CONTROVERSIAL SHIRLEY WIND FARM BEING TESTED
GLENMORE, Wis. (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s tallest wind energy turbines are being tested this week.
Eight windmills at the Shirley Wind facility south of Green Bay are expected to start making electricity soon. They could power 8,000 homes if they had to. But the state government is buying the electricity, to help reach a goal of having 20 percent of its power from renewable sources.
State official Dave Helbach says they’ll need just 4 percent more once the Shirley Wind project goes online.
The turbines stretch up to 500 feet in the air. And the developers, Emerging Energies of Hubertus, say they’ll harness more wind and create more electricity than conventional-sized turbines.
They’re the largest windmills ever made by Tower Tech of Manitowoc. And the group Renew Wisconsin says they would never have been allowed under the proposed new locating requirements proposed by the state Public Service Commission.
Michael Vickerman said the distance limits between the towers, farm houses, and fields would have put the Shirley Wind site off limits.
A state Senate committee recently reviewed the proposed limits, and told the PSC to come back with something different. That didn’t sit well with residents near the site in the town of Glenmore near Green Bay. They say they’ll hurt by the turbines’ noise and flickering shadows.
They put up a sign near one of the turbines which says, “Welcome to the Glenmore Wind Ghetto.”
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Clarification: According to this press release [CLICK HERE] The turbines for this project were made by a company in Germany called NORDEX and shipped to the US.
Better Plan is currently investigating allegations of conflict of interest between Glenmore Town officials and wind developer Emerging Energies. Public documents indicate that several of the hosts of the turbines may have had their mortgages paid off by Emerging Energies and that at least one Town official may have been given a free trip to Germany to visit the Nordex plant.
The Public Service Commission's proposed wind siting rules do not address the troublesome issue of conflict of interest. It is a common practice among wind developers to offer lucrative contracts to members of local government who have the land to host turbines, and who also have the power to push a project through.
Better Plan also has questions about the production capacity claimed for this project. Under favorable conditions, wind turbines are about 30% efficient. In the state of Wisconsin, that number is closer to 20-25%.
If one follows the numbers presented here by Emerging Energies, the turbines in Glenmore will have a 40% generating capacity.
Better Plan is unaware of any turbines in our state which have exceed 30% efficiency.
EXTRA CREDIT: One of the founders of "Emerging Energies is Bill Rackocy, who also sat on the Wind Siting Council and helped determine the siting guidelines for our state.