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Supreme Court to review state decision on out-of-state wind farm

Keeping a case filed by utility customers alive, the state Supreme Court will review the state’s process for approving energy projects proposed to be built in other states.

The court decided to accept the case involving a wind farm Alliant Energy Corp. built in Minnesota to help it meet its requirements under the Wisconsin renewable portfolio standard.

The Madison utility argued, and the Public Service Commission agreed, that the extensive siting approval process required of in-state energy projects shouldn’t apply to the Bent Tree Wind Farm in Freborn County, Minn.

But two utility customer groups – representing residential customers and large factories – sued. They contend the PSC decision in the wind farm case set a bad precedent for the state in the event utilities seek to build other out-of-state power plants.

The customer groups lost at the circuit court level, but appealed. An appeals court last month asked the Supreme Court to take the case.

“It appears to us that the supreme court should resolve the legal issue to avoid delays and legal battles over the next large out-of-state project,” a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.