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PSC sets new rules for windmill sites  

Credit:  By Tony Walter, Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com 31 August 2010 ~~

Wind turbine siting rules approved Monday by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission likely will have little impact on a Chicago-based company’s attempts to build a 100-turbine wind farm in southern Brown County.

The PSC established guidelines for local governments to set restrictions on projects less than 100 megawatts in generating capacity.

However, the Ledge Wind project proposed by Invenergy LLC in the towns of Morrison, Holland, Glenmore and Wrightstown would exceed 100 megawatts. The company submitted its application to the PSC last year but was told to make some changes.

Invenergy officials have said they would wait for the new siting rules before resubmitting their application because they believed the rules might affect their project. Kevin Parzyck, project manager for the Ledge Wind farm, was not available for comment Monday.

The new rules could affect other wind turbine expansion in Brown County.

The rules require wind energy system owners to give 90 days notice about the filing of their turbine proposal to landowners within 1 mile of a proposed location.

The rules would also allow local governments to limit wind farms to not be louder than 45 decibels during nighttime hours and 50 decibels during daytime hours. Normal conversation and background radio noise is rated at 45 decibels. The noise limits will be measured from the outside wall of nonparticipating residences and occupied community buildings.

The rules also let local governments require wind energy system owners to provide monetary compensation to landowners who won’t have turbines on their property but are located within one-half mile of a site. Local officials may not require these payments for nonparticipating landowners to exceed 25 percent of the payments being made to a landowner hosting a wind turbine in the project.

Although the wind farm proposal for southern Brown County wouldn’t be affected by the new rules, Invenergy expects to resubmit its application soon. Invenergy’s efforts to build the wind farm are being opposed by a citizen’s group, Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy, that claims Invenergy’s plan poses a health risk to property owners nearby.

A representative from the group could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The Wisconsin Legislature enacted a law in 2009 that directed the PSC to come up with rules to guide local municipalities in their control projects less than 100 megawatts. A Wind Siting Council was appointed to draft the rules, which the PSC approved on Monday.

The Legislature can send the issue back to the PSC for changes or it can accept the commission’s decision by taking no action.

Source:  By Tony Walter, Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com 31 August 2010

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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