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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GE Healthcare seeks OK for wind turbines

From an article by Laurel Walker in the Milwaukee journal Sentinel:

Waukesha - GE Healthcare is seeking city permission to install 10 wind turbines up to 155 feet tall on its 662-acre Waukesha campus on county Highway T north of I-94.

The project, if approved, would be built next year or later, said Annette Busateri, public relations manager. It is part of the company's 2015 goal of reducing electrical usage by 15% and improving building energy efficiency by at least 10%, she said.

The Waukesha Plan Commission is scheduled to consider a conditional use permit for the project at its 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday. The city has no wind turbines, planner Michael Hoeft said.

City planner Jennifer Andrews said the company has lined up letters indicating state and federal agencies likely have no objections.

"They seem to have all their ducks in a row," she said.

Although the proposed turbines are about a mile from the runways of Waukesha County's airport, Crites Field, their height would be below the limit set by the county's zoning ordinance that protects airspace around the airport from encroaching structures.

The plan calls for turbines on towers ranging from 135 to 155 feet tall. Three would be behind the former headquarters building, now an assembly building for medical imaging equipment that's the farthest north of three buildings. The other seven would be between the two other buildings farther south.

Waukesha County Parks and Land Use Director Dale Shaver said there are no commercial wind turbines in the county. Not only would this project be the first, but they would be near a high-traffic, very visible interchange.

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