City of Manitowoc approves wind turbines

Posted on September 23, 2008. Filed under: Wind |

From 3 Minutes with the Mayor, Kevin Crawford:

In a year when the national spotlight has shone on our small northeastern Wisconsin community for its burgeoning manufacturing sector, strong economy and high quality of life, Manitowoc has stepped forward with yet another first. Our city of 34,500 people – which some believe can become the national epicenter for alternative and renewable energy technology development and the cache of “green collar” jobs that go with this new economy – is the first in Wisconsin to pass municipal legislation that allows the building of large-scale wind power generation within the city limits.

On Monday, September 15, 2008, after review by staff, the City Council, a public hearing, and with the recommendation of the Plan Commission, an ordinance was signed into law that allows wind towers nearly as tall as a 40-story building to be built in areas zoned for light and heavy industry where “set back” requirements can be met.

As most know, our city owns the largest municipally owned electric generating facility in our state. MPU employs a mix of clean coal technologies, natural gas and diesel to generate power for our own community and others in this area of the state. We are also home to a major “cluster” of impressive green manufacturers: Tower Tech – a builder of giant wind towers; Orion Energy – in the business of energy efficiency and renewables; Manitowoc Cranes – building the worlds finest wind generation erection equipment; and the long list of other businesses that support them. Our location on the Niagara escarpment coupled with the incredible wind plume generated by Lake Michigan make us not only a great place to build the key components of the wind industry, but also a great place to generate electricity using the wind as well.

The first industry expected to employ the new law is Orion Energy, which plans to construct one 1.5 megawatt wind turbine in the near future. The company plans a collaboration with Tower Tech, General Electric (GE), Lakeshore Technical College, Manitowoc Cranes and others to make the project a reality.

The City’s ordinance runs counter to the Manitowoc county board’s efforts to stop wind installations, though county committees nowseem to be moving toward allowing small turbines in the county.


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