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County Board OKs roads for wind farm

Daily Register|Lyn Jerde|December 4, 2009
WisconsinGeneral

We Energies got approval Thursday from the Columbia County Board's highway committee for variances that will allow for construction related to a proposed wind energy farm. ...The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin tentatively plans to decide in late January whether to grant permission for We Energies to build Glacier Hills Energy Park, on rented farmland spanning more than 17,300 acres.


We Energies got approval Thursday from the Columbia County Board's highway committee for variances that will allow for construction related to a proposed wind energy farm.

In October, the committee gave We Energies a variance to allow a driveway in the town of Scott to be closer to another driveway than county rules allow. The driveway, which would be used for access to a wind turbine, would have less than the required 300 feet of distance between the next-nearest driveway off Highway H.

This time, the company asked for variances involving five driveways in the town of Randolph.

Highway Commissioner Kurt Dey said Randolph town officials had signed off on the variances, and he recommended that the committee do the same.

Sean McMullen of We Energies said only one of the five driveways for which variances are sought - located on Inglehart Road - also has issues with sight vision for drivers who enter the highway from the driveway. The driveway is located at the top of a hill, making it difficult for a driver to see oncoming ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

We Energies got approval Thursday from the Columbia County Board's highway committee for variances that will allow for construction related to a proposed wind energy farm.

In October, the committee gave We Energies a variance to allow a driveway in the town of Scott to be closer to another driveway than county rules allow. The driveway, which would be used for access to a wind turbine, would have less than the required 300 feet of distance between the next-nearest driveway off Highway H.

This time, the company asked for variances involving five driveways in the town of Randolph.

Highway Commissioner Kurt Dey said Randolph town officials had signed off on the variances, and he recommended that the committee do the same.

Sean McMullen of We Energies said only one of the five driveways for which variances are sought - located on Inglehart Road - also has issues with sight vision for drivers who enter the highway from the driveway. The driveway is located at the top of a hill, making it difficult for a driver to see oncoming traffic before entering the highway. But, he said, that issue can be resolved.

The 90 turbines proposed for Glacier Hills Energy Park would each have driveways leading to them, to allow access by maintenance crews.

However, McMullen said the driveways will most likely have their heaviest use during the time when the turbines are under construction.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin tentatively plans to decide in late January whether to grant permission for We Energies to build Glacier Hills Energy Park, on rented farmland spanning more than 17,300 acres.

If the project is approved, the turbines wouldn't start appearing on the northeast Columbia County skyline until the spring or summer of 2011. The driveways have to be in place before construction can start.

Once the turbines are built, McMullen said, vehicles driving to the turbines would be relatively rare. The turbines can be started and stopped remotely, and on-site maintenance would occur only for repairs.

Walter "Doc" Musekamp of We Energies said it's been his experience that the farmers who rent the land for turbines use the new driveways more frequently than turbine maintenance crews do.

The turbines' location is based on a number of factors, McMullen said, including topography, proximity to nearby turbines, proximity to the homes of landowners who aren't renting land for turbines and prevailing winds. That's why the driveways sometimes to be built closer to existing driveways than the county normally allows.

Committee Chairman Andy Ross of Poynette initially said he would prefer to delay a decision on the variances until he had an opportunity to look at the sites.

But Committee Member Ken Hutler of Portage proposed - and the committee unanimously agreed - that since the town of Randolph had already OK'd the variances, the committee should do so as well.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:http://portagedailyregister.c…

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