Wind farm controversy goes to Calumet County Board on Tuesday

Posted on January 12, 2008. Filed under: Wind |


From an article by Susan Squires in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

NEW HOLSTEIN — Residents in some Calumet County towns have spent the last two years jousting with developers and major landowners over huge wind turbines on titanic wind farms.

The sparring is set to culminate Tuesday, when the Calumet County Board considers a special committee’s recommendations to tighten the county’s rules about where developers can put wind turbines — proposals designed to temper 400-foot wind turbines’ effects on neighbors’ lives.

Calumet County, where wind speeds average 13 mph, is one of the state’s most promising sites for wind energy. It is also an idyllic countryside former city dwellers appreciate for its rolling hills and quaint farmsteads their residential lots neighbor.

Ironically, the most likely casualty in this clash of titans is a tiny project New Holstein Utilities had been banking on to generate a fair amount of the electricity its customers will need in the future.

“I think the proposals make it extremely difficult to do anything,” said Tom Paque, vice president of customer service and administration for Wisconsin Public Power Inc., the wholesaler that buys electricity on behalf of municipal utilities. “If it were implemented I think it takes our project off the table.”

The proposed rules, according to developers EcoEnergy Inc. and Midwest Wind Energy, will make the two big projects they had planned extremely difficult. They increase from 1,000 feet to 1,800 feet the required space between turbines and houses or schools. They also add a 1,000-foot buffer between windmills and things like parks, trails and barns.

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