FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2011
Contact: Kristin Ruesch or Matthew Pagel, 608-266-9600
Kristin.Ruesch@wisconsin.gov or Matt.Pagel@wisconsin.gov
Madison, WI—The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (Commission) has received an application from Highland Wind Farm, LLC to build a 102.5 megawatt wind project located in the townships of Forest and Cylon, St. Croix County, Wisconsin. When the application is deemed complete, the Commission will have up to 360 days to make a decision on the application.
An electric generation project of 100 megawatts (MW) or greater requires a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Commission.
The Commission has siting jurisdiction over all wind energy systems 100 MW or larger and over utility-owned wind energy systems, regardless of size.
A political subdivision (city, town, village, or county) has siting jurisdiction over non-utility wind energy systems smaller than 100 megawatts.
2009 Wisconsin Act 40 made several changes to the state statutes regarding the siting of wind energy systems. The law retained the jurisdictional split between the Commission and political subdivisions; directed the Commission to write wind siting rules; and stated that a political subdivision may not impose requirements that are more restrictive than those in the Commission’s wind siting rules.
In response, final Wind Siting Rules promulgated by the Commission (PSC 128) were published in the Wisconsin Administrative Register on February 28, 2011, to be effective March 1, 2011. Currently the rules are not in effect due to legislative suspension.
The Commission and interested parties are currently working to resolve concerns regarding wind siting for non-utility projects under 100 MW. Because Highland Wind Farm, LLC has planned a project surpassing the 100 MW threshold, the project application will be treated like any other CPCN application received by the Commission; however, the Commission is also statutorily required to “consider whether installation or use of the facility is consistent with the standards specified in the rules promulgated by the commission under Wis. Stats. §196.378 (4g) (b),” meaning the Commission will need to at least consider whether the application is consistent with the standards in the promulgated, yet suspended, PSC 128 rules.
Once the Commission receives all pieces of an application, the Commission has 30 days to determine whether the application is complete. After a CPCN application is deemed complete, the Commission urges the public to take advantage of the many opportunities to weigh in. The public is encouraged to read the Commission’s public notification letter, verify interested parties are included on the Commission mailing lists, review the application posted online, ask questions of the Commission staff, submit comments, and testify at hearings. Information can be found at the Commission’s web site, http://psc.wi.gov, and at local libraries, government offices, clerks’ offices, and within the environmental review documents that will be prepared for the project.
Wis. Stats. § 196.491 describes the procedures related to the issuance of a CPCN. The general application requirements for the CPCN are described in Wis. Admin. Code ch. PSC 111. An overview of a typical application review process can be found at: http://psc.wi.gov/thelibrary/publications/electric/electric03.pdf.
Documents associated with the Highland Wind Farm application can be viewed on the PSC’s Electronic Regulatory Filing System at http://psc.wi.gov/. Type case numbers 2535-CE-100 in the boxes provided on the PSC homepage, or click on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System button.
From an article by Kimber Solana in the Racine Journal Times:
MOUNT PLEASANT – Amid some opposition from neighbors, SC Johnson is set to build two of the largest wind turbines in Racine County at its Waxdale manufacturing facility, a project expected to supply about 15 percent of the facility’s electricity usage.
In a 6-1 vote, the Village Board approved the conditional use petition on Monday to erect the turbines at the facility, 8311 16th St. Trustee Harry Manning dissented, expressing concerns over the size – about 415 feet tall – of the energy facilities.
“The noise is going to be there. There is going to be flickering. You read anywhere, they’ve had nothing but problems,” said Mount Pleasant resident Gail Johnson, 62. Johnson said her home is located on Willow Road, right across from where the turbines are expected to be built.
However, village officials said SCJ has gone “above and beyond” to address concerns by neighbors. Conditions set by the village include ensuring the wind turbines minimize noise decibel levels and shadow flickering.
