The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved construction of a 133-turbine wind farm on more than 32,000 acres near the Horicon Marsh.
The PSC said Friday that the decision gives the go-ahead for the largest clean energy project ever in Wisconsin. The 200-megawatt wind farm, the state’s largest, is being developed by Forward Energy, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Invenergy Wind L.L.C.
Under the decision, the PSC stipulates that none of the turbines must be within two miles of the Horicon Marsh to protect the wildlife.
On average, turbines will be 4 miles to 4.5 miles away from the marsh, the agency said. In addition, the PSC requires Forward Energy to vigorously pursue post construction studies to learn more about impacts on birds and bats in the area.
“The Horicon Marsh is a national treasure,” PSC chairman Dan Ebert said in a statement. “The possible impacts on birds due to the wind project’s proximity to the Horicon Marsh required a larger buffer zone between the wind turbines and the marsh, as proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Natural Resources.”
The wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 72,000 households, Ebert said. Electricity will be sold to state utilities under purchase power agreements with Alliant Energy Cop, Madison; Madison Gas & Electric Co., Madison; Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Green Bay, and 40 municipal utilities through Wisconsin Public Power Inc., Sun Prairie.
The Forward Energy wind farm will be located predominately on farmland near Brownsville, within the towns of Byron, LeRoy, Lomira and Oakfield in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties.
The new wind farm will expand wind power capacity in the state four-fold. Wisconsin now has nearly 53 megawatts of wind power capacity.
The PSC will issue a written order at a later date.
11 July 2005
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