GREEN BAY – Future wind developments in the state will soon have a clear set of rules and regulations.
“Probably the most discussed items were setbacks, noise mitigation, and shadow mitigation,” said Jenny Heinzen, a member of the state’s wind siting advisory council.
Though, some believe the rules will put people in harms way.
“I was completely appalled because I’ve seen the evidence,” said Jim Vanden Boogart, who lives in the town of Morrison.
It all comes down to how close massive wind turbines should be to nearby homes. A special wind siting advisory council convened by the state Public Service Commission is recommending performance-based standards instead of a set distance.
“We dealt strictly with issues of noise and shadows. So really it would be up to the people or the company putting up the wind turbines to make sure that it wouldn’t go beyond 50 decibels during the day or 45 decibels at night, for example,” said Heinzen.
Heinzen said uniform state guidelines are needed because a patchwork of local laws have created too much confusion and controversy.
“Many projects were being delayed or forgotten altogether,” said Heinzen.
Though many people are upset with the siting council’s recommendations. They say the proposals would still allow wind turbines to be built too close to homes.
“The real issue is the sound. In order to get the sound down to even 5 to 10 decibels over ambient, we need a greater distance for that,” said Vanden Boogart, who volunteers with Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy. The group is made up of more than 200 people who are against a proposed 100 wind turbine development in southern Brown County.
Vanden Boogart said the concerns of residents are being ignored.
“I believe the economic interests and the goals for renewable energy in the state are being put in front of people’s health,” said Vanden Boogart.
The wind siting advisory council’s recommendations now go to the Public Service Commission for review. Ultimately, it is the PSC that will submit an official rules proposal to state lawmakers. That is expected to happen by the end of August.
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