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Monday, January 24, 2011

Illinois wind advocates advise Wisconsin's renewable energy developers to 'Escape to Illinois'

From a news release issued by The Illinois Wind Energy Association:

(CHICAGO) -- Today the Illinois Wind Energy Association (IWEA) invited wind power developers working in Wisconsin to focus their efforts on Illinois, where Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly have worked to streamline regulations for the wind energy business.

Wind developers have been apprehensive about investing in Wisconsin since Governor Scott Walker proposed legislation that would effectively ban wind development from the Badger State. With these new job-destroying regulations on the table, IWEA is happy to highlight the much more business-friendly climate just to the south.

Recently introduced in the Wisconsin legislature, the War on Wind Initiative would dramatically extend setback distances from wind turbines in the state. If adopted, the bill would mandate a minimum setback requirement of 1,800 feet from neighboring property lines, far exceeding the setback distance from occupied dwellings specified in a rule issued by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

"Even the strictest county setbacks in Illinois are nowhere near as extreme as what Wisconsin would have if this bill passes," said IWEA Executive Director Kevin Borgia. "Illinois has no statewide minimum setbacks."

As Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last week, "it is one of the most onerous regulations we have ever seen."

"In light of Wisconsin's War on Wind, IWEA invites developers to focus their resources on Illinois," Borgia said. "Businesses with wind farm proposals in both states are likely to focus their efforts on locations with the most beneficial regulatory climate. If the legislation is adopted, that location will not be Wisconsin."

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