Ashland recently received a state grant to help move the city toward energy independence.  The money will be used to realize energy savings in city operations.

Ashland has been awarded about $35,000 from the Wisconsin State Energy Office. The money will be used to update the city’s comprehensive energy plan and upgrade motor equipment at its waste water treatment facility. Ashland Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hudson said the upgrades translate to cost savings for the city.

“The pumps that we currently have run at 100 percent 24 hours a day, so there’s only one speed to them,” she said. “Where these variable control motors we are going to purchase, they can run at varying speeds depending on the amount of effluent we have to pump through. So, by being able to reduce them or increase them, we will be able to save energy.”

With the grant money, the utility will not have to put forth funds to pay for this project.

She said that installing energy-efficient equipment at the waste water treatment facility will save the city around $5,700 each year. The city will also use the grant to identify 25 ways Ashland can become more energy efficient in their 25 by 25 plan.

“Street lights are one of them with LED lights,” she said of the 25 by 25 goals. “One was replacing lighting in the Bretting Community Center, and we did put in efficient lights within our gym. One was in our public works department, and the other was with the library.”

Hudson said energy improvements have also been made to the Vaughn Public Library, public works, and city hall.

She added they plan to examine whether Ashland can install solar panels or wind turbines to reduce energy costs for the city.

The city will begin making upgrades to its waste water treatment facility this fall.