1/30/11 Have you reached out and touched your Legislators today? AND Wind Industry: A 50 story tall turbine 1250 feet from your door will have no impact on you property value. Realtor: Wind farm houses don't sell. AND Looking here, looking there: How many Green Jobs has Big Wind created?
HAVE YOU REACHED OUT AND TOUCHED YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS TODAY?
Just a phone call is all it takes to do your part to help give rural Wisconsin an 1800' setback between industrial scale wind turbines and landowner's property lines.
Better Plan encourages you to take a moment right now to contact Governor Walker's office to thank him for his wind siting bill, (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BILL) which provides for a setback of 1800 feet between wind turbines and property lines. Let him know you support this bill.
AND! CALL THE LEGISLATORS ON THE COMMITTEES BELOW
AND! Then call your own legislators.
And then, please accept our thanks and the thanks of many in rural Wisconsin for your help.
Office of the Governor, (608) 266-1212, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Scott Fitzgerald (Senate Majority Leader, Juneau), 266-5660, Sen.email@example.com
Representative Jeff Fitzgerald (Assembly Speaker, Horicon), 266-3387, Rep.firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Suder (Assembly Majority Leader, Abbotsford), 266-2401, Rep.email@example.com
Members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations.
-Chairman Senator Rich Zipperer (R) Sen.Zipperer@legis.wisconsin.gov
(608) 266-9174 Capitol 323 South
-Vice Chair Senator Neal Kedzie (R) Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org
(608) 266-2635 Capitol 313 South
(608) 266-2502 Capitol 409 South
Senator Fred Risser (D) Sen.email@example.com
(608) 266-1627 Capitol 130 South
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D) Sen.firstname.lastname@example.org
(608) 266-6670 Capitol 106 South
PLEASE CONTACT ALL OF THESE MEMBERS OF THE
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND UTILITIES
Representative John Klenke (Vice-Chair) Representative Kevin Petersen Representative Gary Tauchen Representative Thomas Larson Representative Erik Severson Representative Chad Weininger Representative Josh Zepnick Representative John Steinbrink Representative Anthony Staskunas Representative Brett Hulsey
SOURCE: Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill.
Jan 29, 2011
By David Giuliani,
Jan. 29--SHABBONA -- A real estate agent says many of her customers don't want to live near wind farms, which has caused home values to drop in those areas.
Beth Einsele of Beth Einsele Real Estate in Shabbona said she has shown her share of properties near Lee County wind farms. She said the houses there can't sell for as much as similar homes in other areas of the county.
Earlier this week, County Assessor Wendy Ryerson presented numbers to the county's ad hoc committee on wind turbines, arguing that the Mendota Hills wind farm, started in 2004, hasn't affected nearby home values.
Einsele, a Realtor, took exception to Ryerson's analysis.
"She doesn't look at comparable sales of similar properties. That's not her job. Her job is to see to it that there are fair prices for the assessments," Einsele said. "She does a good job. But she is being used by the County Board to promote their agenda."
Einsele said she has seen firsthand the effects of turbines on home sales.
For instance, a property on Bingham Road in eastern Lee County is surrounded by turbines. It was put on the market in November 2005, and didn't sell until March 2008 for $265,000, she said. Five similar properties -- a few miles away but not near wind farms -- sold much quicker and for well more than $300,000, according to the Realtors' Multiple Listing Service.
Einsele also said she got a bad reaction when she had an open house for a property near a wind farm.
"Out of nine families that came that day, seven asked, 'What are those things? What do they do? How come they're so noisy?'" she said. "That parcel remains on the market today."
In response to Einsele, Ryerson said she tries to walk a "fine line" in providing information to decision makers.
"I try to make sure the information I give out is based on fact, not emotion," she said. "I personally have nothing to gain whether or not we put in another wind project."
Her analysis focused on the area near the Mendota Hills project, looking at home sales in the townships of Brooklyn, Willow Creek, Viola and Wyoming. According to Ryerson's office, the four townships recorded 45 home sales in 2002, with a median home price of $102,400.
The median price increased over the years to $150,000 by 2007, with annual homes sales ranging from 43 to 72.
But in 2008, the median sales price dropped to $107,500, with only 30 sales. In 2009, the office recorded the same number of sales, with the median price further falling to $101,000.
Ryerson contended that the drop in prices had more to do with the declining home market in the area than wind turbines.
She said she understood the argument that fewer buyers interested in a property likely would impact a home's value. But she said nothing in her data demonstrates any effect from the Mendota Hills project on nearby properties.
John Thompson, president and CEO of the Lee County Industrial Development Association, wouldn't take a position on wind farms' effect on home values.
But he said the turbines have helped Lee County's economy. They bring more property tax revenue to government coffers, employ many people during the construction phase, and give farms that allow turbines extra income, he said.
