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Friday, March 13, 2009

Wind farm possible near Green Lake

From an article in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen:

Wisconsin Power & Light is poised to boost its investment in wind power - if state regulators approve the Madison utility company's plan to develop the Bent Tree wind farm in southeastern Minnesota.

WPL has an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources, a Juno Beach, Fla., subsidiary of FPL Group, to buy power from NextEra's wind farm in Crystal Lake, Iowa. It calls for 100 megawatts a year for 25 years with an additional 100 megawatts from the same location for one year.

As part of the deal, WPL could obtain rights from NextEra to build a wind farm in Green Lake, about 70 miles northeast of Madison.

"We don't have any plans, at this point, when or if or how we would develop that site," said Rob Crain, spokesman for WPL parent, Alliant Energy. "But certainly, we view it as a quality site ... that provides us with flexibility down the line."

NextEra had objected to WPL's Bent Tree proposal, saying WPL should instead buy power from Crystal Lake. "As the case proceeded, we (decided) it didn't have to be an either/or scenario," Crain said.

He said the agreement with NextEra could be one piece of WPL's alternative to a proposed power plant at Cassville.

The state Public Service Commission rejected plans in late 2008 for the 300-megawatt, mostly coal-fired generator with up to 20 percent of its fuel from waste agricultural products, saying the proposal was too costly and would create too much pollution.

WPL also is considering small, biomass-only power plants, Crain said, as well as turning a natural gas-fired power plant used now just for peak times into a combined-cycle plant that uses waste heat to create additional energy.

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