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June 8, 2009 Wi Windpower opportunities blowing away
State's wind-power opportunities blowing away
By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Jun. 7, 2009
Wisconsin's path to a greener energy future is anything but a breeze.
Optimism abounds that the wind power sector will create jobs and help
reduce the state's emissions of greenhouse gases. Gov. Jim Doyle's
global warming task force has recommended the state move toward
getting 25% of its electricity from wind power by 2025.
And several reports are touting the promise of job creation and
emissions reduction from tapping more renewable energy and energy
A report being released Monday by the Chicago Council on Global
Affairs concludes that the Midwestern economy can capitalize on its
wind resource and expertise in areas such as vehicle technology and
energy efficiency if the United States passes limits on greenhouse gas
Despite the region's heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants - a key
source of carbon dioxide emissions - the report says: "The Midwest has
too much at stake to remain inactive. Preserving the past is no longer
an option. There is much the region can do to prepare for a
carbon-constrained future and begin turning those challenges to its
Another report last week from the conservation group Wisconsin
Environment reached a similar conclusion, calling on Wisconsin to
follow the lead of neighboring states and seek to get 25% of power
from renewable sources by 2025.
In 2008, Wisconsin witnessed both the windfall of economic promise and
blowback, as the growing wind industry experienced growing pains.
By many accounts it was a banner year for the state. Record
development of wind power took place, with the opening of four large
wind-power projects by companies including We Energies, Invenergy and
Wisconsin Power & Light Co.
Eight times as much wind power is being generated today as there was a
little more than a year ago. But electricity from the wind still
accounts for only about 5% of the state's power supply.
Hurdles to growth have been many, including:
• Stalled projects. More than a dozen wind projects around the
state have been slowed by local opposition, wind industry advocates
Wisconsin has faced more challenges from local opponents in part
because the windy parts of the state - such as the Fox River Valley -
are more densely populated than southwestern Minnesota and Iowa, where
the Great Plains winds are sending a gust of investment in new wind
projects. During a public hearing last month, homeowners upset about
wind-power projects testified in Madison about problems caused by
Curt Kindschuh of Brownsville said people who have been impacted by
noise and other problems living close to wind turbines "have lost
their faith not only in local government, but our state government as
well. There are many people that have been affected negatively by the
improper siting of wind turbines in the area. The PSC dropped the ball
by approving turbines 1,000 feet from people's homes."
But wind developers say local ordinances around the state are blocking
hundreds of megawatts of projects from being built, sending investment
to other states. Several wind companies based in Wisconsin are now
working on projects exclusively out of state because of restrictive
local ordinances that at times require setbacks of a mile or more from
a wind turbine.
"That just outlaws windmills. That's what it does," said Rep. Jim
Soletski (D-Green Bay), head of the state Assembly Energy and
The state won't come close to meeting its renewable energy targets if
the current system isn't changed, Soletski said. He and state Sen.
Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) are lead sponsors of a bill to set up
uniform siting standards for all wind farms that would be built in the
"The last project that was approved by local government happened in
March 2007. We've gone through more than two years without approval of
a local project," said Michael Vickerman, executive director of the
renewable-energy advocacy group Renew Wisconsin.
In response to concerns raised at last month's nine-hour public
hearing, Soletski said several changes to the bill may be made before
it is adopted.
• Transportation difficulties. Permitting hurdles with the state
Department of Transportation have slowed the transport of oversize
wind components across the state.
That contributed to a sharp drop in wind-power components being
shipped to the Port of Milwaukee last year, said Betty Nowak, the port
Nowak spent three days in Chicago at the American Wind Energy
Association's conference trying to convince wind-turbine makers that
the state was "open for business" again.
The permitting issues have been addressed, said Zach Brandon,
executive assistant at the state Department of Commerce. In letters to
the wind industry in recent months, state officials have outlined a
series of changes designed to streamline the process for moving big
components on state roads.
• Budget cuts. Even as the state is trying to restore its
standing with wind developers, the state is cutting back on funding
for renewable energy.
In Wisconsin Rapids, Energy Composites Inc. is looking to expand into
a new factory to make wind-turbine blades. The company received a $1
million community development block grant loan via the Wisconsin
Energy Independence Fund.
But applications for grants from that fund are now on hold, the
department said, after the Joint Finance Committee shifted $14.85
million from the energy fund to the general fund as part of the
state's budget deliberations.
The state hopes to tap federal stimulus funding to replenish the
energy fund, Commerce Department spokesman Tony Hozeny said.
