Entries in Dan Ebert (4)

7/23/2010 Writing the Wind Rules: Should turbine noise limits be based on wind industry needs or protection of rural Wisconsin residents? Don't read this post if you don't want bad news



With the majority of the Wind Siting Council members having a direct or indirect financial interest in creating the least restrictive rules possible on wind development in Wisconsin, the discussion about wind turbine noise standards moves between the wind developer's preferred limit of 50 decibels to the World Health Organizations recommendation of 40 decibels. Should the rules be written by those who stand to see substantial financial gain by creating least restrictive rules? Whose interests should the rules protect? Based on the financial interests of the majority of the Wind Siting Council members, the answer is is pretty clear.

6/9/10 "Struck by the Incredible Distrust" : Wind siting council chairman shows up with a long speech and a draft proposal of new rules

 Home in the Invenergy wind project near the Town of Byron in Fond du Lac County.  

Yesterday, after a presentation and discussion about how wind projects affect property values,  Wind Siting Council Chairman Dan Ebert presented a draft proposal of the council's siting rules.

This was not on the agenda and for many of us it was a complete surprise.


The draft proposal has the same noise limits the commission used for the Glacier Hills project however there is no numerical setback from homes. Mr. Ebert explained that a specific setback number was not needed for siting wind turbines in our state.

Before presenting the draft, Ebert gave a lengthy preamble about how Wisconsin had developed a national reputation as an anti-wind state, that the state was losing out economically because of this, how we needed wind projects to meet the renewables mandate, preserve the family farms in our state and to encourage manufacturing and job growth.

The transcription below takes it from there.

Dan Ebert is the vice president of policy and external affairs for WPPI Energy. Previously, he served with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for five years, including three as  Chairman. He is also Chairman of CREWE.

From the CREWE website: "The Coalition for Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy (CREWE) has been formed by business stakeholders to partner with the administration, task force members, lawmakers and other businesses and stakeholders as energy policies are developed that transition Wisconsin to a sound economy powered by new green jobs and investment."


Transcript taken from the PSC broadcast of the Wind Siting Council meeting,
June 9, 2010

I am struck by the incredible distrust that exists in this state between the various stake holders on this issue.

 I think if we had, five years ago, created this council and had the commission move forward with rules, I think we would be at a very different place in this state.

It is about protecting landowners, it is about the economics of wind, it's about meeting the RPS, it's about health and safety. All of the issues we have been debating and discussing.

Five years ago it was the 'wild west' of wind. You had wind developers coming in, they didn't really have a sense of how to engage with landowners, how to create an environment where you can have a constructive dialog and resolve differences, complaint resolution if you will, we didn't have that.

And because of that--- and on the flip side of that, I think we've also had some bad actors on these issues. I think there are some in this state who have just said "No way, ever never. I don't want to see a wind turbine in my view shed.

And so they have taken the position that, 'We're just going to say no because I own this piece of property and there is going to be an impact, whether it's 1100 feet, in Larry's case, or in the case of the view shed. You know, it could be half mile, it could be a mile away. I'm just going to say no because that's what I want to have happen'

And so developers have been faced with that kind of environment, which I think has spoiled the environment for them. How do you engage constructively when the opponents are raising issues that are not really the issue?

It's not really about sound, it's not really about shadow-flicker, it's really about--- and Larry, the very real impacts that you have shared with all of us, those are real.

And if the motivation had been consistent throughout and your-- the issues that you have brought to this council have been able to be worked on in a constructive environment instead I think a lot of people have used it to say "We're just going to oppose these things and we're going to throw as much against the wall as we can" and I think it's really spoiled the environment.

So I think there's been a fair amount of, you know, mistakes, on many sides of this issue and this debate that have really spoiled the environment. And so as I thought about sort of what's the right framework, one of themes that came through and that I hope I have been able to put in this straw proposal is to level the playing field to allow for constructive dialog between the various stake-holders in this issue where one is not empowered over the other, one cannot just say no, and one can't just say "We're going to put his thing 800 feet from your house."

