BROWNSVILLE – Invenergy Wind LLC plans to have 86 turbines operating by May at the $250 million Forward Wind Energy Center.
Mick Baird, project manager for the Chicago-based firm, said General Electric has started commissioning and testing 34 turbines throughout the 50-square-mile project area in northern Dodge and southern Fond du Lac counties.
“We look forward to getting to the next step and providing renewable power to four state utilities,” he said.
Those companies – Wisconsin Power & Light Co. of Madison, Madison Gas & Electric Co. of Madison, Wisconsin Public Power Inc. of Sun Prairie and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. of Green Bay – have purchased a combined 129 megawatts of electricity.
Baird said each of the 86 turbines will provide enough power for about 350 to 500 homes.
But Joe Breaden, president of Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates, a group opposing the wind farm project because they say it would lead to thousands of bird kills, questioned the figures.
“Are these guys on crack?” he said. “Those statistics could only happen if these things are 100 percent efficient and the wind blows 24/7 at a very usable speed.”
Baird said the remaining 47 wind turbines will become operational later, but Breaden argued that the timetable keeps changing.
“It’s one lie after another,” he said. “They said this wind factory was supposed to have already been in operation two years ago.”
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on July 14, 2005, issued a Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity for the Forward Wind Energy Center that would allow up to 133 wind turbines to be built in the Brownsville area.
“Right now our focus is on construction and completing this (the 86 turbines) in a timely manner for our power purchasers and then we’ll look at future phases,” Baird said.
Since October, truckloads of massive equipment – most of it from the Port of Menomonee – have arrived daily and three cranes have erected the 389-foot high turbines with a 250-foot blade sweep throughout the site.
“They’re hideous,” Breaden said. “They remind me of ‘The War of the Worlds.’ They’re alien. They don’t belong here and anybody who doesn’t see that has dollar signs in their eyes.”
By Brian Paynter
14 January 2008
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