Walker wind-siting changes would slam door on wind development

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: Economic development, Wind |

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

About $500 million in investment in wind projects wouldn’t take place under wind-permitting restrictions in a regulatory reform bill introduced by Gov. Scott Walker this week, a state renewable energy leader said Friday.

Strict setback requirements in the proposal make it tantamount to a ban on wind farm construction, and would halt projects that are already have received permits and are set to be built this year or next, Michael Vickerman of RENEW Wisconsin said.

About $500 million in investment in wind power projects around the state through 2012 is at risk, he said.

Walker’s proposal would mandate minimum setbacks of 1,800 feet between a wind turbine and the nearest property line. That compares with a setback distance of 1,250 feet from a neighboring residence approved by the Public Service Commission in a rule adopted last year and set to take effect this year.

“There are very few locations in the entire Badger State that could overcome such extreme constraints,” said Vickerman. “You can count the locations on the fingers of one hand.”

Including all the projects on the drawing board across the state, nearly $1.8 billion in investment may be at stake, according to RENEW Wisconsin, which has tracked the growth of the wind development in the state for years.


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