Officials urge state wind rules

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Wind |

From an article by Nathaniel Shuda in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

Wisconsin Rapids officials are working to create a policy regulating small wind-energy systems but want legislators in Madison to create a statewide law for consistency.

With a planned 350,000-square-foot plant expected to produce large, industrial wind turbine blades, the city currently has no rules regulating smaller, more residential wind mills, Mayor Mary Jo Carson said.

“You’ve got to progress and get it done, so when your constituents have questions, you’re prepared for that,” said Carson, also chairwoman of the city’s Planning Commission.

The city already received at least two requests from residents looking for guidance on erecting wind mills in their yards or on their roofs, she said.

City staff members have forwarded a proposed zoning ordinance to Wisconsin Focus on Energy for guidance but have not yet received a response, said Michael Ostrowski, the city’s planning and economic development director.

At the state level, a similar policy has made it through the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities but still is before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail.

The bill would grant rule-making authority to the Public Service Commission to develop statewide regulations to govern small wind systems. Local ordinances cannot be more stringent than state regulations.

State Reps. Amy Sue Vruwink, D-Milladore, and Louis Molepske, D-Stevens Point, co-sponsored the bill. The effort also has garnered support from various Republican lawmakers, including state Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford.

“Our fear is that we pass this and then the state pushes through (a different version),” Carson said. “I really wish the state would get (going) here. We need to move on.”


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