3/22/11 BIG WIND VS BUCKY: Safe and restful sleep for Brown County: Invenergy drops wind project AND Town of Forest moves to protect itself from wind developers AND What made the turbine fall?
Invenergy LLC sent letters Friday to those who had leased land to build turbines and informed the Wisconsin Public Service Commission it was canceling its contracts.
According to a corporate statement, the move is “a business decision in which we could not justify continuing to make significant financial commitments in maintaining the Ledge (Wind Energy Center) project while uncertainty persists regarding relevant project regulations.”
Chicago-based Invenergy planned to build 100 turbines in the towns of Morrison, Wrightstown, Glenmore and Holland, but the project stood idle while the company awaited guidelines from the Public Service Commission.
Gov. Scott Walker has also put forth legislation that would significantly curb wind energy development in the state.
“We’ll continue to develop other wind projects in the state that do not require as significant an investment during an unstable climate. At the same time, we’ll increase our development efforts outside Wisconsin, in states that offer more regulatory certainty,” the statement said.
While dozens of farmers and landowners had leased property to Invenergy to build the turbines, the prospect of inviting the technology into the area has divided communities along sharp lines.
“To be quite honest with you, from the onset, even prior to putting their application in, you could see it was going to be controversial,” Morrison Town Chairman Todd Christensen said Monday evening. “This project has caused a lot of division in our community so I think at least this part of it, once it’s removed, I hope the healing can start and people can get back to their normal lives.”
Wrightstown Town Chairman William Verbeten said he wasn’t for or against the project, but of all the companies that came in to promote wind energy, Invenergy was the most upfront and most willing to work with the community.
“Sooner or later we’re going to have to do something, whether it’s solar, wind energy, or I don’t know what,” said Verbeten, who had an agreement for turbines to be built on some of his property. “We as a country have to look at some type of renewable energy. We just can’t keep burning oil.”
Those who approved leases were on track to receive about $8,000 annually.
“Some of these people on a fixed income, this is what they could use. Some farms that were struggling, this was a little extra money,” Verbeten said. “It was everybody’s option, but not everyone thought it was a good thing.”
COMPANY DROPS PLANS FOR BROWN COUNTY WIND TURBINE FARM
March 21, 2011
By Matt Smith
Plans for a 100-turbine wind farm in southern Brown County fell apart.
Chicago-based Invenergy confirmed for Action 2 News it will no longer pursue the Ledge Wind Energy project.
Invenergy calls this a business decision, blaming uncertainty with the state's regulatory process, saying it can no longer justify financially backing this project.
While the company may be out of town, the divide the proposed wind farm created may linger for years.
For Roland Klug, was more than just money. He points to where his two wind turbines would have gone.
The southern Brown County farmer believed in the energy project and worked to sign others to partner with Invenergy to create the county's largest wind farm.
Monday he received a letter saying the project is terminated and his contract with Invenergy, paying roughly $8,000 per turbine, is no more.
"And for the town itself, county, everybody is losing a lot of money and the jobs. They were also going to right down the road here put the office in," Klug said.
But you needn't drive far along the back roads to find the divide.
At home was a celebration -- and a little bit of shock -- after working the past 14 months to derail the project.
"This is all I've done, because my whole way of life was threatened -- my property value, potentially my health, and my way of life, and if this project would have went through that all would have been jeopardized," opponent Jim Vandenboogart of Morrison said.
In a statement to Action 2 News, Invenergy said, "We'll continue to develop other wind projects in the state that do not require as significant an investment during an unstable climate. At the same time, we'll increase our development efforts outside Wisconsin, in states that offer more regulatory certainty."
Contracts with Brown County residents officially end April 17.
Town board rescinds wind turbine project
An energy company was looking to build dozens of wind turbines in the Town of Forest, north of Glenwood City. Last week, the town board voted to void the agreement and building permits for the project. The building permits were approved the day before a recall vote for several board members.
Some residents in the community are against the plan because of potential health hazards.
PSC INVESTIGATING WIND TOWER ACCIDENT
Operations at a wind farm near Rugby were shut down last week after the blades on one of the 71 wind towers came crashing to the ground.
One neighbor told the Pierce County Tribune it sounded like a jet breaking the sound barrier when the central piece of the tower hit the ground.
The wind farm began operation just over a year ago north of Rugby.
As of this afternoon, most of the turbines on the wind farm were seen spinning in the North Dakota wind, so it appears operations have resumed.
It’s operated by Iberdola Renewables but calls to several people at the company were not returned today.
Iberdola notified the State Public Service Commission on Thursday, three days after the incident, and Commissioner Kevin Cramer says the PSC will discuss its next steps in the incident at its meeting this Thursday.
In the letter to the PSC, an Iberdola official said there had been no injuries or deaths in the incident and the wind farm site had been temporarily shut down while an investigation was going on.
Commissioner Brian Kalk said today the PSC is seeking more information from the company because, as he put it, if there was neglect that led to this, there will have to be some action taken.
The wind farm is capable of generating 149 megawatts of electricity.