Manitowoc County Says “No Can Do” to Windpower Project

Posted on January 23, 2009. Filed under: General |

From a news release issued by RENEW Wisconsin:

The Manitowoc County Board of Adjustment rejected earlier this week a developer’s request for approval to build a seven-turbine wind project west of Two Rivers. The decision marks the latest setback in the project developer’s four-year-long quest to erect a community-scale wind project in the Town of Mishicot.

By contrast, the project developer, Emerging Energies LLP, recently secured a permit to erect eight turbines in the Town of Glenmore in Brown County, about 15 miles from Mishicot.

Under development since 2004, the Mishicot Wind Farm is strongly supported by Wisconsin-based environmental and clean energy groups, including RENEW Wisconsin.

“The Board’s rejection of the Mishicot Wind Farm is certain to send a chill through every Wisconsin developer seeking to construct a community-scale wind project here,” said RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman,

Blessed with some of the state’s strongest winds, Manitowoc County adopted a wind ordinance in 2004. Emerging Energies first proposed the Mishicot project in 2005. Progress since that time has been slowed by a countywide moratorium on wind development and the subsequent adoption of one of the most restrictive wind ordinances in Wisconsin.

Among these features is a minimum setback requirement of 1,000 feet from a turbine to a property line. In contrast, Emerging Energies’ permit in the Town of Glenmore specifies a setback of 1.1 times the total turbine height from property lines and public rights-of-way. The total height of a commercial wind turbine–tower plus vertically extended blade–ranges between 350 and 450 feet.

“Suffice it to say that if every jurisdiction adopted Manitowoc County’s setback standards, there would not be a single commercial wind project operating in Wisconsin right now,” Vickerman said.

As part of its application, Emerging Energies offered to provide an annual payment of $77,000 to be allocated equally among the county, the town, and neighboring residences living up to ½ mile away from a turbine. Over a 30-year operating life, the developer’s offer would pump $2.31 million directly into the local economy.

Coverage in The Reporter (Fond du Lac).


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One Response to “Manitowoc County Says “No Can Do” to Windpower Project”

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Manitowoc County Says “No Can Do”

The Manitowoc County Board, and Board of Adjustments has said “No” to selling the residents health, safety, welfare, property rights, property values, and quality of life for an annual payment of $77,000.00.
Thanks and congratulations to the elected officials who made this responsible decision. You have done your duty to protect the citizens.

What part of the word NO does this wind developer not understand? Just because there may be some wind in Manitowoc County should a wind developer have the legal right to exploit the elected officials and residents? I don’t think so. A law that would force local governments to accept anything that Mr. Vickerman and his wind developers wants to do? I don’t think so.

A set back of 1000’ from a property line is reasonable and fair. Anything less is called shoehorning and should not be allowed. Local County and Town governments are doing a great job of assessing the health and safety risks of siting industrial wind turbines too close to homes and property lines. In most communities large wind turbines are out of character with local zoning and land use and should be strictly regulated.

There are a number of reasons why Wisconsin should not be supporting wind energy in addition to the serious health and safety repercussions. The Wall Street Journal recently published this statement.

Tufts economist Gilbert Metcalf ran the numbers and found that the effective tax rate for wind is minus-163.8%. In other words, every dollar a wind firm spends is subsidized to the tune of 64 cents from the government. The Energy Information Administration estimates that wind receives $23.37 in government benefits per megawatt hour — compared to, say, 44 cents for coal. Despite these taxpayer crutches, wind only provides a little under 1% of U.S. net electric generation.

An Electric Utility that says it is going to deliver wind generated power to your home is the same as a Water Utility saying they will deliver tap water to your home when it is raining.

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