Developer explains reasons for needed wind siting reform

Posted on May 12, 2009. Filed under: General |


Several people, representing themselves or organizations, spoke or submitted statements in support of SB 185 and AB 256, companion bills to begin a process to set uniform siting standards, at a public hearing in the State Capitol. William Rakocy, Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC, submitted the following:

Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, LLC, supports the current efforts of wind siting reform before the State of Wisconsin. It is our understanding that we have the good fortune to hold a conditional use permit for the last wind project issued by a town board in the State of Wisconsin (Town of Glenmore, March 26, 2007). It is truly amazing to us that an adjacent county denied unanimously, a request for a similar project with similar design characteristics (e.g. setbacks).

Six years ago, Emerging Energies began an effort to permit a wind farm in Manitowoc County. In a serious effort to be a good neighbor to the community we began at the County Parks & Planning Department. We requested a permit and we were asked to wait until an ordinance had been developed. Inconvenient as it was, we truly wanted to have a good relationship so we accepted the request and waited the six months. Once the ordinance had been developed we tailored the design of our Mishicot Wind Project to meet the ordinance without exception. We applied for a permit and were immediately suspended by the enactment of a moratorium. During the period of the moratorium a new wind ordinance was developed, one which would not allow a wind turbine project such as ours to exist in the county. At the end of the moratorium period, our permit request was heard by the Parks and Plan Board of Adjustment from Manitowoc County. At the recommendation of Manitowoc County Corp Council, Steve Rollins, the Board of Adjustment applied the original ordinance since that was what was in place at the time of application. After a three-month hearing process we were granted a unanimous approval. Within the appeal period, residents opposed to wind started an action against the county’s decision to apply the original ordinance. Circuit Judge Willis remanded our permit request back to the Board of Adjustment for further consideration against the newer wind ordinance. After considerable effort and expense, we were heard once again by the exact same board members for the same wind project and received a unanimous denial in January, after four months of hearing and deliberation.

The forward thinking efforts of the State of Wisconsin to enable clean renewable energy are being prevented in significant quantities in the best wind areas of our state by people who have been scared by fear mongering opponents. At this time we plead with the state to enable a process that will allow reasonable projects to move forward and satisfy the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

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    A statewide nonprofit dedicated to promoting economically and environmentally sustainable energy policies and practices in Wisconsin.

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