The Morrison Town Board has reviewed a draft ordinance on regulating wind farms and sent it back to the town’s Planning Commission to have certain areas firmed up.
Town Chairman Todd Christensen said he wants to be sure companies proposing several large wind turbines have the financial resources needed to build them correctly.
“I think we need to know that if someone starts this they can complete it,” Christensen said.
He also said he wants to be able to identify the people involved in a wind energy company and determine their track record in previous ventures.
“It is too easy (for someone) to hide behind a corporation,” Christensen said.
Town Assessor Mike Denor said he wants to be sure the town or private landowners don’t get stuck with the cost of demolishing the high-tech windmills if a wind energy firm goes out of business.
The draft ordinance called for wind energy companies to have an irrevocable letter of credit, bond or cash in escrow to cover the cost of taking down abandoned wind towers in the future.
Denor said he favored requiring cash in escrow only and Christensen agreed, questioning the value of a letter of a credit if a wind energy company was bankrupt.
Stiffening the ordinance’s requirements that a wind energy company be required to keep windmills in operating condition also was a concern raised by Christensen.
Christensen said he learned that some wind farms in California have up to 40 percent of their windmills in disrepair, including some where blades had fallen off the windmills and where the windmills were not repaired but were just left idle.
Supervisor Bruce Krahn also questioned the draft ordinance’s setback clause, saying it should apply to all buildings, not just those in which people live or work.
By Ed Byrne
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
10 April 2007
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