- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Town Board allows projects despite moratorium

The Glenmore Town Board on Monday unanimously approved a five-year renewal for two wind turbines operated by Wisconsin Public Service, asking officials to double-check their braking system based on a neighbor’s assertions of “annoying” levels of noise coming from the turbines.

The board also changed wording on its April 2 moratorium on new wind energy systems so that projects applied for before the moratorium but not yet approved could proceed.

That clears the way for Suamico-based Prelude LLC to proceed with its multi-turbine project.

The board Monday asked WPS to check on the braking process of the turbines to clear up any noise questions from neighbors, but WPS representatives said the problem came from “vortex generators on the blades themselves” and not from the two-stage braking process.

“It makes a real annoying whistling sound when it’s idle,” said Jim Sausen, neighbor to both towers. “It makes sitting outside on a quiet evening unpleasant. It makes the noise even when the flag isn’t moving and the leaves aren’t rustling.”

WPS engineer Ray Janssen said the amount of time the noise occurs is “minimal” but said officials would check on the braking system anyway.

WPS built the two 600-kilowatt turbines in February 1998 on Shirley Road, a quarter-mile east of Morrison Road, in the town of Glenmore at a cost of $2.1 million.

It was intended to provide enough renewable electricity to serve about 450 average Wisconsin homes per year. Last fall, one of the two turbines stopped working for several months and needed hard-to-find parts. New parts were found for it recently and it’s now working.

On March 26, the Glenmore Town Board gave the go-ahead to Hubertus-based Emerging Energies/Shirley Wind LLC for eight turbines on land owned by four families. The board slated a special public meeting for 7:30 p.m. Thursday with Emerging Energies to make changes to the more-than two dozen conditions placed on its permit.

On April 2, the Town Board enacted a six-month moratorium on “new wind energy system approvals” so the town could study safety and tweak its 5-month-old wind ordinance. That moratorium states that only “projects approved by the Town Board prior to inception of this ordinance” may proceed.

The board Monday changed the wording to “applications received but not currently approved.”

By Lee Reinsch