Residents showed a healthy skepticism Monday at a public meeting on a proposed wind-turbine project.
The town’s community center on Dickinson Road drew a standing-room only crowd to discuss the eight-turbine proposal by Emerging Energies/Shirley Wind, LLC of Hubertus.
The company wants a 30-year permit to put eight turbines on land owned by four families.
Each turbine would stand 492 feet tall and operate at an optimal 2 to 3 megawatts, Emerging Energies spokesman Bill Rakocy told those attending.
The turbines would conform to the town’s new wind energy ordinance. Licensed electrical engineers would oversee installation.
Residents expressed concerns about decreasing property values, stray voltage affecting children and animals, noise pollution, liability and what would happen if Emerging Energies should abandon the turbines if the project proved unfruitful.
“This isn’t a scary new science fiction technology,” Emerging Energies’ attorney Ed Ritger said. He said wind power is an established source of energy production that averts oil-importing and energy-consuming transportation of coal.
“In situations like these, people hear a lot of “˜trust me’s’ from the wind turbine individuals, and residents take a lot on trust, when they have everything to lose,” said Two Creeks resident Jeff Roberts, referring to a wind turbine project in Kewaunee County.
Glenmore would receive $1 million over 30 years, the four property owners involved would stand to gain hundreds of thousands in rent over 30 years, and the town would benefit from the increased tax base, say the developers.
But resident Lyle Thiem wonders how the town’s tax base could rise if houses were to go down in value.
“I don’t even think we’d break even,” Thiem said. “The “˜increased tax base’ is a joke.”
Rakocy said the turbines would be 13 feet wide in diameter and smooth, to discourage climbing on them. They’d be locked but with a door for service personnel to access.
Underground casings similar to culverts would measure six feet in width, said Tim Osterberg of Emerging Energies.
Residents wanted to know if they as a town would be responsible for the turbines if the company ceased operation and what would happen to the metal and concrete underground casings. Ritger said the value of the materials in the turbines alone – copper, steel and concrete – would more than pay for their removal if necessary.
Residents also wanted to know why they weren’t informed of the project earlier – most found out less than a month ago.
Resident Jeff Jens submitted a petition to the board signed by 106 residents asking for a three-month delay while an environmental impact and health study can be done.
“I think three months is reasonable when you consider the life of the project is 30 years,” resident Diana Matzke said.
By Lee Reinsch
27 February 2007
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