• Competition from other states. The state has lagged behind
other states in marketing itself to the wind industry.
Wisconsin has been bypassed by international manufacturers of turbines
and blades that have been opening factories in the United States in
recent years. Major plants have opened in Colorado, Iowa and
State officials say they're working hard to try to change that
perception and to address concerns raised by the wind power industry.
Doyle attended the wind industry's annual conference in Chicago and
spoke at a wind power supply-chain conference this year.
The Commerce Department is trying to build on a network of companies
already in the business of providing components for the wind industry.
The goal: to tap into Wisconsin's history of being a supply-chain
state - whether for components used in farm machinery or automobiles -
and re-tool it to make wind-power components.
The American Wind Energy Association estimates there are at least
8,000 components in a wind turbine. That creates a lot of room for
suppliers to get into the act, given a desire by the industry to have
fewer components imported.
Brandon, of the Commerce Department, said the state hopes to tailor a
portion of the state energy grants from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act toward companies looking to expand or locate in the
state to produce wind-power components.
The state, Brandon said, is seeking to move beyond addressing problems
that the wind industry has raised to making Wisconsin a welcome home
for component-makers looking to ramp up for growth in the wind sector
that's expected across the upper Midwest.
Making up ground
The state may have started slow, but it's making up ground as it
competes against other states for an industry that clearly has big
growth prospects, Brandon said.
"We're making it up at the right time," he said. "We're going to make
sure we're tailoring our incentive dollars to these industries. That
allows us to brush off the concerns of the past."
But a lot needs to be done, renewable energy advocates say.
Said Vickerman, of Renew Wisconsin: "I don't see much likelihood of
utilities or developers hanging around Wisconsin in a couple years, if
we don't put our permitting house in order."
May 2, 2017 Campbellsport Library Summer HoursMay 2, 2017 Campbellsport Village Wide Rummage SaleMay 2, 2017 Campbellsport Public Library Used Book SaleApril 27, 2017 Town of Ashford Meeting NoticeApril 19, 2017 Town of Ashford Planning Committee Meeting NoticeApril 19, 2017 Town of Ashford Zoning Board Meeting NoticeApril 13, 2017 2017-2018 TOWN OF ASHFORD LIQUOR APPLICATIONSApril 11, 2017 NOTICE OF MEETING OF BOARD OF REVIEW FOR THE TOWN OF ASHFORDApril 11, 2017 Town of Ashford Open BookApril 11, 2017 Fond du Lac County Office Closing at Noon April 14thMarch 30, 2017 Town of Ashford Meeting NoticeMarch 29, 2017 Wisconsin's Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness WeekMarch 28, 2017 The ultimate birder adventure - head to Horicon Marsh May 12-15 for the 20th annual Bird FestivalMarch 7, 2017 Reminder: Wisconsin Statewide Spring Election is April 4, 2017March 7, 2017 DNR Public Information: Spring snowmelt and rain can contaminate wellsMarch 6, 2017 Krueger Family BenefitMarch 2, 2017 Free Property Monitoring Service Now AvailableMarch 2, 2017 Town of Ashford Meeting NoticeFebruary 20, 2017 Free Showing of Movies at the Campbellsport Public LibraryFebruary 20, 2017 Reminder: Town of Ashford Planning Committee and Zoning Board Meetings on February 20, 2017 at 7 pm February 20, 2017 ATV Use on Eisenbahn TrailFebruary 3, 2017 Notice of Public TestFebruary 3, 2017 Town of Ashford Meeting NoticeJanuary 25, 2017 Town of Ashford Notice of Zoning Board MeetingJanuary 25, 2017 Property Tax Payments Due January 31stJanuary 24, 2017 Town of Ashford Notice of Planning Committee MeetingJanuary 4, 2017 Campbellsport Public Library Puzzle ExchangeJanuary 4, 2017 New Year, new chance to win! 