Friday, January 07, 2011

New rules in place for Wisconsin wind farms

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has established guidelines for locating wind farms, reports Craig D. Reber of the Telegraph Herald. The new rule could pave the way for development of Wind Capital Group's proposed White Oak wind project, on hold for two years. "We believe that passage of the PSC's rule will certainly set the conditions in place that make development of wind facilities much more possible in Wisconsin," said Tom Green, Wind Capital senior manager of project development.

Some residents of Smelser Township had reservations about having wind farms nearby and enacted a moratorium on them. they sought an 1,800-foot minimum setback requirement to minimize what they call the "noise, safety and health risks" to their families and their homes, writes Reber. Others cited concerns about falling property values because of the size and location of the towers, which are as tall as 400 feet. The commission adjusted the requirements on two issues: setback distances and compensation to neighboring residents. Municipalities must establish a setback distance on non-participating residences that is greater than 1,250 feet. Owners of non-participating residences within a half-mile of a wind turbine will be paid by the wind system owner.

Ron Brisbois, economic development director for the area, said, "This is an opportunity that not a lot of townships in Wisconsin have [but] you can't just plop down a wind farm anywhere. You have to have the wind and the substations." (Read more)

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