From an article by Sean Ryan in The Daily Reporter:

The first wind turbine gear Milwaukee Area Technical College purchased got scorched in a California brush fire and it took months to find a replacement.

The equipment, a used Vestas Wind Systems 90 kilowatt turbine, was in storage at Halus Power Systems’ facility waiting to be refurbished for use at the MATC Mequon campus when a fire blew through in 2006. Halus had to get another set of gear, and the technical college had to pay another few thousand dollars because there was a shorter supply of the gear a year later, said Al Evinrude, director of construction services for the campus.

The Mequon turbine, envisioned to be a demonstration project and educational tool, has been in the works since 2005. But, after delays caused by the fire and a year-long delay after MATC’s original contractor dropped out of the project, PieperPower, Milwaukee, on Wednesday began to install the gear atop a turbine tower.

There were some unique challenges with the Mequon project, but all plans to build smaller-scale turbines, as opposed to wind farms, require a lot of lead time, said Mick Sagrillo, wind specialist for Focus on Energy. Focus on Energy gave grants to the MATC project in 2005.

He said before anybody hits the market to buy the gear, they need two permits — zoning approval to build the structure and permission from the local utility to connect it to the power system.

“Once you’ve got those two documents in hand, now you’ve got basically permission to build a wind turbine,” he said. “And until you have those two pieces of paper in your hand, you don’t want to put any money down.”

Lakeshore Technical College will visit the Cleveland Plan Commission on Sept. 3 to ask permission to build two 65-kilowatt wind turbines. The college built a turbine in 2005, so it already has negotiated the zoning picture, said Doug Lindsey, Lakeshore Tech dean of agriculture, apprenticeships, trade and industry.