Staff’s draft of wind siting rules is too restrictive

Posted on August 24, 2010. Filed under: Economic development, Wind |

From an article by Bill Opalka on

In about a week wind developers in Wisconsin will have a pretty good answer to their questions about doing business in the state for smaller projects.

The questions are being asked the rest of this week as the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) is holding open meetings on a task force’s recommendations for wind siting regulations.

I recently spoke with Michael Vickerman, the executive director of wind energy advocate RENEW Wisconsin and a member of the task force to understand how the state reached this point. He admitted that Wisconsin is gaining a reputation as a tough place to do business.

“Leaving it up to local governments to interpret siting standards has become totally impractical,” Vickerman said. “All have chosen to go their own way and the results vary widely.”

So the legislature last year directed the PSC commission to draft statewide siting standards. Part of the process was to appoint a 15-member task force from the energy industry, environmental organizations, real estate and the public to adopt recommendations.

The task force endorsed a package of recommendations by an 11-4 vote. That process has occurred since March, with the PSC now conducting open meetings, with its decision due early next week.

The PSC can modify or amend the draft as it sees fit and then submit a final document to legislative committees. Those committees can call hearings that could lead to a vote before the legislature, or the committees can let the PSC be the final say on the proposed rulemaking.
In short, there are still are ways in which the can be changed.

“At this point we can’t say whether we will support it” Vickerman said.

A draft of recommendations by PSC staff is also part of the process, but Vickerman said that is too restrictive.


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