But rather to create an environment where an honest dialog and discussion can occur and that there are tools that developers have and that landowners have, property owners, local governments, tools in the toolbox, to help make sure that this debate can in fact happen in a constructive way, to work through and resolve issues.

I think if our motivation is those people who just want to say no and that there's ever ever going to be another wind turbine built anywhere that impacts them, this council is not going to get there.

But if we want to talk about how we level the playing field and allow for and give both the developers, utilities, landowners, local government the tools I think we can get there based on last weeks conversation.

And I have been significantly influenced by the people around this table. Tom and George on the real estate issue, I don't agree with you, uh, all the way. I don't think the case has been made about real estate impacts. But I do think the issue of real estate is on that I have a much greater sensitivity than before this wind siting council started.

You know, Bill, I've listened to your passionate description of the personal stake that you have put into building a business, and that's really what you are doing, is you're building a business and you put your own personal family finances on the line because you're committed to building a business and you're trying to do it the right way.

You know, Larry, you have been an effective spokesperson for the impacts. I am not convinced that they-- that we have the evidence to say that there are health impacts.

I am convinced that there are clear impacts for landowners and that in the early days certainly there have been mistakes made in how you deal with landowners and how you resolve conflicts and up to a point empower landowners to protect what they have.

The decision that you made to locate where you did for the reasons you did, you know it could have been handled better and it could have been resolved in a better way.

Jevon's not here but I found, you know, the work that he put in I think has been invaluable to the group. Again, I know there's some folks who don't necessarily agree with some of the conclusions that he made but I think his process and the serious approach that he took has really provided a valuable amount of information for this group.

Jennifer, you're the one person here, maybe not the only one but clearly focussed on economic impacts and what you're trying to do is to create a workforce to support an industry and that is what, quite frankly, one of the driving forces for the legislation.

The legislature wants to create an environment in the state where we can build wind turbines within reason, within a regulatory framework, but we can also then go and create some jobs and economic development around this burgeoning industry.

So, having said all of that, I have taken, uh, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, I've put together a framework, it is a straw proposal, it is not going to be the final product of this group, but what I've tried to do is capture what I think I heard last week.

And I will tell you that everybody around this table will find something that they disagree with and somethings that you disagree with vehemently. What I tried to do is listen carefully and understand where the council members are and put together a framework that we can shoot at.

I hope you don't shoot at me. You can shoot at the proposal. Because what I'm really trying to do is move the debate forward. We've struggled for the last couple of weeks about how to move forward.

And I think as a group we need to, you know, roll up our sleeves and let's start taking a look at the issues and figure out where this council is.

I would suspect that there will be--- we'll have to have some votes. Just listening to the conversation I think we're going to have to have the group-- I think we're going to have to make some votes.

I also believe-- and you will see in what I'm going to hand out here-- that there's a lot that there's already relative consensus. A tweak here and there but there are some aspects of this rule that already have a significant amount of consensus.

But there are going to be those areas, primarily the areas that we talked about last week and this week where there's going to be a difference of opinion and as a group we're going to have to work through those.

So, having said that, I'm going to hand this out and put on my bullet proof vest.

[Pause while Ebert goes around the room to hand the straw rules to each council member]

What I would suggest is that we spend, that I spend just a few minutes going through it. And I'm going to jump over the areas of consensus pretty quickly but I think if council members could look a that and just identify those areas where they are concerned that there may not be consensus and let me know. Actually, probably let Deb know just to make sure we're complying with all of our rules and guidelines for us.

But what I tried to do is, based on all of the issues in the draft rule, identify those areas where I think, you know, again, there might be a tweak here or there but there is general consensus of the group. And part of that is just driven by focus and attention of the council members so there might be some here where I have, where we haven't had a chance to get to it yet or other things, so I just ask you to look through that and let Deb know if in fact those areas are in fact pretty close to consensus.