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balks at voter IDOctober 13, 2009 SUBMIT AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISE AREA PETITIONS October 12, 2009 Judge backs Wisconsin law aimed at managed forest landsOctober 11, 2009 Utility fee to pay for district attorneys around stateOctober 9, 2009 AGRICULTURAL CENSUS INFORMATION NOW AVAILABLE October 8, 2009 Governor Doyle Announces $300,000 Grant for Wisconsin Counties AssociationOctober 7, 2009 Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors Meeting NoticeOctober 7, 2009 NOTICE OF PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING FOR TOWN OF ASHFORD, FOND DU LAC COUNTYOctober 6, 2009 Town of Ashford Meeting NoticeOctober 6, 2009 Appeals Court to consider whether local governments have authority to protect water quality from large livestock facilitiesOctober 1, 2009 MATC, Johnson Controls to build state's largest solar power projectSeptember 30, 2009 Governor Doyle Signs Bill Strengthening Wisconsin’s Wind IndustrySeptember 30, 2009 Governor signs wind farm siting billSeptember 28, 2009 County Board of Supervisors MeetingSeptember 23, 2009 Assembly panel wants DNR to reconsider shoreline rezoningSeptember 23, 2009 New Fond du Lac County Treasurer SoughtSeptember 23, 2009 State Assembly passes bill making DNR secretary appointed by board, not governorSeptember 22, 2009 ASSEMBLY ADVANCES ELECTRONICS RECYCLING BILLSeptember 21, 2009 715 and 920 area code changes mean 10 digit dialing starting Oct. 17September 15, 2009 Fond du Lac County Air Quality Tip of the Month: Turn off the lights and breath easierSeptember 11, 2009 Critics say wind turbines hurt land valuesSeptember 9, 2009 Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation's Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Mercury Marine Incentive PackageSeptember 1, 2009 New Wisconsin phone fee starts todayAugust 27, 2009 Fall harvest weight limitsAugust 26, 2009 Stewardship FUnd purchaseAugust 24, 2009 Calumet County awaits wind turbine energy rulingAugust 23, 2009 Governor Doyle Announces Stewardship FundAugust 23, 2009 Towns slowly embrace Internet as means of communicationAugust 18, 2009 FDL County Healthy Air Tip of the Month - Let the "check engine" light work for youAugust 13, 2009 DNR proposes new water screeningAugust 12, 2009 CONFIRMATION OF EMERALD ASH BORER IN KENOSHA COUNTYAugust 11, 2009 Government Accountability Board report finds public opposes early voting proposalAugust 10, 2009 State requires bldg contractors to registerAugust 10, 2009 Study of voting changes endorsedAugust 6, 2009 USDA: Value of farm real estate in Wis. dipsAugust 5, 2009 State officials ask for patience over voter checksAugust 4, 2009 Wind Siting Reform Gains Strong Bipartisan Vote in CommitteeAugust 3, 2009 Agriculture contribution to economy studyAugust 2, 2009 Wisconsin works to verify voter informationJuly 28, 2009 Voting by mail must precede phone, Internet options, state saysJuly 27, 2009 Governor Doyle Announces $1 Million to Help Prevent Water PollutionJuly 24, 2009 Many Wisconsin workers will get raise today when federal minimum wage goes upJuly 24, 2009 New phone fees start in SeptemberJuly 24, 2009 Five-Year Election Plan to Be Reviewed July 22, 2009 Rosendale Dairy expands despite low milk pricesJuly 21, 2009 Emerald ash borer contained to two areas - for nowJuly 17, 2009 Emerald Ash Borer MonitoringJuly 15, 2009 Fond du Lac County Air Quality Tip for JulyJuly 13, 2009 Wisconsin's minimum wage to rise 75 cents next weekJuly 13, 2009 State towns make the grade as most livableJuly 10, 2009 Governor Doyle Signs Bill to Protect Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Also Awards Grant Providing Further Protections to Totogatic RiverJuly 9, 2009 NEW WEBSITE SHOWS WHERE LIVESTOCK SITING PERMITS ARE REQUIREDJuly 8, 2009 Governor Jim Doyle today signed into law SB 126 and SB 216 at the State Capitol in MadisonJuly 7, 2009 Video On Living With Wind TurbinesJune 24, 2009 American TV launches electronics recycling program June 24, 2009 Resources board approves shoreline regulation changesJune 23, 2009 Fond du Lac County Airport Terminal Open House/DedicationJune 23, 2009 Ag land assessment 'loophole'June 23, 2009 DNR spends nearly $9 million to preserve landJune 23, 2009 Changes to Wisconsin voting ???June 22, 2009 New park-and-ride lot planned north of OshkoshJune 22, 2009 FDL County Air Alert for Tuesday June 23, 2009June 22, 2009 State Budget Work To ResumeJune 22, 2009 FCEDC receives $437,899 grant to help grow regional economyJune 19, 2009 Dept of Employee Trust Funds. 