Any noise would be no louder than traffic heard on Highway 20 or Highway 11, said Christopher Beard, reputation management director at SCJ.
The company has also offered to put in additional landscaping, if needed, such as trees that may block views of the turbines from residences, he added.
In addition, after meetings between the company and some residents, including those who opposed the project, SCJ has reduced the number of turbines from five to two.
Racine-based SCJ has said the wind turbines are the latest in a series of investments at Waxdale that will enable the site to produce 100 percent of its electrical energy on-site, with about 60 percent from renewable sources.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Companies working toward energy independence
The stalled state of wind farm development in Wisconsin has led to little development activity for large wind farms.
But on a much smaller scale, wind projects are moving ahead as companies fulfill commitments to environmental and energy independence.
In western Wisconsin, Organic Valley Cooperative and Gundersen Lutheran Health System have broken ground on a two-turbine wind project that will generate enough power to offset the energy use for Organic Valley’s corporate headquarters and distribution center, as well as meet 5% of Gundersen Lutheran’s energy needs.
In southeastern Wisconsin, S.C. Johnson & Son has proposed building two or three turbines that would generate 1.5 megawatts of power each. If the plans proceed on schedule, the turbines would be erected next year.
The co-op and health care system project, Cashton Greens, calls for roads and foundations for the $9.9 million project to be completed this fall, with the turbines scheduled for installation in spring 2012, said Cecil Wright, Organic Valley’s director of sustainability.
When completed, the turbines will generate about 12 million kilowatt-hours a year.
It’s a boost to a brand that has the word “organic” in its name, but this is about more than conveying a green image, Wright said.
“One of the main reasons we did is that it’ll help manage and fix our costs,” Wright said. “We’re not just doing it because it’s a nice thing to do. The higher the price of electricity goes up, the better we’ll do at paying off our project quicker, and that’ll be a profit center for us,” he said.
“In addition to providing renewable energy to Cashton and Organic Valley, the wind turbines will serve as a ‘living lab’ for research and education for students at Western Technical College,” Wright said.
Windmills and more
At S.C. Johnson, the wind proposal is the latest in a string of distributed generation and renewable energy initiatives for the company, which uses landfill methane gas to generate energy for the factory. The Waxdale factory will be able to produce 100% of its electricity on-site, with 60% of it from renewable sources, said Christopher Beard, S.C. Johnson spokesman.
The reasons for the projects are many – everything from a desire for energy security to a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy use and a platform to showcase their brands as environmentally friendly.
“Both of those projects show that customers are demanding and making clean energy happen,” said Lee Cullen, a Madison energy lawyer who has been working with clients in the wind-energy sector. “There’s a groundswell of renewable energy production that’s happening because people understand its importance.”
Beard said the S.C. Johnson wind project “helps us address the fact that consumers are asking for products that are green and products that have been produced in a sustainable way. Manufacturing our products using on-site sustainable energy helps meet that consumer demand,” Beard said.
Projects to erect wind turbines and solar panels needs to be complemented with efforts to slash energy waste from a company’s buildings and production processes, said Tom Eggert, who runs the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Twenty-four governors, not including Walker, ask Obama to extend tax credits for wind project investments
From a news release on the Web site of the American Wind Energy Association:
Iowa, Aug. 24—A coalition of 24 governors from both major parties and each region of the country has asked the administration to take a series of steps to provide a more favorable business climate for the development of wind energy, starting with a seven-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to provide stable, low tax rates for wind-generated electricity.
A letter from the governors, sent last month to the White House, has since been made public by the Governors Wind Energy Coalition. Signed by coalition chair Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI), and vice chair Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), the letter says:
“Although tax credits for wind energy have long enjoyed bipartisan support, they are scheduled to expire next year. Wind-related manufacturing will slow if the credits are not extended, and some of the tax credits’ benefit will be lost if Congress pursues a last-minute extension. It is important to have consistency in policy to support the continued development of wind manufacturing in the United States. Extending the production tax credit and the investment tax credit, without a gap, is critical to the health of wind manufacturing in our nation. The wind manufacturing industry in the U.S. would benefit even greater if the extension of these credits would be for at least seven years.”
