1/25/12 Sen. Lasee introduces bill to give wind-siting power back to local communities, Madison wind lobbyist who helped write PSC rules doesn't like that idea one bit.
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD:
The Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin -mentioned in the article below- is a registered lobbyist who helped write state-wide wind siting rules.
Among RENEW'S biggest financial 'sponsers' (or clients) are
Representatives of both Emerging Energies and Wind Capitol group, two wind companies with direct financial interest in the outcome of the siting guidelines were also appointed by the PSC to help write the wind siting rules
Other council members included representatives of WPPI and WeEnergies.
And not just the Executive Director of RENEW but also its President.
A clear majority of the council members had a direct or indirect financial interest in the outcome of the rules they were tasked to write.
BILL WOULD LET LOCAL OFFICALS CONTROL WIND TURBINE SITING RULES
By Clay Barbour, Wisconsin State Journal,
January 24, 2012
MADISON — The long stalemate over windmill siting rules could become a moot point if the Legislature approves a new bill that keeps the power over turbine placement in the hands of local officials.
Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, late last week introduced a bill that would allow officials in cities, villages, towns and counties to establish the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a home — even if those rules are more restrictive than any the state tries to enact.
“The situation now is sort of lawless,” said Rob Kovach, Lasee’s chief of staff. “Townships don’t really know where they stand.”
New statewide wind siting rules, more than a year in the making, were suspended just before going into effect last March. Lawmakers sent those rules, which dealt with wind farms of less than 100 megawatts, back to the state Public Service Commission, where they have stayed as officials worked to reach a compromise between industry supporters and their critics.
“The whole reason for statewide rules is to have consistency and regulatory certainty,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin, an advocacy group focused on renewable energy. “This bill, if it passes, would essentially say the state is off limits to wind power.”
The location of windmills has been a controversial issue in the state. Critics of the industry contend the energy generators hurt property values and can lead to health problems.
The rules being worked on by the PSC would have required wind turbines have a setback from the nearest property line of 1.1 times the height of the turbine, or roughly 450 feet for an average windmill. The rules also required turbines be at least 1,250 feet away from the nearest residence.
Lasee’s bill would supersede the rules in all areas where they conflict, namely placing the power to determine setbacks in the hands of local governments. It also would change the rules dealing with wind projects larger than 100 megawatts, forcing the PSC to respect the rules established by local officials.
If no new wind siting bills are adopted by March, the rules stuck in PSC will go into effect.