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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Illinois seeks Wisconsin wind energy jobs, projects

From an article Kevin Lee in The Chippewa Herald:

MADISON — Wind energy developers are the latest businesses to be subject to the interstate struggle between Wisconsin and Illinois for jobs and economic development.

Last week, Gov. Scott Walker introduced a special session proposal that would tighten restrictions on where wind energy sites could be constructed.

Wisconsin wind energy supporters say the legislation could stall or even disrupt many of the 21 proposed wind projects that are at various stages of bidding and construction, said Michael Vicekrman with alternative energy advocacy group RENEW Wisconsin.

Vickerman warned that some of the companies running those projects could decide to move resources to neighboring states.

“The nexus shifts to Iowa and Minnesota and nothing happens here. Basically Wisconsin becomes a development-free zone,” he said.

Illinois Wind Association Executive Director Kevin Borgia has invited wind energy businesses to “Escape to Illinois,” a play on the “Escape to Wisconsin” appeal that Walker used earlier this month toward Illinois businesses.

“For all his attacks on Illinois being an unfriendly business climate, Gov. Walker goes out and proposes something that makes Wisconsin a wholly unfriendly business climate for (the wind energy) business,” Borgia said.

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