“Governors have always focused on jobs and economic development as their main responsibility. Now that Washington is following suit, it helps for these Governors to tell Washington what has been putting people to work in their states,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “It is also helpful for them to support the removal of roadblocks that can occur in administrative agencies, so that deployment objectives are not unintentionally thwarted.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
A news release from RENEW:
Construction is now proceeding on the Cashton Greens Wind Project, Wisconsin’s first community wind project. Consisting of two 2.5 megawatt turbines, this innovative installation will serve two well-known western Wisconsin organizations – Organic Valley, La Farge, and Gundersen Health System, La Crosse. The two organizations are partnering in the development and ownership of this project.
“We at RENEW salute Organic Valley and Gundersen for demonstrating the viability of a large-scale wind turbine project in Wisconsin as a strategy for controlling their energy expenses and reducing their reliance on fossil fuels,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide sustainable energy advocacy organization headquartered in Madison.
According to the two companies, the generated electricity will account for five percent of Gundersen’s energy independence goal and more than offset the electricity usage at both Organic Valley’s distribution center in Cashton and its headquarters facilities in La Farge.
“This is leadership by example at its finest. In this case, two economic linchpins in their region have joined forces to incorporate on-site renewable energy production into their base operations,” said Vickerman.
“Organic Valley and Gundersen join a group of farsighted Wisconsin businesses that are taking great strides toward energy independence and sustainability, among them Epic Systems (Verona), Johnson Controls (Milwaukee), and Montchevré, a goat cheese producer in Belmont.”
Erecting wind turbines using in-state contractors, in this case Michels Corporation (Brownsville), will generate jobs for workers and business for local suppliers and subcontractors.
This project was supported with incentives from Focus on Energy, the statewide energy efficiency and renewables program funded by Wisconsin’s utility ratepayers.
“Ironically, this project occurs at a time when our state government is back-pedaling on policies and incentives to boost renewable energy as a means of moving toward energy independence. In contrast to Wisconsin’s elected officials, leading Wisconsin companies certainly ʽget it’ when it comes to the economic and environmental values of renewable energy,” said Vickerman.
For more information about this project and its owners/developers visit Organic Valley’s news room atRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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From an article in Wind Energy Weekly:
Wind energy is more affordable than ever, and new installations across the country are saving consumers money on their electric bills, as utilities rush to lock in long-term favorable rates, AWEA said in its third-quarter market report this week.
“This is what a successful business looks like with stable tax policy. Utilities are locking in a great deal for their electric customers while it’s available. We’re keeping rates down all across the U.S., even in the heart of the South,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode, pointing to recent wind power purchases by the Southern Company in Alabama, Austin Energy in Texas, and Xcel Energy in Colorado as examples.
The U.S. wind industry installed just over 1,200 MW in the third quarter, and about 3,360 MW on the year so far—but has more than 8,400 MW under construction. That is more than in any quarter since 2008, as the federal Production Tax Credit has driven as much as $20 billion a year in private investment.
“This shows what we’re capable of: adding new, affordable electric generation,” said Bode. “Traditional tax incentives are working. There’s a lot of business right now, people are employed, and manufacturers are looking to expand here in the U.S.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From an article by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:
An effort to push forward with new rules for siting wind towers in Wisconsin has failed.
On a largely party-line 60-30 vote, the Republican-controlled Assembly on Thursday voted down an amendment that would have cleared the way for an expansion of wind generated electricity here.
The rules for siting of wind turbines were approved by the state Public Service Commission under former Gov. Jim Doyle. But implementation of those rules has been suspended under a directive from Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker and others, including Rep. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview,have said the rules should be reviewed again, with more consideration given to those living near wind farms. Some residents have complained of noise and visual impacts from wind turbines, which can be up to 300 feet tall.
Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, had co-sponsored the wind amendment that was attached to a bill that allowed for larger trucks on Wisconsin highways, including trucks that carry equipment for electric transmission lines.
In a statement, Hebl said it was ironic that the wind amendment was shot down just as new figures showed Wisconsin lost more jobs in September.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
From an article by Michael Martin in Coulee News:
At a special meeting last Thursday, the Bangor Village Board approved a letter of intent for the municipal utility to purchase 15 percent of its power from a Minnesota wind energy company beginning in 2013.
Public Works Director Steve Baker explained that the deal with Project Resources Corporation (a firm based in Minneapolis that has been developing wind projects in the Midwest for more than 10 years) would mean little or no change for the utility’s customers.
“We’ll receive a bill from them — it’s really no different from what we’re doing right now, and it’s something we’d have to do anyway,” Baker said.
State law requires that utilities get at least 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources. Baker said that the figure for Bangor right now is around 12.5 percent.
The deal with PRC is an attempt to lock in prices for the next 20 years. It was necessary because Bangor purchased its power from Xcel Energy in the past but will be switching over to American Electric Power beginning in January 2013.
“Xcel takes care of that (signing up sources of renewable energy) now, so we needed to do something beginning in 2013,” Baker said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
July 28, 2011
Randy Faller – email@example.com
Maureen Faller – maureen.fallergmail.com
Kettle View Renewable Energy
Wind turbines come with three blades, right? Not the unique Scottish-built Gaia turbine installed near Neenah by Kettle View Renewable Energy, LLC, of Random Lake.
“You might do a double-take when you first see it,” admits Randy Faller, owner of Kettle View.
The electricity production from the first two-blader installed in Wisconsin and fourth in the United States has been “incredible,” according to Faller, “even during last June, when winds were really light.” And it’s quieter than other small turbines.
At wind speeds between 9 and 14 miles per hour, the 11-kilowatt Gaia in the Town of Clayton, Winnebago County, will out perform a turbine rated at 20 kilowatts. With a little more fine-tuning, Faller expects even better production. “It’s only been up a month and a half,” Faller said.
“No single turbine on the market fills every need at every site. Every brand of turbines has advantages and disadvantages. The Gaia (pronounced GUY-ah) works well in locations with lower wind speeds,” commented Faller, “like we have at many Wisconsin locations.”
Part of the Gaia’s generating power comes from longer blades than those on a three-bladed turbine. With a rotor diameter of 42.6 feet, the two-bladed Gaia can capture up to 80% more energy, according to the U.S. distributors Web site (www.tacoelectronics.com).
“Hundreds of Gaia turbines have been installed throughout Europe since the turbine was first developed in Denmark in the 1990s,” explained Faller.
Equipped with a durable gearbox, well-built mechanics, and streamlined design, Faller expects the Gaia to perform reliably during Wisconsin’s winters.
However, Wisconsin’s future for wind energy doesn’t look bright for Gaia or any other turbine, according to Faller, who calls the current situation “scary.”
The Legislature suspended statewide standards for permitting wind energy systems. “The small wind section of those standards was a great thing. Towns and counties could use it as a guide. Now everything’s open to interpretation when a landowner applies for a permit,” Faller said.
He also expects his business to be hurt by budget cuts imposed by the Legislature on Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s ratepayer-funded energy efficiency and renewable programs. Individual utility support for customer-sited renewable systems has also been cut back.
“My wife and I built the business to the point where we employ three other full-time employees, one part-timer, and occasionally subcontract some work. If we don’t have work in Wisconsin, we’ll go out of state. But why should I have to leave my own state to work?”
Prior to starting Kettle View in 2006, Faller “got tired of sitting behind a desk. It’s exciting,” he says, “to make our own power right in your own backyard.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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