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Firm eyes Grant County for wind turbine energy facility

A Minneapolis firm is eyeing the Grant County townships of Clifton and Wingville to build a 19-wind turbine energy facility, according to a document it filed with the Public Service Commission.

In a pre-application notice the PSC published recently, Westwood Professional Services stated that its plans for the 100-megawatt wind farm include an electrical substation, a permanent meteorological tower and possibly an operations and maintenance building, in addition to the turbines, of which some would be 600 feet tall.

Whitetail Wind, LLC, an affiliate of PRC Wind, is the developer and manager of the project. PRC Wind is a Minnesota company that has developed renewable energy projects throughout the Midwest since 1997, according to the company.

In deciding to build a wind farm in Grant County, PRC deemed it a “favorable wind resource,” which had “landowner support and “low environmental impact” and access to transmission lines, Jay Regnier, vice president of projects, wrote in an emailed response to a reporter’s questions.

This would be the first energy facility it would build in Wisconsin, Regnier wrote.

The company hasn’t filed a formal construction application with the PSC, and Regnier gave no indication of when that would occur but wrote that it plans to have the wind farm in service by the end of 2021 or in 2022.

The project would need several types of permits and approvals from federal, state and local governments.

Town of Clifton Clerk Shelly Osterndorff said PRC first contacted the town about the project at least a year ago. Since then, it has installed a few test towers to monitor wind speed and has been permitted to install cables in some road rights-of-way, she said.

“I’m not sure of the farms that would be getting the turbines … I haven’t heard too much reaction (from residents). There’s not a lot of public participation in our meetings,” she said this week.

Twenty wind turbines have lined U.S. 18 just east of Montfort beginning in 2001, so area residents are well aware of their presence, Osterndorff said.

“I’d prefer a wind farm to a transmission line,” she said.

A call to town chair Steve Barth wasn’t returned by deadline.

Efforts to reach Kevin Bickford, chair of the town of Wingville, and Marlys Hemich, town clerk, were unsuccessful this week.

Osterndorff said PRC has called the part of the wind farm that would be located in the town of Clifton the Whitetail Wind Farm, and is referring to the portion that would be in the town of Wingville as the Red Barn Windfarm.

A map of the proposed facility filed with the PSC indicates the project would extend east from the Grant-Iowa county line and south from CTH B (Ebenezer Road) to nearly CTH A, excluding the village of Livingston. A portion of the project boundary would extend west to CTH D.

Sixteen of the turbine sites are designated south of CTH E. The substation would be built on the south side of Ebenzer Road, according to the notice filed with the PSC, where it would intersect with the approved but unbuilt Hickory Creek-Cardinal transmission line.