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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wind stakeholders cite uniformity as key to more projects

From a news release issued by RENEW Wisconsin:

Collectively drawing upon the individual roadblocks that developers experienced in permitting wind energy projects in Wisconsin, a group of renewable energy stakeholders urged the Public Service Commission to adopt standards that can’t be undermined by additional restrictions imposed by local governments.

The comments, submitted on behalf of 38 signatories, addressed the draft siting rule published by the Commission in mid-May. The draft rule proposed standards applicable to all wind energy systems -- large and small -- erected in Wisconsin. In the next phase of this proceeding, the Commission will review the public comments before issuing a final rule in August.

The rule will specify, among other things, setback distances from neighbors, sound limits, shadow flicker durations, procedures for decommissioning inoperable turbines, and mitigating electronic signal interference.

Noting that local governments would have discretionary authority going beyond the legislation’s intentions, renewable energy supporters recommended specific changes to give developers a greater sense of certainty in the permitting process.

“We are willing to work collaboratively and cooperatively with political subdivisions to establish mutually agreeable provisions beyond the requirements of the rules,” the stakeholders said in their joint comments. “However, we cannot develop wind projects in Wisconsin if current uncertainty regarding political subdivision requirements continues.”

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