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In reversal, PSC agrees to take second look at $250 million wind farm

A developer’s plan to build a $250 million wind farm in western Wisconsin isn’t dead after all.

The state Public Service Commission on Thursday voted to approve developer Emerging Energies’ request for a rehearing, given new evidence the company submitted to show it can comply with Wisconsin’s wind turbine noise rules.

The PSC’s vote was 2-to-1. Phil Montgomery, the PSC chairman who had initially voted to reject the project, agreed to grant the request. He was supported by commissioner Eric Callisto and opposed by commissioner Ellen Nowak.

In a filing last month, Emerging Energies said it was providing new information demonstrating that it could comply with a 45-decibel noise standard at night for nearby homes.

The PSC previously voted to deny a construction permit for the wind farm, and then rejected an emergency request to allow Emerging Energies to demonstrate it could build a wind farm that complies with the state noise standard.

Nighttime curtailment of wind turbines for affected homeowners can be done to comply with the commission’s noise limit, said Tim Osterberg, one of the principals involved with developer.

Emerging Energies’ new analysis concluded that, depending on the turbine used, the overall electricity production from the project would be reduced by 1.6% or 4.5%, but that the restriction “will not negatively impact the project to a degree that makes the project uneconomic,” Osterberg said.