End unnecessary obstacles to wind power

Posted on June 12, 2009. Filed under: Wind |


From an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The single biggest constraint on increasing wind generation of electricity in Wisconsin is the permitting process, according to Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy, a group working on implementing the recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming. And one of the biggest problems in the permitting process is local opposition to wind farms.

CREWE has said that over 600 megawatts of planned wind developments are stalled across Wisconsin “due to midstream changes in regulations and procedures.” The Journal Sentinel’s Thomas Content pointed out in an article on Monday that more than a dozen wind projects around the state have been slowed by local opposition.

That can’t continue. What’s needed, as CREWE officials argue, is regulatory reform and, specifically, uniform siting standards for all wind farms that would be built in the state. Such legislation has been introduced. It deserves adoption by the Legislature.

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One Response to “End unnecessary obstacles to wind power”

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CWERE Wind Development Policy Position.

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CREWE priorities include:

3. To enable electric providers to meet the new, more aggressive RPS in a timely manner and to avoid the need for compliance deadline extensions, the revised RPS should:

f. Remove existing siting and equipment transportation barriers;

WOW, this organization not only wants to remove local control of siting turbines they also want to take control away from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Will the FAA be next on their list?

Is an unreliable, intermittent, non-dispatchable, heavily subsidized, source of electric power that requires continuous backup from coal power really this important to our renewable energy future in Wisconsin? When wind power does come on line it’s the gas and hydro plants that are throttled back, not the coal plants.

Community-scale wind installations, such as the six-turbine, 9 megawatt wind project proposed in the Town of Springfield in Dane County and a similar project approved by the City of Westby have been abandoned by the developer. The equipment mobilization and fixed costs associated with these small projects make them so expensive that are not cost effective. Until developers can find a way to bleed more money from the taxpayers and rate payers these small projects will not be feasible.

Remember, not one coal plant anywhere in the world has ever been shut down because of wind power. Until last year Germany was the world leader in installed capacity of wind turbines. Germany has 26 coal plant either proposed or under construction. Every MW of wind power requires additional backup of reliable coal power.

We can do better than following the failures of other countries with far more experience in wind energy that we have. Wisconsin has a tremendous biomass and biofuel resource that will provide all the renewable energy, and long term jobs we need. Wisconsin needs to be a leader in renewable energy, not a follower.

Call, write, or better yet visit your state Representative and Senator and ask that they not support AB256 and SB 185, or any other form of siting reform.


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

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