A Request for Proposals for FY03 funding was issued in November of 2002. Research areas identified by the Forum for this year are as follows:

– Electrical Generation and Human Health:

a. Mercury: Body Burden and Levels of Exposure in Wisconsin.
b. Mercury in Wisconsin: On-site Measurement and Monitoring.
c. Fine Particulates in Wisconsin: On-site Measurement and Monitoring.
d. Hazardous Air Pollutants in Wisconsin: On-site Measurement and Monitoring-

– Carbon Sequestration/Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

a. Biotic model for Global Warming in Wisconsin.
b. Carbon and Greenhouse Gases Inventory
c. Environmental Impacts of Carbon and Greenhouse Gases Management

– The Siting of Energy Facilities:
a. Environmental Impacts of Wind Generation Siting
b. Environmental Impacts of Biomass Generation Siting
c. Transmission Lines: Ecology of Fragmentation and Transmission Line Siting; Impact of Transmission Line Construction Activity; Placement of Transmission Lines.

– Environmental Monitoring of Multiple Pollutants Including Mercury from Wisconsin Power Plants:
a. Deposition monitoring of multiple pollutants including mercury.
b. Biomonitoring of multiple pollutants including mercury.

The Forum received twenty-five research proposals that met the RFP criteria, and recommended funding ten proposals, for a total fo $965,556. The Department of Administration approved all ten projects for FY03 funding.