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SBU purchases first Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) recently completed the purchase of its first hybrid electric vehicle, a 2007 Toyota Prius. In early 2007, SBU’s utility commission set the tone for being more conservation-minded by adopting a resolution that directs utility staff to reduce its use of energy by 10% during the year. Additionally, staff has been seeking ways to produce usable energy by means of renewable energy projects. “Taking advantage of vastly improved hybrid technology, we made this vehicle purchase not only to reduce operating costs, but to solidify our ongoing efforts to be community leaders in operating more efficiently while protecting our environment”, states Jim Stawicki, General Manager.

The hybrid vehicle produces substantially less emissions by utilizing Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. This technology allows the vehicle to operate much more efficiently by utilizing battery generated electric power in conjunction with traditional combustion engine power. In addition to an overall fuel rating of nearly 50 mpg, the vehicle drastically reduces the amount of unwanted vehicle emissions that can adversely impact the environment. Under normal driving conditions, SBU anticipates that the vehicle will realize in excess of 60 mpg for its general use around town.

As one of 49 municipal owners of Wisconsin Public Power, Inc. (WPPI), SBU strives to set the example for others to follow when it comes to renewable energy and conservation. With WPPI’s assistance, SBU will soon be pursuing the conversion of its newly purchased hybrid vehicle to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). As part of their campaign entitled “Plug-In Partners”, WPPI has converted two hybrid electric vehicles into PHEV’s to create the first PHEV utility fleet in the State of Wisconsin. The campaign urges automakers to accelerate development of this technology so that the consumption of traditional fuels and emissions to the environment can be reduced. SBU intends to bring this philosophy of conservation and a cleaner environment to Sturgeon Bay in any way possible. “While the costs of producing electricity is something that we cannot control, we can control the amount of electricity that we consume”, says Stawicki. “We encourage all of our customers to be more conservation minded and ask that they allow us to help them reach their potential for energy savings and conservation”.

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