And then it's actually on page three [AUDIO DROPS OUT OF PSC BROADCAST]

[RESUMES SOME MOMENTS LATER] Have on-going responsibility. Just based on what we have before us today I think the setback is 1.1 times the height. But I also, and Larry, in deference to the possibility [AUDIO DROPS OUT]

[RESUMES] I think the council should revisit the 1.1 [AUDIO DROPS OUT]

[RESUMES] the conversation that this group has had but there is a clear difference around the issues related to those small projects and the larger projects and so I would propose that that's where this group start the debate and the discussion.

On noise standard I am persuaded that setting a numeric target is the right protection for particularly non participating landowners. You set it at 1200 feet or 1500 feet you may or may not capture the decibel levels. So I am suggesting what this group do is focus on a policy framework not a setback number around a noise.

And I'm persuaded by what we have heard and the conversation we have had that 45 decibels on a summer night, 50 decibels on a day and non summer night -- and I have to say I was very persuaded by our sound engineer, I mean we all wanted to hear from him.

And the impacts obviously will vary based on the house and insulation and topology and all those sort of things but 10 to 15 decibels below something measured outside is the right standard to end up with.

I would like to highlight at this point connection between the noise and I would also put shadow flicker in there with compensation.

I believe that part of the problem, and we heard it again today, with one of our folks, one of our witnesses here today, that the issue of non-compensation for non-participating landowners has been a significant contributor to the controversy around wind.

And I think for non-participating landowners and I would define that not as the entire area of a project but really those landowners that are adjacent to, and next to, and impacted by the placement of turbines,  that if--- I believe that one of the ways to level the playing field and to allow-- to not give-- to give a non-participating landowner more influence in the debate is to allow them to receive some compensation. And to allow a developer to negotiate with a non participating landowner in return for compensation. And I believe that will resolve many- the majority of the issues. It's not going to resolve them all, I recognize that, but I think tying-- setting what in effect are impacts that are more on the annoyance and impacting the value of a landowner.

Again, I'm not persuaded that the record supports health impacts the way that a health professional would define it.  So as I think about setting the setbacks and the perimeters it's really about what is the minimal protection for particularly non participating landowners.

To set clear standards, to set what I believe are reasonable standards, they are not perfect and they are not going to resolve every single one of the issues but I think they are clear and I think they set the benchmark and then allow a developer the ability to negotiate with that person and to compensate that person to waive some of these frameworks.

Around shadow-flicker, I think the maximum shadow flicker experience at a non-participating residence should be set at 25 hours per year. We should use computer modeling to really try to as best we can estimate that. And that any non-participating residence who can show that they get more than 20 hours of shadow flicker per year automatically are eligible for mitigation.

I think, again, what we want to do is set up a transparent process. You, as a non-participating landowner may receive up to 25 hours per year. If you get more than 20 you do get mitigation, that is your right.

Again, I think individual landowners can waive those for compensation.

On signal interference, I'm persuaded that you're impacting the quality of life, you're not impacting them for a year, your impacting them for the duration that they are there. So I am persuaded that the developer should remedy television, radio, and cellular telephone interference for the life of the wind energy system. I'm open to for the life of the wind energy system and for the duration that they are at that residence.

I think, you know, a new-- somebody buying the property, coming in, probably would have the-- would understand that goes with it--- I think that's open to debate and conversation.

On the notification requirements, I really sort of struggled with this because I understand Tom and other's point about , you know, we should really let the community know as soon as possible.

But I think the balance that I tried to strike here is we should also allow the free enterprise system and an entrepenuer to have some conversations, develop a project, start developing a project, but once that entity understands that there is going to be a project that they give 180 days before the application goes in or before construction begins as the case may be.

I believe that's the right balance that should be struck on the notification requirements. And again, on a small wind energy system, I think 90 days before a project-- as a practical matter, if I'm going to put up a small project on my property I'm probably going to be talking to my neighbors before I get to that point.

I also struggled quite a bit on complaint resolution because I am inclined in this area to be a little bit more prescriptive. But, in-- I mentioned in the beginning the balance, leveling the playing field. I think reasonable efforts on the part of the developer to establish a complaint resolution process and to work with the local government to work through these.

