Articles filed under Energy Policy from Wisconsin
It was the strangest sensation Lynda Barry ever felt: a near-constant vibration within her body. ...Barry was standing in a house in Fond du Lac County, near a wind farm. The vibration she felt was created by wind-power turbines, one just 1,100 feet away. These were part of the Blue Sky Green Fields wind project, 88 wind towers owned and operated by We Energies. The owners of the house complained of ringing in their ears anytime the wind turbines and their 100-foot blades were spinning.
In recent weeks, the oil lobby and a manufacturers trade group ignited a campaign in the Mountain West and Midwest asserting that the House legislation would be a job killer. Environmental and labor groups have countered with a "Made in America" tour to highlight the green jobs they say would be created.
Either way, the sound of wind turbines is making more ears perk up as a bill moves forward in the Legislature that would empower the Public Service Commission to create statewide rules governing wind power and pre-empt local government control over their placement. The rules would govern the distance between turbines and homes along with their noise and the flicker effects of shadows from their turbine blades.
Two bills currently before both houses of the state legislature would give more of that kind of control to Wisconsin's Public Service Commission, taking it away from municipalities. "I'd rather have my town board be able to have my destiny in their hands, rather than three guys appointed by the governor," said McIlrath. Wind energy firm, Wind Capital told WISC-TV that they are conducting land and wind surveys in the area, but have no long term contracts for projects.
A state senate panel has advanced a bill that would create a statewide standard for siting wind farms in Wisconsin. But senators changed the plan to add protections for people who live near the massive wind turbines. ...under a provision passed by a senate panel, the PSC would have to consider the health effects of wind turbines when they decide how far to set them back from homes.
A state Senate committee today voted 6-1 to approve a bill to establish statewide siting standards for wind energy projects. "It's time to make decisions and if we are to get away from reliance on Mideast oil, we need to find a way to site these wind energy systems," said Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Kenosha. Senate Bill 185 directs the state Public Service Commission to work on statewide siting standards.
A recent Wisconsin appeals court ruling wipes away ordinances written in Union and Magnolia townships to regulate wind energy systems, experts say. ..."Even though we apparently wasted $40,000 coming up with an ordinance, I don't think the money was completely wasted because I think we have solid, scientific facts that will give our community and the Union Town Board the basis for evaluating these proposals on a case-by-case basis."
It is a mistake for Wisconsin officials to focus on their goal of generating 25 percent of energy from renewable sources without keeping in mind the other 75 percent, according to state lawmakers. "If, in 16 years' time, we've got coal or nuclear plants being retired, we need to know what we're replacing that with," said state Rep. Jim Soletski, D-Green Bay. Still, Soletski said, the state's 25 percent by 2025 goal makes it difficult to break the focus on renewable energy - even for him.
A wind energy debate that's turned neighbor against neighbor in Calumet County took a new turn last week through 13 pages prepared by a three-judge panel. A county ordinance that regulated wind turbines is no longer valid, according the state Court of Appeals. Officials said it's too early to tell what the decision will mean to the future of wind energy in Calumet County.
A Wisconsin appeals court is limiting the restrictions that local municipalities can place on the installation of wind turbines. The District 2 Court of Appeals says state law promotes alternative energy sources such as wind energy and discourages local policies that arbitrarily limit them.
A Wisconsin appeals court on Wednesday effectively struck down numerous municipal ordinances that have slowed the development of wind energy, lawyers said. Local governments cannot pass broad rules dictating how far wind turbines must be from other buildings, how tall they can be or how much noise they can produce, the Waukesha-based District 2 Court of Appeals ruled.
The state Public Service Commission voted 3-0 Thursday to approve Wisconsin Power & Light Co.'s proposal to build a 122-turbine wind farm in Minnesota. The project still needs regulatory approval in Minnesota, but Wisconsin commissioners were asked to weigh in to evaluate whether the project was needed and cost-effective for ratepayers.
State regulators plan to vote Thursday on a Wisconsin utility's plans to build a massive wind farm in southern Minnesota. Wisconsin Power & Light Co., a subsidiary of Madison-based Alliant Energy, wants permission to start the first phase of the farm on 32,500 acres just north of Albert Lea in Freeborn County. Plans call for scores of turbines that would generate about 200 megawatts of electricity.
Wisconsin Rapids officials are working to create a policy regulating small wind-energy systems but want legislators in Madison to create a statewide law for consistency. With a planned 350,000-square-foot plant expected to produce large, industrial wind turbine blades, the city currently has no rules regulating smaller, more residential wind mills, Mayor Mary Jo Carson said.
This series of letters appearing in the Wisconsin State Journal provide important insights into how Wisconsin residents feel wind energy facilities in their communities and the State's efforts to assume authority over all siting of wind farms.
More than eight hours of public testimony mostly opposed to state guidelines for wind farm placement did little to kill bills that would limit local control of the energy developments. ...But Plale said the bills are just a start. "We're not creating an answer," he said. "We're creating a mechanism for this discussion to take place."
Several Wisconsin residents living near wind turbines or in areas where wind farms are proposed testified against the statewide wind siting bill Tuesday at the Capitol. They cited ill health effects. "Everyone here has talked about all about jobs and money," said Brownsville resident Gerry Meyer. "What about our health?"
There is no guarantee a wind farm construction boom will follow if Wisconsin establishes statewide standards for where such developments can be built. ...With resources available beyond state borders and Alliant employees testifying Wednesday the company projects diminishing opportunities for new generation, opponents could argue more wind turbines in Wisconsin are unnecessary, said Lynda Barry-Kawula, co-founder of the renewable energy group Better Plan Wisconsin.
"We can't build a 21st century energy infrastructure by digging in our heels," Senator Randy Hopper said. "This legislation will ensure that interested parties from all over our state can take part in developing the Public Service Commission's guidelines."
A New York state utility is exploring whether it is possible to put electricity-generating wind turbines in the Great Lakes, rather than inland or along the shoreline. The state-owned New York Power Authority on Wednesday began asking potential developers how they would go about constructing an offshore wind project in Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.