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Friday, April 11, 2008

Wind turbines in Lake Michigan? It's being studied

From an Associated Press article by Todd Richmond published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
MADISON — State regulators want to study what it would take to implant giant wind turbines in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, a move that might someday lead to new power for Wisconsin but cost millions of dollars and transform serene lake views.

The three-member Public Service Commission voted unanimously today to begin assessing whether the concept can be executed, the power it could generate, the costs and public sentiment.

“There’s enough unanswered questions that it’s a matter of public policy. We should explore it,” said Eric Callisto, commission Chairman Dan Ebert’s executive assistant. “The economics have to dictate this makes sense. But right now we’re in something of an information vacuum.”

Gov. Jim Doyle’s global warming task force recommended the commission, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands convene a study group on offshore generation in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The task force said Wisconsin doesn’t have the same wind quality as western states and should at least examine offshore prospects.

The study group should explore costs, issues related to lake bed development and impact on birds, the task force recommended. The group also should explore a partnership with the state of Michigan in offshore efforts. Callisto said the PSC hopes to complete the study by the end of the year.

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