And I think it's a common sense. And Andy I think, I really in particular have valued your expertise and guidance throughout this process because I think that as a company and I think that other council members recognize that, you guys have done a pretty good job of striking this balance and so I was persuaded on the complaint resolution process that that is valuable but I'm also hesitant to prescribe a particular solution because I think every community is different, every developer is different, and it should really be, you know, an honest effort between the local government and the developers to set up that complaint resolution process.

So I think to have the rules say you guys should do this without prescribing a particular solution is the best way to proceed.

Again, this is an area where the wind siting council on an ongoing basis could revisit this and wether or not there are good faith efforts being made by developers and by local governments to try to resolve-- to create a process to resolve and work through these complaints.

Again I think, similar to the compensation, I think this process, if developers had used this process I believe an overwhelming majority of the complaints could have been resolved and could have been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. But there wasn't a tradition. There wasn't a history of doing this.

So, on the wind lease and easements, and decommissioning, you will note that I tracked pretty closely to the draft rule. I believe the rules probably came out pretty close in that area.

This is a straw proposal. It's designed to prompt what I am confident will be a vigorous debate and discussion. Just to have a framework out there to shoot at.

6/2/10 Wind siting council finally discusses setbacks and immediately gets pushback from Rep. Soletski of Green Bay who does not like what he is seeing.

Wind council adds variables to turbine debate

SOURCE: The Daily Reporter

June 2, 2010

By Paul Snyder

A Wisconsin lawmaker has some advice for the council charged with developing rules for small wind farms: Keep things simple.

Members of the state’s Wind Siting Council on Wednesday said noise and shadow flicker limits need to be considered to help determine how far wind turbines should be placed from residences. But State Rep. Jim Soletski, D-Green Bay, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities, said trying to determine turbine setback distances by incorporating decibel standards for noise and hour limits for shadow flicker presents too many variables for statewide rules.

“The more variables you throw in,” he said, “the less likely you’ll have wind power in Wisconsin.”

Still, Dan Ebert, the Wind Siting Council’s chairman, said after presentations on noise and setback distances that the council could focus on factors besides distance measurements from residences or property lines.

“I do believe there is a compromise and consensus that can be reached,” he said.

Other members said the council will have to establish a setback distance before it gives its final recommendation to the state Public Service Commission. That recommendation is expected this summer.

“We’re going to have to have a number,” said Larry Wunsch, a Brownsville landowner. “I don’t want to leave that open.”

But Wunsch said the council needs to have more discussion about issues relating to noise, shadow flicker and real estate effects of turbine development before determining an appropriate distance.

Nevertheless, Wunsch suggested a setback distance of 2,500 feet from property lines.

Tom Meyer, a Realtor with Madison-based Restaino & Associates Inc., also suggested a setback distance of up to 2,600 feet from property lines.

But anything more than 1,000 feet would be excessive, Soletski said, and leave too little room for developers to build wind farms.

The council’s discussion Wednesday was the first of what could be many debates in determining an appropriate setback distance, Ebert said.

The council was formed by state law passed last session that mandated the state provide turbine placement standards for wind farms that generate less than 100 megawatts of electricity.

Wind farms that generate more than 100 megawatts are subject to PSC approval, but until the new law passed, local governments had control over turbine placement standards for any projects generating up to 99 megawatts of electricity.

Trying to determine placement standards on sound and shadow flicker setback leaves too much room for ambiguity, Soletski said.

“I think we just need a distance,” he said. “Otherwise what’s the purpose of having the council?”

3/28/10 Will you be an 'affected entity'? and a little more about the siting council: Required reading for the first wind siting council meeting Monday, March 29, 


These bios were provided by the BPWI Research Nerd. If there are any errors or inaccuracies, please contact us immediately by CLICKING HERE so we may correct them.

Selected members were announced March 16, 2010. They include by law,

 Two wind energy system representatives:

Tom Green, Wind developer, senior project manager,  Wind Capitol Group, Dane County. 

Wind Capitol Group is developing a project in Columbia County

"But whether the wind farm goes in, [Tom Green] said, will depend on what the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin decides, as it sets parameters for wind farms - including setback from neighboring properties - that will apply throughout Wisconsin, and which cannot be made stricter by local authorities.

