A Hubertus developer has submitted a formal application to build a wind farm in the Town of Sherman, nearly six months after the project was first unveiled to the public.
The application was filed with town leaders last month and made available to the public within the past week, according to town officials.
The developer, EEW Services LLC, hopes to begin construction this year on the Windy Acres Wind Farm on 400 acres east of state Highway 57, west of county Highway CC and north of county Highway A. The turbines would also connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.
EEW spokesman Jay Mundinger couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
The state’s rules place wind farm siting decisions almost entirely in the hands of the state Public Service Commission, as state wind siting rules supersede local ordinances. However, the project still requires approval by the Sherman and Holland town boards.
Sherman Town Chairman William Goehring said that the two towns are in the process of drafting a joint local wind ordinance, though it cannot be more restrictive than the state’s rules.
Following the receipt of EEW’s formal application, the two towns now have until April 1 to pass the joint measure, Goehring said.
After the local wind ordinance is passed, town leaders from Sherman and Holland will have 45 days to conduct a joint review of the developer’s application to ensure that it is complete.
Once the application is deemed complete, they’ll have another 90 days to hold a public hearing and then vote to approve or reject it.
“Our hands are still very much tied,” said Goehring, referring to the project’s approval ultimately resting with state regulators.
Town officials plan to hold public hearings each step of the way, Goehring said, though nothing has been scheduled yet.
Goehring said most of the people that he’s heard from are opposed to the project.
“The vast majority of people who’ve appeared at meetings have been against the wind project,” Goehring said.
There are 500 or so property owners within 1 mile of the proposed site, with a portion of those residents having already formed an opposition group, Sheboygan County Communities for Responsible Energy.
The project also prompted state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, to say he plans to introduce a bill that would freeze renewable energy requirements for Wisconsin utilities at 2012 levels in an effort to stop wind farm development throughout the state. Grothman’s senate district includes the area where the wind farm would be located.
The wind farm would consist of four wind turbines that together could generate up to 12 megawatts of electricity, or enough for about 4,000 average residential homes. The turbines would connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.
The project site is in WE Energies’ service territory, though the utility is not involved in the project.
Copies of the application are available for public review at the Town of Sherman Town Hall, W6566 State Hwy 144, in Random Lake, and the Town of Holland Town Hall, W3005 County Road G, in Cedar Grove.
A copy is also on file at the Lakeview Community Library, 112 Butler St., in Random Lake.
Written comments are also being accepted on the application at both town halls.
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