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Editorial: Weigh pluses, minuses of offshore turbines

Three developers are talking about putting up wind turbines in the offshore waters to generate electricity. ...One plan calls for 390 turbines in an area about 18 miles east of Milwaukee, according to the newspaper report. Another would put 610 turbines one to two miles offshore from Kewaunee to Kenosha. ...We have concerns about the effect hundreds of Lake Michigan turbines would have on recreational boating, not to mention sport and commercial fishing, all of which are vital to the Sheboygan area's economy. There is also the danger that wind turbines rising hundreds of feet into the air pose to migratory birds.

People living along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Sheboygan County are keenly aware how the lake affects our weather. "Cooler near the lake" is a standard phrase in the forecast much of the year.

But there may be more coming from Lake Michigan than a cool breeze.

Three developers are talking about putting up wind turbines in the offshore waters to generate electricity. According to a story Thursday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wind energy consultant Robert Owen of Madison thinks the area east of Sheboygan and Milwaukee is ideal for wind power.

One plan calls for 390 turbines in an area about 18 miles east of Milwaukee, according to the newspaper report. Another would put 610 turbines one to two miles offshore from Kewaunee to Kenosha. A third developer is talking about wind turbines a few miles from shore in east-central Wisconsin.

These ideas are being fueled by the growing demand for sources of renewable and clean energy.

There is surely going to be opposition to wind turbines in Lake Michigan, based on what has already happened with land-based wind farm proposals.

We have concerns about the effect hundreds of Lake Michigan turbines would have on... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

People living along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Sheboygan County are keenly aware how the lake affects our weather. "Cooler near the lake" is a standard phrase in the forecast much of the year.

But there may be more coming from Lake Michigan than a cool breeze.

Three developers are talking about putting up wind turbines in the offshore waters to generate electricity. According to a story Thursday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wind energy consultant Robert Owen of Madison thinks the area east of Sheboygan and Milwaukee is ideal for wind power.

One plan calls for 390 turbines in an area about 18 miles east of Milwaukee, according to the newspaper report. Another would put 610 turbines one to two miles offshore from Kewaunee to Kenosha. A third developer is talking about wind turbines a few miles from shore in east-central Wisconsin.

These ideas are being fueled by the growing demand for sources of renewable and clean energy.

There is surely going to be opposition to wind turbines in Lake Michigan, based on what has already happened with land-based wind farm proposals.

We have concerns about the effect hundreds of Lake Michigan turbines would have on recreational boating, not to mention sport and commercial fishing, all of which are vital to the Sheboygan area's economy. There is also the danger that wind turbines rising hundreds of feet into the air pose to migratory birds.

We're pretty sure lakefront property owners will object to having turbines within a couple of miles of shore, just as rural property owners have protested nearby land-based turbines.

And, we don't yet know who has ultimate jurisdiction for rules on where offshore turbines can be erected or how tall they can be. Surely, state and federal agencies will have a say.

Detailed plans from any of the developers have yet to submitted for review, so there is time to address these and other issues.

Also, this gives Wisconsin time to complete the study on the energy potential of the Great Lakes that is being done by the Global Warming Task Force. A study of this kind can determine if economic benefits outweigh environmental or aesthetic concerns.

With no offshore wind farms yet operating in the U.S., there is no hard evidence on which to base decisions. But by doing the in-depth study, Wisconsin will be in better shape when the time comes.

Since Wisconsin has already made a commitment to finding and using alternative energy sources, wind power must be considered as an element in a long-term plan to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

This includes the coal we now use to produce electricity.

Expansion of this area's economic base relies heavily on the generation of electrical power, so demand will undoubtedly increase.

We have to find a way to meet that demand and find out if wind power from Great Lakes turbines makes sense.


Source: http://www.sheboygan-press....

APR 27 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/14682-editorial-weigh-pluses-minuses-of-offshore-turbines
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