"You can't have a patchwork of rules throughout the state," Green said...

The rules, when they are adopted, will apply to wind farms such as the one proposed by Wind Capital Group - operations that generate less than 100 megawatts."

SOURCE: Portage Daily Register, January 28, 2010

In April 2009 Wind Capital Group sold the Bent Tree Wind project in Freeborn County, Minnesota to Wisconsin Power and Light Co. (WPL), a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation. Dane County


Bill Rakocy, Wind developer, parter and founding member of Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, LLC, WASHINGTON COUNTY

Emerging Energies is developing the Shirley Wind Project in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County. The five hundred foot tall turbines, made by German company, Nordex, will be the largest in the state.

UPDATE: We received an email from a Manitowoc County resident who tells us...

"Bill Rakocy with Emerging Energies also has land signed up in the Mishicot area.  This is a 7 turbine project that was stopped in court with the use of the Manitowoc Co. wind ordnance.   Manitowoc Co. gave them the permits under the old ordinance, but was reversed in court.  Land is still under contract and he will benefit from lesser setbacks that the committee will place in the standards."
We invite Emerging Energies to contact us by CLICKING HERE if this information in inaccurate.

“We’re excited to develop as much wind [power] as we can in Wisconsin,” says partner Bill Rakocy."

“The permitting process is a rather long-term effort,” says Rakocy. “A conditional use permit is good for two years, typically, and it may take you all of that two years to get the balance of the project details put in place. And then there’s production tax credits available from the federal government, and if they expire in the midst of the project, all your work is for naught.”

SOURCE: "Wind Power's Wind Fall" Marketplace Magazine

“For the project, called the Shirley Wind Farm, Nordex will supply cold climate models of the N100s, upgraded to operate in temperatures as low as minus 20° Fahrenheit.  

“We looked very carefully at the N80/N90/N100 Nordex turbines and were convinced by their great track record, along with the quality and experience Nordex brings to the market,” said Bill Rakocy, one of three founders of Emerging Energies.

"We selected the N100s because they accomplish two critical project goals – maximizing available land and wind resources by using the largest, tallest turbines available. We’re excited to introduce them in the US and in Wisconsin.”

The project also represents a shift in the US market toward larger turbines with higher efficiencies and yields. In 2008, the average installed turbine was 1.67 megawatts. Nordex built the first 2.5-megawatt turbine in 2000 and has the longest track record for reliability in the multi-megawatt class, with over 1,000 installed worldwide.

SOURCE: Nordex Press Release


One town representative:

Doug Zweizig,  P&Z Commissioner, Union Township, Professor Emeritus, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Served as acting Chairman of the Town of Union P&Z commission during the development of a large wind ordinance. Rock County

"When asked about health and safety effects of wind turbines, EcoEnergy (the company proposing to locate wind turbines in our township) as well as our local utility simply have denied that there are any concerns, using statements such as “The noise from wind turbines is about the same as a refrigerator running in the room. “ or “The noise from wind turbines is masked by the sound of the wind  blowing.”

These often-repeated statements are demonstrably false and would be laughable if they weren’t so disrespectful of the people suffering from sleep deprivation and other chronic health effects resulting from bad placement of wind turbines in Wisconsin. If they believe what they’re saying, they can’t have listened to their own turbines.

They are counting on the ignorance of landowners, editorial writers, and, frankly, legislators to allow them to make such deceitful claims. (Yet, while denying any adverse effects from placement of wind turbines, EcoEnergy uses the word “mitigation” a lot—betraying their recognition of the need to counteract the effects of wind turbines on humans in their vicinity.)"

SOURCE: Submitted testimony, public hearing before the Senate and Assembly Energy Committee regarding turbine siting reform, May 12, 2009

 One county representative:

Lloyd Lueschow, Green County Board Supervisor, District 28, Village of New Glarus trustee, Green County

Former Director, Integrated Science Services, Wisconsin DNR,


Two energy industry representatives:

Andy Hesselbach, Wind project manager, We Energies, managed Blue Sky/Green Field project in Fond du Lac County, project manager for recently approved Glacier Hills project in Columbia county. BS in Industrial Engineering, MBA.

