This section of our Better Plan, Wisconsin website devoted to Columbia County is still under construction. This is the latest news as of 1/29/10
Until this section is completely set up, scroll down to find the Better Plan 'search' window and type in 'Columbia County' to locate stories and information posted on this website.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
Wind developer Wes Slaymaker, who is mentioned in the following story, is a familar figure to residents of Rock County. He helped develop two industrial wind projects, one proposed in the Town of Union and one in the Town of Magnolia. These projects were quickly sold to Acciona of Spain. The sale price of these yet to be built Rock County projects is unknown.
In 2008, at a public meeting in Evansville, a resident asked Slaymaker about the sale of the projects to Acciona, saying it had made national news.
Slaymaker openly denied the sale had occured, saying, "Nothing was sold, nothing was sold."
Records available to the public now show that the sale had indeed taken place.
Representatives from EcoEnergy now refer all questions about the status of the two Rock County EcoEnergy projects to an Acciona representative.
Better Plan, Wisconsin, has attempted to contact Accionia several times about the project and recieved no reply.
The conditional use permit for the EcoEnergy/Acciona met tower erected alongside hiway 213 will be up for a third year of approval in February or March.
The Columbia County project, proposed by Slaymaker and E-wind and mentioned in the story below, has no power purchase agreement, no financing, and seems contingent on the "green jobs" bill making it through Madison. Beyond the temporary construction jobs that will be required to put them up, how turbines purchased from South Korea will help with Wisconsin 'green jobs' is unknown.
E-Wind eyes Hyundai for Wisconsin Project
Wisconsin regulators have approved plans to startup company E Wind to build a 30 megawatt wind farm northeaset of the State Capial of Madison at a cost of $60 million dollars. Talks are underway to buy 18 turbines fro Hyundai Heavy Industries, E-wind tells Recharge.
If the deal is finalized, it would represent the largest known US order thus far for South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy.
Wes Slaymaker, who heads a company that provides engineering services for the wind industry and is a partner in E Wind, says the next project step is to negotiate a long-term power purchase agreement with a utility.
“This is our biggest challenge because electricity prices and demand are soft,” he says in a telephone interview. “Utilities are not excited about buying more power at the moment.”
Even so, they must comply with Wisconsin’s renewable portfolio standard that requires publicly-held utilities to produce 10% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015.
Governor Jim Doyle is also calling on lawmakers to pass his proposed Green Energy Jobs Act, which would update the RPS to 25% by 2025.
“I think the bill has a decent chance of getting passed,” says Slaymaker.
Once a power purchase agreement is in place, Slaymaker believes he and two local partners will obtain project financing. One of them owns part of the 1,800 acres where the turbines will be sited near the town of Randolph.
Slaymaker describes the proposed wind farm as a community project because it has local owners and operators, and most of the investment for site preparation and wind project development will stay in the region.
“This type of community wind project, while common in Minnesota, is unique to Wisconsin,” says Slaymaker.