Letter asks Walker to leave new wind siting rules alone

Posted on January 13, 2011. Filed under: Economic development, Wind |

January 11, 2011

Governor Scott Walker
Senator Scott Fitzgerald
Representative Jeff Fitzgerald

Re: Support for Wisconsin’s Wind Siting Rule, PSC 128

Governor Walker, Senator Fitzgerald, and Representative Fitzgerald:

As businesses involved in the manufacturing, production, installation, and maintenance of wind energy systems, we urge you to allow the state’s new wind siting rule to go into effect. The wind siting rule is a fair balance of different interests and will spur investment, job creation, and economic growth in our state if given an opportunity to do so.

We are aware that the Special Session on Jobs will include a bill related to the authority of state agencies to promulgate administrative rules, with yet unspecified changes to the wind siting rule. While the text of the bill has not yet been released, we would like to take this opportunity to urge you not to alter or weaken the wind siting rule. The rule already contains some of the strongest protections in the United States for homeowners, including strict provisions related to shadow and sound criteria, as part of a balanced package that assures the safe and responsible siting of wind energy systems.

The wind siting bill had strong bipartisan support when it passed the legislature last session. The wind siting council was comprised of a variety of stakeholders representing a broad selection of interests. The council met regularly for five months, listening to multiple experts, scholars, and health professionals. The rulemaking process was open, balanced, and fair, and the rule will allow wind developers to site wind energy systems efficiently while protecting Wisconsin residents.

Weakening the rule with an overly burdensome setback larger than those specified in the rule could represent a death sentence to many wind projects in Wisconsin. Given the strong shadow and sound protections, further setback requirements are not necessary and will have the practical effect of rendering useless many of the best turbine locations in the state, where landowners have voluntarily entered into lease agreements for wind energy systems.

The entities that will be harmed most by such legislation are Wisconsin-based manufacturers, equipment suppliers, contractors, and consultants. States all around us have already realized that renewable energy generation represents an opportunity for major economic growth in their state. In fact, the wind industry has shown strong growth despite significant challenges throughout the current economic environment.

Repealing or modifying the wind siting law will send a message to manufacturers, developers, and investors that Wisconsin is not open for this particular business, which can be a key contributor to Wisconsin’s manufacturing renaissance.

We appreciate your consideration,

Energy Composites Corporation, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Michels Wind Energy, Brownsville, WI

American Wind Energy Association, Washington, D.C.

Renewegy Systems, LLC, Oshkosh, WI

Wind Capital Group, Madison, WI

Wind on the Wires, St. Paul, MN

Midwest Wind Energy, Chicago, IL

Bonestroo Engineering, Green Bay, WI

Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, LLC, Hubertus, WI

Iberdrola Renewables, Minneapolis, MN

Nordex USA, Chicago, IL

WES Engineering LLC, Madison, WI

Seventh Generation Energy Systems, Madison, WI

Uriel Wind Inc., Mequon, WI

Wind Wisconsin, Middleton, WI

Lake Michigan Wind and Sun, Sturgeon Bay, WI

SUN & Daughters Renewable Energy, Sugar Camp, WI


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