"Hesselbach said he's concerned about proposals to move turbines farther from people's homes, given the need for Wisconsin to add more renewable power to comply with the state's renewable portfolio standard.

If "the sound or setback standards are modified in any material way, it is unlikely that this project will be developed, and moreover that any large-scale wind project will be built by any entity in the future in the state of Wisconsin," Hesselbach said. "The only option to utilize wind generation would be to develop projects in other states."

"Winds of Change are Blowing" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 24th 2009

 CLICK on the image below to watch Andy Hesselbach in a news segment about Fond du Lac County wind projects.

Dan Ebert,
WPPI Energy; Vice President of Policy and External Affairs,
Former Chairman of Public Service Commission of Wisconsin 2005-2008, former executive assistant to PSC Chair Bernie Bridge.  Transition Personnel Director for Governor Doyle 2002.  

Dan Ebert, who chaired the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for three years between 2005 and 2008, oversees the legislative and regulatory affairs, corporate communicaton and policy development functions for WPPI which serves 49 municipalities and one electric cooperative in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Upper Michigan.

Ebert was appointed to the chairmanship of the PSC in 2005 by Governor Doyle, having been executive assistant at the commission. Current PSC chairman, Eric Callisto, was appointed in 2008 after Ebert vacated his seat. Prior to being a appointed, Callisto had also been executive assistant at the PSC.

Source: New Glarus Utilities, newglarusutilities.com February 2009



Two environmental group representatives:

Michael Vickerman , Executive Director, RENEW Wisconsin, registered lobbyist. RENEW'S "Terawatt Sponsors: include Alliant Energy, American Transmission Company (ATC), Madison Gas & Electric, WE Energies. RENEW also recieves money from Wind developers EcoEnergy, enXco, Horizon Wind Energy, Invenergy LLC, Emerging Energies LLC [SOURCE]

“You can’t stop a project in Wisconsin based on the appearance of these turbines,” [Vickerman] says, “so over the past seven years the opposition has refined its arguments and framed them in the realm of protecting public health and safety.

Here, as far as I’m concerned, is where they reveal their antiwind bias. They allege that they can’t sleep, they suffer from nausea—they express their discomfort in the most hysterical terms, and I think they basically work themselves into a very visceral hatred for wind.

I don’t even know if they have a philosophical objection to wind. They’re maybe congenitally unhappy people and they needed to project their fears and anxieties and resentments onto something new that comes into the neighborhood and disrupts things.”

The Chicago Reader: "There Will Be Wind" May 14, 2009

Ryan Schryver , Global Warming Specialist, Organizer, Advocate: Clean Wisconsin, Madison, Dane County

Click on the image below to hear Ryan Schryver speak about global warming, weather changes in Wisconsin, and the over-use of dirty coal in our state.

Two realtor representatives:

George Krause Jr. Real estate broker: Choice Residential LLC, Manitowoc County. Lifelong resident of the Port Cities area in Manitowoc County, Realtor in Manitowoc area since 1989, he was voted Realtor of the Year by the Manitowoc County Board of REALTORS® Inc. in 2009




Tom Meyer, Realtor, Broker, Restaino & Associates, Middleton, Dane County

Tom Meyer has been a realtor since 1989 and a broker since 1993. P resently
Managing Broker for the Middleton office of Restaino & Associates

Click on the image below to watch Tom Meyer speak about real estate issues or CLICK HERE to watch it at its source


Two landowners living adjacent to or in the vicinity of a wind energy system:

Dwight Sattler Landowner, retired diary farmer, Malone, We Energies Blue Sky/Green Field project Fond du Lac County    

Click on the image below to watch a video of Dwight Sattler


Larry Wunsch, Landowner, fire-fighter, Brownsville, Invenergy Forward Energy wind project, Fond du Lac County

Click on the image below to watch a video of Larry Wunsch

"I have a wind turbine located 1100’ from my home and I can almost see all 86 turbines in the project from my back yard. There will be a lot of testimony today stating that there are no ill effects coming from wind turbines. I am here today to tell you that those statements are nothing but lies.

