Walker refuses to break wind-siting deadlock

Posted on October 10, 2011. Filed under: Biomass, Economic development, Jobs, Wind |


From an article by Clay Barbour in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in potential economic development are stuck in limbo as officials continue to argue over new wind siting rules.

The new rules, more than a year in the making, were suspended earlier this year just before they were to go into effect. A legislative committee sent them back to the Public Service Commission, which was tasked with finding a compromise between both sides.

Now, some seven months later, PSC officials say they are no closer to a deal than when they started. Meanwhile, wind farm developers such as Midwest Wind Energy and Redwind Consulting are sitting on their hands, and their money.

“Right now, we just don’t have a path forward in Wisconsin,”said Tim Polz, vice president of Midwest Wind Energy, a company that suspended work earlier this year on a large wind farm in Calumet County. “The uncertainty is just too much now.”

Polz said Chicago-based Midwest already spent three years and about $1 million on the Calumet County project. In full, the company expected to spend upward of $200 million on the project, employ 150 to 200 construction workers for up to 18 months and five to eight people full time after that. . . .

Walker said he is aware of the stress caused by the delay but feels it is important any rules be fair to both sides, respecting property rights and the future of the wind industry.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, plans to introduce a bill Monday to call for a moratorium on wind turbines until the PSC receives a report from the Department of Health Services on possible health effects of wind farms.

“It is more important to fully vet, understand and communicate to the public the potential changes than the specific timing of when they are adopted and enacted.” Walker said. “It is important to note that whatever proposed changes are made, there are effects on a number of different areas of the economy.”

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2 Responses to “Walker refuses to break wind-siting deadlock”

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I say, let one state out of 50 go through thorough and complete deliberation and don’t rush them. There are plenty of other states for wind energy to build in right now, and we may get something of value by letting this one state deliberate.

With all due respect to the deliberative process, Mark, the world has tens of thousands of installed wind turbines. Another state study of other studies will produce nothing new at all. To check out people’s real world experience with turbines in Wisconsin, look for the posts on the Montfort and Rosiere wind farms. This video on Rosiere is particularly good in showing neighbors’ reactions to the wind farm.


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