Clean energy projects proposed to Common Council


Representatives of ClearPath Energy propose a new energy project to the Whitewater Common Council.

Josh Stoughton, Community Editor

The common council had a big day today, speaking with representatives of ClearPath Energy about using the city’s closed landfill site for a place to install solar panels that could help the city, the UW system and the school system in lowering costs.

Representatives Jeffrey Brown and Omar Khaleel from ClearPath Energy came to the common council to talk about energy costs. They said that “Wisconsin pays the second highest energy rates in the Midwest, only behind Illinois.” 

JThe representatives talk about the company developing their projects on closed landfill sites. 

They talked about installing over 9,000 solar panels in a 25-acre area leased by the city. These solar panels would generate over five megawatts of power. With this power, they would like to lower the pricing of municipal buildings and energy, such as the fire department and police department.

They also talked about working with the University of Wisconsin system. “Now UW – Whitewater is one of the largest UW campuses across the state, and with that we would actually be able to generate enough power to sell all of our power to UW,” said Brown. Along with the UW system, it would also help lower costs for the Whitewater school system.

If ClearPath Energy can use the landfill, the City of Whitewater would have some benefits, according to Brown. First, the lease would last 25 years with the opportunity to extend to 40. A long-term tax revenue would also be in place and utilize those tax revenues for investments back into the school system. As previously mentioned, clean energy can be discounted and lower the city, UW system, and school energy costs. This would only happen, though, unless the project will be at least 10% discount to current market prices. Finally, it would increase economic development attraction for new investments by providing clean power.

The Polar Plunge was a big success this year after taking a few years off due to COVID. There was a total of 97 plunges who raised over $11,500 and over $30,000 in corporate sponsors. The chili cook-off had eight entries, with first place going to Jason Grahler of 1st Class Real Estate Impact – Whitewater.

Neighborhood Enforcement and Code Enforcement projected their code violation numbers. In 2022, they report over 800 violations. So far in 2023, they reported just under 200 violations. Compliance has grown since 2017 with reinspection fees decreasing.

During comments from the audience, one member came up to speak on some city eyesores. Kathy Schumacher of Whitewater brought up two areas in Whitewater that she says are eyesores for the city. First, she says that coming from Walworth Avenue on County N, there are cement blocks that an arm restraint was going to be that has not been done yet. Another area she described was a building on the corner of Second and Center Street that was blocked up with cardboard and paper. Both places, she says, need to be fixed.

The common council meeting covered various topics such as the success of the Polar Plunge event, the Neighborhood Enforcement and Code Enforcement’s progress in code violations, and comments from the audience regarding the city’s eyesores. However, the highlight of the meeting was ClearPath Energy’s proposal, which would provide long-term benefits for the City of Whitewater, including clean energy, tax revenue, and economic development. With the potential to lower energy costs and reduce the city’s carbon footprint, the council members and attendees are hopeful that this proposal will be considered and implemented.