Gov. Jim Doyle broke ground last week on the Wisconsin Energy Institute, which will help the University of Wisconsin-Madison develop new technologies to meet the need of creating renewable energy in the state.
Doyle provided $50 million in state money for the WEI in his 2009-2011 capital budget.
Doyle was joined for the groundbreaking by UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin, UW College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Molly Jahn and UW College of Engineering Dean Paul Peercy.
WEI will build on Wisconsin’s leadership in clean energy research and development by providing lab space and opportunities for collaboration and commercialization.
In 2007, UW-Madison received a $125 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to create the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center on the UW-Madison campus — one of only three bioenergy research centers in the country. More than 30,000 people now work in bioscience research and industries in Wisconsin — an industry that contributes nearly $7 billion to the state economy, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
The WEI is designed to meet sustainable building standards and will reduce annual energy use by more than 50 percent.
The 200,000 square-foot building will be built in two phases. The first phase, to be built by 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 will include a demonstration lab, teaching rooms and offices for outreach and energy education.
The Wisconsin Energy Institute is being built between the College of Engineering and the College of Agricultural and Life Science, at the former University Health Building at 1552 University Ave., Madison.