I attended the Lincoln County Commissioners meeting recently in Canton. As a resident of Bon Homme County, I have witnessed the boondoggle called the Beethoven Wind Project built in 2013-2014. This project lay on the shelf for years until the end of 2012, when the production tax credit was revived, and the taxpayer money was there to make money for the developers and investors. Because of the PURPA law, Northwestern Energy was forced to buy the electricity. The turbines weren’t even turning yet when Northwestern applied for a $26.5 million rate hike and the PUC gave them $20.9 million annually. Now Northwestern customers are paying for the wind project. Economic development was another disappointment as there was none.
The Tripp Delmont School District (who receives nearly all of the so-called local tax benefits), has been in the news recently because they can’t survive and will consolidate or dissolve. So, as we pull our shades every night to block out the red blinking lights, the developers move on to Canton, with their little stickers that say “I love wind energy.” They should read “I love taxpayer subsidies,” which is what wind turbines really run on. The commissioners of Lincoln County have a responsibility to protect their residents with proper setbacks; they have no responsibility to any Industrial Wind Project developer. There is no reversing a wind project once it is built.
Gregg Hubner, Avon
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