Trempealeau County sharply limits wind energy
A press release issued December 18 by RENEW Wisconsin and Clean Wisconsin:
Calling it an effective ban on commercial wind generators, Wisconsin clean energy advocates blasted Trempealeau County’s new wind ordinance, which was adopted Monday night on a vote of ten to six.
The county’s wind ordinance requires developers to place wind turbines at least one mile from neighboring residences, schools, hospitals, and businesses. This is the longest set back distance imposed to date by a local government in Wisconsin.
Speaking to the county board, RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman said that the ordinance “steers Trempealeau County toward a head-on collision with state energy policies, which designate wind power as a preferred energy source.”
RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide nonprofit organization, advocates for public policies and private initiatives to support renewable energy.
State policy favors wind power, because “it has shown itself to be a clean, safe and affordable energy option that helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce global warming emissions,” according to Ryan Schryver of Clean Wisconsin, an advocacy organization for clean water, air, and energy.
“Local governments, as well as the state, should be looking at ways to eliminate the barriers to renewable energy production instead of creating new obstacles for siting wind developments, as this ordinance does,” continued Schryber.
“This ordinance – all 16 pages of it – could have been boiled down to one sentence: No wind energy system greater than 150 feet in height will be permitted in Trempealeau County,” Vickerman told the county board.
“If every county were to adopt a wind ordinance as arbitrarily restrictive as the one before you, renewable energy development in Wisconsin would slow to a stand still,” Vickerman added.
Presenting an oversized map of Trempealeau County, Jim Naleid, representing Holmen-based AgWind Energy Partners, said that “There is not one square inch of land where a commercial wind turbine can be legally sited under this ordinance.”
AgWind Energy Partners, a wind farm developer, recently installed a meteorological tower in the county to measure wind speeds.