State regulators have voted in favor of a $250 million wind farm project in the St. Croix County Town of Forest – almost 6 years after town board members signed a resolution to proceed with the project, and 3 years after the state Public Service Commission initially approved the project.
Signs opposing the construction of wind turbines in the town of Forest dotted the landscape around the town a couple of years ago.
Barring any future litigation, developers for Highland Wind Farm hope to break ground for the project this year in December.
The Public Service Commission approved the Highland wind farm in 2013, but a St. Croix County judge ruled the commission improperly imposed noise restrictions on the farm’s turbines. That included recent reports by the state’s wind-siting council as well as peer-reviewed studies and articles submitted by both Clean Wisconsin, which supports the project, and the Town of Forest, which has opposed it.
The town of Forest had wanted the PSC to hold a new round of hearings on the project to take evidence on what types of noise restrictions should be placed on homes near turbines.
Meanwhile, Dairyland Power Cooperative, based in La Crosse, said it has contracted to buy electricity from the planned Quilt Block Wind Farm, a 98-megawatt wind farm with 49 turbines that will be installed in Lafayette County, 20 miles southeast of Platteville.
Nowak originally opposed the project but noted that the circuit court decision upheld the PSC permit in many respects. “We have had the best interests at heart of all the stakeholders for a very long time”.
“Town residents and the community will see near-immediate economic benefits in the form of land-use payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars annually”, said Rakocy.
Rakocy said smaller turbines have “never been a viable option”.
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