For Wisconsin to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, it may take capturing more wind, expanding nuclear plants, and taking advantage of all the cows in America’s Dairyland.

“I believe we need more cows in the state to strengthen the cheese industry,” Judy Ziewacz, Gov. Jim Doyle’s executive director of the Office of Energy Independence, told business leaders Monday.

“But we also need to use the cows’ by-product called manure for energy,” said Ziewacz, named to her post by Doyle in April.

She spoke at the monthly “Business Connects with Government” luncheon program, sponsored by the Manitowoc-Two River Area Chamber of Commerce’s Voice of Commerce Committee.

The development of anaerobic digesters burning manure-produced methane to power everything from TV’s and lights in homes to MRI scanners in hospitals would be just one way to try to achieve the second-term governor’s goal of “25 by 25.”

Doyle has set three broad goals for the state:

# To generate 25 percent of the state’s electricity and 25 percent of its transportation fuel from renewable fuels by 2025.

# To capture 10 percent of the market share for the production of renewable energy sources by 2030. Doyle said achieving this goal would bring $13.5 billion annually to the state’s economy and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

# To become a national leader in research making alternative energies more affordable and available to all.

For example, Ziewacz said engineers and scientists in Wisconsin are among national leaders in developing different enzymes to more effectively break down the sugars in different cellulose products, including corn and dead wood on forest floors.

“We are seeing increased efficiencies in ethanol plants … there is a net gain in the energy needed to produce the ethanol compared to what is created,” said Ziewacz, who had been the deputy secretary for the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

She said Doyle has not taken additional development of nuclear power “off the table and is certainly an option to be discussed at the state and national level.”

Ziewacz supports wind turbine projects springing up around the state, although she doesn’t expect that form of renewable energy to be as significant a percentage of the state’s power portfolio as might be the case in Great Plains states.