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Monday, May 16, 2011

Construction on wind turbine project near Hoan Bridge could start in July

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Plans are proceeding for Milwaukee to erect a 154-foot tall wind turbine this summer next to the Port Authority building near the Hoan Bridge.

The stimulus-funded project would generate more than enough electricity to power the port office building and sell a small amount of power back to the grid.

Some Bay View residents had raised concerns about a different alternative for the project, which would have been closer to the lake, next to the Lake Express ferry terminal.

A community meeting about the project attracted hundreds of people on a snowy evening in January. At that time, about one-third of those in attendance were in favor, another third were opposed and another third were seeking more information, said Ald. Tony Zielinski.

Zielinski said he was pleased that a compromise could be reached to address concerns about the original site.

The location by the Port Administration building, 2323 S. Lincoln Memorial Drive, is an improvement, Zielinski said, for "people who were fearful of the detrimental effect on the aesthetics of the lakefront by virtue of having it so close to the lake."

Other concerns had been raised about the other site, which would have put up a turbine or several small turbines on a confined disposal facility next to the Lake Express car ferry terminal.

"We received a lot of push back primarily because of public trust doctrine issues and the impact on waterfowl and migratory birds in that area," said Matt Howard, director of the city's office of environmental sustainability.

Public trust concerns were raised about whether a wind turbine would be an appropriate use of land on the lakefront site.

"They listened well and took that to heart in the planning for this alternate site," said Aaron Schultz, spokesman for the Lake Express ferry.

The turbine is aimed to be a demonstration of the city's commitment to renewable energy, Howard said.

"This seems to be a good compromise position. The wind profile is still great at that site, and we're still looking at being able to generate between 110% and 150% of that building's energy needs," he said.

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