Reasonable balance needed on energy issues

Posted on April 1, 2011. Filed under: Economic development, Energy Policy, Wind | Tags: , |

From an editorial in the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

It was no surprise to us that Invenergy LLC last week abandoned its plans to build 100 wind turbines in southern Brown County, a project fiercely opposed by some area residents.

The company’s decision came three weeks after a state legislative committee voted March 1 to suspend the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s new siting rules, preventing enforcement of the regulations on the same day they were scheduled to take effect. The action left the Chicago-based company with no viable alternative but to cut its losses and walk away from the proposed $300 million Ledge Wind Energy Center.

At a time when the nation needs to invest in renewable energy sources, it is curious that Wisconsin is pursuing stricter rules that would make the state less competitive in this growing market. Government leaders should be aware they are sending a message that Wisconsin is open for business, but not necessarily for wind energy developers. . . .

No matter what form of energy we use, it always comes with risks. Look no further than Japan to see the effects of a nuclear disaster; or the Deepwater Horizon well explosion last year that killed 11 crew members in the Gulf of Mexico to see the possible hazards of offshore oil drilling; or the Upper Big Branch coal mine accident last year that killed 29 West Virginia miners for the danger in extracting coal.

Wisconsin cannot have it both ways by setting renewable energy goals and then placing roadblocks in the way when opposition arises. A reasonable balance must be achieved to allow us to move forward.


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