Wisconsin senators did a huge favor to the wind-power industry as they walked out the door yesterday. They guaranteed that the Legislature would end its two-year session without passing new rules to put further restrictions on where wind turbines can be located. And that means the old rules imposed in 2010 by the state Public Service Commission automatically go into effect.
Dan Rustowicz calls the Senate’s lack of action a great victory for wind power in Wisconsin. He’s with a company that’s building a large wind farm in Buffalo County – and he said the industry needs a good, stable regulatory environment. Now, Rustowicz predicts that you’ll see more wind projects moving forward. Republicans suspended the P-S-C’s rules soon after they took control of the Legislature last year. That was after Governor Scott Walker brokered a deal with Realtors to impose tougher restrictions, siding with homeowners who say nearby wind turbines create too much noise and shadow-flickers. But the wind energy industry said Walker’s stand went against his “Open for Business” mantra and his efforts to create jobs.
Lawmakers never acted on the restrictions, and talks toward a compromise failed. Senate Republican Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa said she was disappointed her party didn’t act. She said lawmakers would probably try again next year, but Michael Vickerman of Renew Wisconsin does not think that will happen.