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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

WE Energies plans 243 megawatt wind farm in Columbia County

From an article by Kevin Murphy in The Capital Times:

Milwaukee-based WE Energies wants to build a 90-turbine, 234-megawatt wind farm located between the Columbia County villages of Cambria and Friesland.

In an application filed Monday with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, WE Energies proposes to locate the turbines with a hub height of up to 262 feet generally north and west of Friesland and northeast of Cambria in the towns of Randolph and Scott.

The project would gather power from up to 90 turbines, each with a half-acre footprint, by using up to 50 miles of 50-foot-wide corridors for collector cables. Twenty miles of permanent roads would be used to access the turbine sites, according to the application.

WE Energies acquired an option on the site from Florida Power and Light when it sold its interest in the Point Beach nuclear plant, said Brian Manthey, a WE Energies spokesman.

"The area was already sited for its potential for wind power, once we decided to (exercise the option) we saw that it was a good possibility for us, a good area for wind power production," Manthey said.

Construction costs haven't been finalized for the wind farm, now called the Randolph Wind Project, because the number and type of wind turbines haven't been determined. WE Energies plans to submit those costs to the Public Service Commission within a few months, Manthey said.

He compared the new proposal to the company's $300 million, 88-turbine wind farm spread across 10,600 acres in Fond du Lac County. The Blue Sky Green Field wind project, which became operational in May, has a 145-megawatt capacity, enough to power 36,000 homes, according to WE Energies.

It used turbines that are 397 feet tall from foundation to the blade tip.

Ryan Schryver, Clean Wisconsin's wind power advocate, called the proposal a great example of the "choice that we have to make regarding our energy production."

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