2010 Rate increaseJune 19, 2009 Doyle signs three billsJune 18, 2009 Budget changes proposedJune 18, 2009 AB 256 Wind Siting passes AssemblyJune 17, 2009 McNeilus Steel, Inc. breaks ground on new facilityJune 17, 2009 Wisconsin Reports Record Export GrowthJune 17, 2009 Fond du Lac County Business Development NewsJune 17, 2009 Sign Up To Receive Air Alerts for Fond du Lac CountyJune 12, 2009 State Budget Bill AB75 Update; June 12June 10, 2009 DNR Proposal to change Shoreline RegsJune 9, 2009 Governor signs 3 bills into lawJune 8, 2009 Wi Windpower opportunities blowing awayJune 8, 2009 Proposed legislation re public land useJune 4, 2009 Hunting Ash BorersJune 3, 2009 Haulers garbage fees to be passed to consumersJune 1, 2009 New landfill chargesMay 27, 2009 Trash haulers worry about tipping fee hikeMay 5, 2009 Panel OKs closing walk-in centers for hunting, fishing licenses May 1, 2009 Legislators introduce wind siting bill April 29, 2009 Citizens file appeal of Rosendale Dairy PermitApril 27, 2009 Rural residents w/o high speed internetApril 26, 2009 New broadband technologies can connect even the most remote placesApril 23, 2009 Emerald Ash BorerApril 21, 2009 Governor Doyle Approves Transit Projects for Federal Recovery and Reinvestment FundingApril 21, 2009 Prevailing wage measure worries municipalitiesApril 20, 2009 Mowing the Lawn and What To Do With Grass ClippingsApril 20, 2009 Stimulus money could bring broadband to rural homes - Complete an Online Survey To Help Distribute Grant MoneyApril 20, 2009 Town of Ashford Liquor Applications for 2009-2010 Licensing PeriodApril 14, 2009 Officials: Landfill plan stinksApril 13, 2009 Uniform siting rules for wind power projects sought April 11, 2009 Wind turbines complicate weather monitoringApril 9, 2009 Legislation regarding wind energy production being circulatedApril 8, 2009 Managed Forest Law Getting Another LookApril 8, 2009 Spring Election ResultsApril 7, 2009 Emerald ash borer jumps across stateApril 6, 2009 Town of Ashford Open Book NoticeApril 6, 2009 Notice of Town of Ashford Board of Review Meeting 5/11/2009April 6, 2009 Notice of Town of Ashford Board of Review Meeting 5/11/2009April 6, 2009 Town of Ashford Annual Meeting April 11, 2009April 5, 2009 Informational tools aim to protect wetlands, help landowners.March 26, 2009 Update on State Budget by Senator Joe LeibhamMarch 25, 2009 Fond du Lac County Spring Roads PostingMarch 25, 2009 Fond du Lac County Candidates and Referendum Questions for April 7, 2009 ElectionMarch 23, 2009 Governor’s proposed budget includes farmland preservationMarch 18, 2009 Wasps May Help Locate Ash BorersMarch 17, 2009 Fond du Lac County Current Highway ProjectsMarch 16, 2009 Mapping Wisconsin Communities WorkshopsMarch 9, 2009 Gottlieb and Hopper Introduce Transportation Fund Protection AmendmentMarch 9, 2009 Government Accountability BoardMarch 9, 2009 DOT Implements Spring Thaw RestrictionsMarch 5, 2009 Bill Proposed That Would Eliminate Spring ElectrionsMarch 2, 2009 DNR approves expansion of Rosendale dairy farm to 4,000 headFebruary 28, 2009 Shared revenue cut hits communities unevenly Wealthier areas to lose a larger portion, lower dollar amountFebruary 26, 2009 Online Voter Registration SuggestedFebruary 26, 2009 Milw Journal on Fed Transportation moniesFebruary 20, 2009 Old Shingles To Cover New RoadsFebruary 19, 2009 Low turnout prompts call to move spring vote to fallFebruary 19, 2009 Low turnout prompts call to move spring vote to fallFebruary 16, 2009 Town Of Ashford and Auburn Water TestingFebruary 11, 2009 Outline of Plan From Governor Jim DoyleFebruary 2, 2009 Some lawmakers want to ditch spring electionsJanuary 27, 2009 Oregon Farm Receives Dane County Agricultural Grant to Grow, Market Healthy BerryJanuary 26, 2009 Mega dairy hearing draws hundredsJanuary 26, 2009 WDOT Seeking Comment
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