March 16, 2012
Program and Policy Director
RENEW Cheers End of Wind Siting ImpasseImproved Regulatory Climate Will Attract New Projects
Capping a bitter four-year struggle, the Legislature cleared the path for wind energy development to resume in Wisconsin under clear and consistent rules.
By adjourning without passage of bills restricting wind development, the Legislature allowed a statewide permitting rule developed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to take effect. That rule, which the PSC issued in late 2010 after extensive deliberation and public comment, was suspended by a legislative oversight committee on March 1, 2011.
“During the PSC rule suspension, wind development slowed to a virtual standstill, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in construction and manufacturing opportunities, as well as a significant revenue hit to landowners and local governments,” said Michael Vickerman, Program and Policy Director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide organization advocating for more clean renewable energy.
For 2012, wind energy companies in each of the states surrounding Wisconsin are constructing hundreds of megawatts of new generating capacity, compared with a projected addition of five megawatts here, enough to power only 1,000 houses, according to Vickerman.
“We hope this outcome will end the wind industry’s exodus to greener pastures. As with any other economic sector, the wind industry will flourish in a welcoming environment where the rules of the road are clear and consistently applied. We believe that the long-delayed rule will provide the certainty needed by investors, contractors, local governments, and landowners.”