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Residents learn about wind turbine proposal  

EVANSVILLE – A proposal to erect three wind turbines in Union Township drew people from near and far to an open house Monday night.

Many had no direct stake in the Evansville/Wisconsin Public Power project. They just wanted to learn about renewable energy.

Officials from Rock County and neighboring townships attended on a fact-finding mission.

People at EcoEnergy’s open house at J.C. McKenna Middle School saw maps of the township where wind turbines could be sited based on open land more than 1,000 feet from homes and projected wind speeds based on a test wind tower gathering data in Magnolia Township.

The most favorable wind areas of the town are west of Evansville near County C between Highway 104 and Pleasant Prairie Road, where wind speed ranges from 15 to 16.2 mph, according to the maps.

No specific sites for turbines have been chosen and no contracts have been signed, said Curt Bjurlin, EcoEnergy Wisconsin project developer.

The 4.5-megawatt project proposes putting up three turbines for the Evansville municipal water and light utility.

The power generated would be sold to Wisconsin Public Power, a regional power company serving 49 customer-owned electric utilities, including Evansville. The three turbines would produce an estimated 12 million kilowatt hours annually. It’s estimated the three turbines would supply about 18 percent of Evansville’s load.

Rock County Board Chairman Richard Ott wanted to learn about the proposals, and said they need to be approached delicately.

He said he supports the wind turbines as a form of clean, renewable energy.

“As far as visual pollution, it’s in the eyes of the beholders,” he said.

He wondered how much money the county, town and landowners would receive.

EcoEnergy has committed to pay shared revenue for all its projects, regardless of size, Bjurlin said. That means for each 1.5 MW turbine, Rock County would receive about $4,000 and the town of Union would receive about $2,000 annually, he said.

EcoEnergy officials said contracts with landowners are confidential and declined to say how much they would receive. Company officials previously have said they would pay in the ballpark of the industry standard—$4,200 to $4,500 annually for each turbine.

Town of Union Plan Commission Chairman Alvin Francis is one landowner who has been offered an EcoEnergy contract to host one turbine at either of two possible locations.

“I don’t want to put it in if it’s as dangerous as the (Town of Union Wind) Study Committee says,” he said, referring to a committee that will present its findings at a plan commission meeting Thursday night.

But he said he didn’t hear any major concerns after talking with farmers who have turbines on their property.

By Gina Duwe

GazetteXtra

29 January 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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