When the PSC permitted project first came to our Town, we had a lot of questions and concerns.  We asked about noise and were told that they make very little noise.  Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many days where the turbine next to me sounds like a jet engine idling on a taxi-way. There have been many nights where I laid awake from noise generated from these wind turbines.

Think about it. This is a huge, high torque generating device fastened to a 300 foot hollow steel tube mounted to an immense concrete foundation, and you are telling me that this device will not make noise. I am not a sound engineer so I can’t ague sound decibel levels. All I can say is that there are times that these turbines are so noisy that they almost drive me out of my home."

 SOURCE: Public testimony given at a public hearing before the Senate and Assembly Energy Committee regarding turbine siting reform, May 12, 2009 

Click on the image below to watch a video created by Larry Wunsh and submitted as part of his testimony

 Two public members:

David Gilles, attorney specializing in energy regulatory law, shareholder, Godfrey & Kahn Attorneys at Law, former general counsel to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin 2003-2007, former Assistant Attorney General during Jim Doyle's term as Attorney General, Madison, Dane County.   

Jennifer Heinzen, Wind Energy Technology Instructor, Lakeshore Technical College, President of RENEW Wisconsin, Manitowoc County

Manitowoc County Wind Energy Systems Advisory Committee from 2005-2006

"I have spent many hours on and underneath wind turbines of all sizes, and have never felt sick. Nor have any of the systems’ owners/hosts that I’ve met. What makes me sick is the profound hatred these near-sided, selfish, wind opponents have towards change and progress."

Source: Letter from Heinzen to the Editor of Isthmus, Posted on RENEW Website September 29, 2009

"Please believe our intent is in no way to belittle local communities or imply that anyone is “dumb,” as you stated in the article. But when irrational and unfounded fears are propagated and allowed to infest the minds of our local decision-makers, the madness must be stopped. I honestly don’t understand why the WINDCOWS and their allies hate wind power… Money? Aesthetics? I quit trying to rationalize it long ago because it really doesn’t matter.

State Statute 66.0401 outlines local governments’ authority to restrict wind and solar energy systems. Those opposed to a project must prove legitimate health and safety concerns. That’s hard to do, considering no civilian has ever been physically harmed by a wind turbine. Therefore, anecdotal tales of “wind turbine syndrome” run rampant on anti-wind websites, but the “evidence” is nothing more than a conglomeration of exaggerations, misrepresentations, and outright fabrications.

SOURCE: Letter from Heinzen to Representative Bob Ziegelbauer, January 27 2009, posted on RENEW website


One University of Wisconsin System faculty member with expertise regarding the health impacts of wind energy systems:

Jevon McFadden,MD, MPH Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine & Public Health 

 2009 Senior Assistant Resident and graduate of Johns Hopkins Bayview Internal Medicine Residency Program; Epidemiology Intelligence Service, 2009 Lieutenant, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, 1998 Andrews University Student Missionary to Micronisian Island of Yap

 The PSC appoints the members for three−year terms.

The PSC is required to obtain the advice of the council in promulgating rules under the substitute amendment. In addition, the council must survey peer−reviewed scientific research on the health impacts of wind energy as well as national and state regulatory developments regarding the siting of wind energy systems, and submit a report to the legislature every five years describing the research and developments and recommending legislation based on the research and developments.




The high fatality numbers reported in the post construction bird and bat mortality study for Blue Sky/Green Field project in Fond du Lac county have surprised everyone who has seen them.

The report shows that the number of kills in the We Energies project are the highest ever recorded in the Midwest, by as much as ten times the national average.

As far as we can tell, there is no one on the council who has expertise specific to these wildlife and habitat concerns. If you are as disturbed by this as we are, why not contact the PSC and let them know you'd feel better if there was someone on the council who could represent our state's birds and bats and habitat.  

