From an article by Rick Chamberlin in Midwest Energy News:
LINCOLN TOWNSHIP, Wis. — When the 31 Vestas wind turbines in
northeast Kewaunee County, Wisconsin began producing electricity in the
summer of 1999, a moderate Republican named Tommy Thompson was a few
months into his fourth term as governor. Relative peace reigned between
the parties in the legislature, statewide unemployment was at a record
low and the Dow had just topped 10,000 for the first time.
But in Lincoln and Red River townships, where the turbines were
erected, the climate was anything but mild. Residents’ tempers had been
flaring since before April 1998 when Madison Gas & Electric (MGE)
hosted the first meetings in the community about its plans to build 11.2
megawatts of wind power in the area. Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), a
Green Bay-based utility, had also announced its intention to build a
large-scale wind farm in the area.
Despite the heat, the two utilities found more than enough landowners
in the two towns willing to host all 31 turbines, and the town boards
soon voted to approve conditional use permits for the projects. But
pressure from several vocal landowners convinced the Lincoln town board
in February of 1999 to amend its zoning ordinance to require board
affirmation of all applications for future conditional use permits. A
few months later, both townships adopted 18-month moratoriums on future
wind farm sitings.
“We had some real knock-down-drag-outs,” said Mick Sagrillo, who
chaired a committee charged with evaluating the impact of the projects
on residents and proposing any changes to the permit process. More than
anything, Sagrillo said, people feared change. . . .
A 2003 study
by the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) found “no significant
evidence that the presence of the wind farms had a negative effect on
residential property values” in the communities closest to the Kewaunee
County turbines. . . .
When asked if dollars promised to landowners and the townships have
materialized, Jerabek said, “I haven’t had any landowners complain that
they haven’t received their lease payment.”
An excellent video tells the same story.