Glenmore residents will soon see eight more wind turbines in their country landscape.
The three-member Town Board Monday night unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for Emerging Energies/Shirley Wind, LLC of Hubertus to put eight 2.75-megawatt, 492-foot turbines on land owned by four families.
The decision didn’t please local resident Jim Sausen.
“This is a nice town, but it’s turning into a wasteland, between all the TV towers and now windmills,” said Sausen, who already sees two decade-old Wisconsin Public Service turbines from his house.
But Ed Ritger, attorney for the wind company, indicated that getting modern turbines up and visible will help improve their public image.
“My clients are anxious to get something built that will prove the naysayers wrong and give confidence to the American public and, in this case, the Brown County public,” Ritger said.
The board and wind company haggled on points for almost four hours on points such as what kind of insurance should cover the turbines and whether the town could legally require the company’s officials to “personally guarantee” the company won’t go bankrupt. This is the company’s first wind-turbine project.
Emerging Energies offered to put a much larger security deposit up front for its project – more than tripling the required $6,000 per turbine to $20,000 per turbine – even though the board earlier in the evening voted to scrap the request for a higher amount.
The security deposit – called a removal bond – gives the town some leverage in the event the project fails and the turbines need to be taken out.
Other conditions Emerging Energies agreed to include opening safety and maintenance records to the public, having a third-party engineer review design and installation plans, developing a policy on handling complaints, vowing to investigate legitimate complaints and paying for a health and safety study to be done.
The company refused to agree to the town’s request to let the public know how much energy the wind-turbine makes and to not transfer the conditional-use permit to others, including potential buyers or family heirs.
Sausen and fellow resident Marv Ashley said they felt the board made too many concessions and didn’t fight hard enough.
“Basically whatever they (Emerging Energies) proposed, they agreed to,” Ashley said.
By Lee Reinsch
27 March 2007
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