CLICK HERE to download the WEPCO final bird and bat mortality study for Blue Sky/Green Field 

It is also available on Blue Sky/Green Field docket on the the PSC website

Click on the image below to watch a video about the turbines alongside the Horicon Marsh in Fond du Lac County. There is talk of putting turbines even closer to the marsh during Phase Two of hte project.

UPDATE: We have been told that siting council member and Green County supervisor Lloyd Lueschow is a retired biologist and was formerly employed by Wisconsin DNR. 

 Agenda for Monday's meeting:

1) Greetings:

 Overview of process and expectations, time line

 Introduction of Commission staff working with Council

 Open meeting requirements

 Administration of Oath

2) Self-introductions by members of Wind Siting Council

3) Election of officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary

4) Administrative:

 Reimbursement of expenses

 Schedule of Future Meetings

 Designated substitutes

 Instructions regarding use/enrolling in Electronic Regulatory Filing System (ERF)

 Overview of rule-making process and additional Act 40 requirements

5) Review of Draft Rules Outline/topics

 Explain how developed

 Topics/items that are unclear

 Topics/items not in outline which council recommends for inclusion

6) Discussion of how to proceed with future work

7) Next steps/Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.



Wind Siting Rules

SOURCE: PSC Docket 1-AC-231

A. Objective of the Rule:

2009 Wisconsin Act 40 (Act 40) establishes statewide criteria for the installation or use of a wind energy system with a nominal operating capacity of less than 100 megawatts, and helps ensure consistent local procedures for such systems.

Act 40 requires the Commission to promulgate a variety of rules that specify the conditions a city, village, town, or county (political subdivision) may impose on such a system. If a political subdivision chooses to regulate such systems, its ordinances may not be more restrictive than the Commission’s rules.

B. Existing Relevant Policies, New Policies Proposed, and Analysis of Alternatives:

Act 40 identifies several areas that these rules must cover and several areas that they may cover.

It requires that the rules include provisions dealing with the decommissioning of wind energy systems, including restoration of the site, and setback requirements that reasonably protect against health effects that are associated with wind energy systems.

Act 40 also requires rules that specify the information and documentation to be provided in an application for approval, the procedure to be followed by a political subdivision in reviewing the application, the information and documentation to be kept in a political subdivision’s record of its decision, as well as the requirements and procedures for enforcing restrictions included in the rule.

The rules must also require the owner of a wind energy system with a nominal operating capacity of at least one megawatt to maintain proof of financial responsibility ensuring the availability of funds for decommissioning the system.

The rules may also include provisions dealing with issues such as visual appearance, electrical connections to the power grid, interference with radio, telephone or television signals, maximum audible sound levels, and lighting.

Currently, an electric generating facility with a nominal operating capacity of 100 megawatts or more may not be constructed unless the Commission grants a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

Act 40 requires the Commission to consider the restrictions specified in these rules when determining whether to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity. The rules may also require the Commission to consider the conditions specified in these rules when
determining whether to grant a public utility a certificate of authority for a wind farm smaller than 100 megawatts.

Act 40 also creates a 15-person Wind Siting Council that will, among other things, advise the Commission in the drafting of these rules.

C. Summary and Comparison of Federal Regulation in This Area:

There are a number of federal laws that interact with the issues in this rulemaking, although the Commission is not aware of any that deal with the substance of them; that is, the minimum requirements that a political subdivision may impose.

A few of the federal laws that may inter-relate include the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 USC 4321 et. seq., the Endangered Species Act, 16 USC 1531–1544, and 14 CFR Pt. 77, which requires a Federal Aviation Administration airspace study before constructing certain types of projects.

D. Statutory Authority: 

This rule is authorized under ss. 196.02 (1) and (3), 227.11 and newly-created s. 196.378 (4g), Stats.

E. Time Estimates for Rule Development:

The Commission estimates that approximately 800 hours of Commission staff time will be required in this rulemaking.

F. Entities That May Be Affected:

Affected entities include cities; villages; towns; counties; persons and entities that own, want to construct, or want to host wind energy systems; and landowners near such proposed wind energy systems.