The county's ad hoc committee is supposed to provide recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals on new wind regulations. In September, the County Board enacted a moratorium on new wind energy development while the zoning board drafted new rules.
The moratorium is set to expire Feb. 15. County Board Chairman Jim Seeberg has said he is opposed to extending it.
Wind farm opponents say the turbines are noisy, bothersome and unsightly.
FACTS ABOUT GREEN JOBS CREATION ELUSIVE AS THE WIND
Source: MacIver News Service
Although they are touted and promoted by policy makers and opinion leaders across the state, accurately defining and keeping track of ‘green jobs’ has proven nearly impossible in Wisconsin.
Take, for example, ‘green jobs’ associated with the wind industry.
“Clean energy technology and high-end manufacturing are Wisconsin’s future,” Governor Jim Doyle said in his final State of the State address. “We have more than 300 companies and thousands of jobs in the wind industry.”
That statistic is impossible to verify.
The State of Wisconsin does not track those companies nor the jobs within the industry. When contacted, the Office of Energy Independence (an agency created by Governor Doyle in 2007) directed MacIver News to Wisconsin Wind Works, a self-described “consortium of manufacturers representing the wind manufacturing supply chain within Wisconsin.”
The advocacy group maintains an online wind energy-related supply chain database, although a routine examination of the data proved just how unreliable the figures are.
When the online, searchable database was utilized earlier this summer, it listed 340 companies in Wisconsin connected to the wind industry, a fact which, without additional investigation would appear to be in line with the Governor’s statement. However, further examination showed many of those companies were not currently serving the wind industry and were only listed because they someday could serve the wind industry.
For example, the database listed 38 manufacturers, but only 24 of them have anything to actually do with the wind energy sector presently.
Of those 24 Wisconsin manufacturers, only eight were categorized as primary suppliers. Another four companies were listed as both primary and secondary suppliers. A MacIver News Service reporter contacted all eight primary suppliers and the four companies listed as primary/secondary suppliers in our initial query and what we found further eroded the credibility of Governor Doyle’s claims.
When contacted, the companies listed as both primary and secondary suppliers all described themselves merely as secondary suppliers. That means they produce products that are not exclusive to the wind energy. For example, Bushman Equipment manufactures lifts that move heavy pieces of equipment, which, among many other uses, can be used to handle wind turbines.
Wisconsin Wind Works’ database is not only generous with the number of companies within their supply chain it associates as being primary suppliers, there are issues with the actual job numbers listed for each company as well. Many of the figures are either inflated, the jobs are not located in Wisconsin, or they cannot be tied to wind energy.
For example, Rexnord Industries was one of the eight Wisconsin manufacturers listed in our query as directly serving the wind energy industry. The database shows the company has 6,000 employees. Yet a Rexnord official told the MacIver News Service that the company only has 1,500 employees in Wisconsin, and only five of those have jobs which are directly tied to the wind industry.
Wisconsin Wind Works’ database says Orchid International has 600 employees, but a company spokesperson told MacIver it only has 150. Amsoil Inc. in Superior has 236 employees listed in the Wisconsin Wind Works database, but a company representative told the MacIver News Service that only 6 of them work on wind energy-related products.
In all, at the time of our search, the database claimed 7,632 jobs among the eight manufacturers that were current primary suppliers to the wind industry. Yet, the MacIver News Service was only able to identify 31 jobs at those companies which were specifically tied to wind energy related products.
Manufacturers told MacIver News that other employees might work on wind-related products occasionally, but it does not represent the bulk of their workload.
Another 1,077 workers are listed among the secondary suppliers and we did not investigate that claim.
VAL-FAB, one of the companies listed as both a primary and secondary supplier, explained to MacIver News that it initially had high hopes for the wind energy industry that never materialized. The company specializes in fabrication for the energy sector.
William Capelle, Director of Business Development at VAL-FAB, said “At first we thought we might be able to manufacture the actual towers, but it turns out 90 percent of those are imported from Spain.”
Since the MacIver News Service first examined the Wisconsin Wind Works database, the number of companies listed has increased to 360. A reporter attempted to contact the organization for comment about the veracity of their data, but Wisconsin wind Works, which solicits members by selling itself as the “preferred partner of wind energy professionals,” did not respond.
They are, however, holding a Wind Energy Symposium in Milwaukee on October 13th.
Meanwhile the Office of Energy Independence continues to pursue the Doyle Administration’s green energy policies. As Doyle said during his final State of the State address, “anyone who says there aren’t jobs in the clean energy economy had better open their eyes.”
There is no doubt that some jobs in the wind industry exist in Wisconsin. The accurate number of these ‘green jobs’ is proving to be, at best, elusive
Representatives of Doyle’s office did not respond to repeated request for comments regarding the information contained within this article.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY RAN IN SEPTEMBER OF 2010
By Bill Osmulski
MacIver News Service Investigative Reporter