Walker needs to carefully weigh wind farm rules
From an editorial in The Northwestern, Oshkosh:
Gov. Scott Walker made an abrupt and startling U-turn in his pro-business, pro-jobs agenda last week when he proposed regulations that would cripple, if not kill, the wind energy industry in Wisconsin. It was a breath-taking about-face for Wisconsin’s new governor who campaigned on sound bite slogans: “Help is on the way” and “Wisconsin is open for business.” Apparently not for wind farms.
Walker’s proposal would quadruple the wind turbine setbacks from property lines from 450 feet to 1,800 feet. If passed by the legislature, Walker’s rule would make Wisconsin’s wind farm regulations the strictest in the nation and would be a death sentence for wind farm development in Wisconsin, industry leaders said.
“It would in essence shut down wind energy in the state,” Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association told the Wisconsin State Journal. “It is one of the most onerous regulations we have seen.”
The cost: $1.8 billion in long-term investment in wind farm projects in the state, including $500 million over the next two years and an additional 950 jobs planned projects would create.
Given those facts, Walker’s proposed regulation is perplexing on a number of fronts.