Wind siting bill passes major legislative hurdle with strong bipartisan support
From a news release issued by Clean Wisconsin:
Madison, Wis. – Wisconsin could soon see greater growth in the promising wind energy industry after the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities passed Assembly Bill 256 today, a bipartisan bill that would encourage growth in the clean energy industry by replacing a chaotic patchwork of local regulations with sensible statewide standards for permitting safe wind farms.
“Wind energy holds the potential to address many of the greatest problems facing our state –it can clean our environment and reduce global warming pollution while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and creating jobs for hard working Wisconsinites,” said Amber Meyer Smith, program director at Clean Wisconsin the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “With so much to gain, we’re extremely encouraged that the legislature seems poised to eliminate administrative barriers holding up the development of this promising infant industry.”
As other industries struggled in poor economic times and cut workers, the wind energy industry grew immensely in 2008 – increasing its national workforce by 70 percent to over 85,000 workers. Unfortunately, while wind developers stand ready to invest in Wisconsin’s economy and put Wisconsinites to work building safe wind farms, a complicated system of over-stringent local regulations currently puts our state at a disadvantage to neighboring states, holding up more than an estimated 500 megawatts of wind farm development in the state.
Assembly bill 256 would charge the Wisconsin Public Service Commission with studying and determining safe permitting standards for wind farms, then replacing the current disorganized system that discourages the growth of the wind energy industry with sensible statewide standards.