The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is holding public hearings about We Energies’ request to build a 10,600-acre wind turbine farm in Calumet and Marshfield.
It will hold a public hearing in Calumet Town Hall on Nov. 30.
The commission first received the application to build the Blue Sky Green Field wind farm in March. We Energies wants to build 88, 400-foot-tall wind turbines, which would generate a maximum of 203 megawatts of power.
After performing an environmental assessment of the project, commission staff on Nov. 3 decided a more extensive environmental impact statement would not be necessary. However, staff did identify some potential impacts that We Energies could soften if it becomes necessary.
Based on mortality studies of other Midwestern wind farms, the PSC and utility estimated the turbines would kill between 100 and 200 birds and 800 to 900 bats a year. The PSC said We Energies could lesson the bat casualties by stopping some turbines from rotating when wind speeds are low, studying the relation between weather events and bat deaths, and employing “acoustic-based deterrents.”
Sound and shadow are also issues. The turbines would create an ambient noise that humans could hear from 1,000 feet away.
The rotating blades would also cast a rotating shadow, or “shadow flicker,” on houses within 1,000 feet of the farm either late or early in the day when the sun is low and shadows grow taller. Land within 600 feet of the farm would experience shadow flicker about 100 hours a year, or 2.25 percent of yearly daylight. Land 1,000 feet away would experience about 25 hours of shadow flicker a year.
A final concern is a private airport less than a half mile away from the farm. We Energies might have to relocate one turbine that would stand roughly 3,000 feet away the runway.
By Sean Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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