• WisBusiness

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

GreenBiz: Wind energy blowing hot and cold in state

By Gregg Hoffmann
The wind energy industry has been blowing hot and cold in Wisconsin during the recession, and according to some advocates, has faced negative factors and obstacles that go beyond the economic times.

A couple new projects have started. More could be on the way. But, progress in moving to what many feel could be a key sustainable energy source has been slowed somewhat by tight credit, limited venture capital and other financial factors during the overall economic downturn.

The American Wind Energy Association reported last year that the recession was taking "a serious toll" on wind energy development in the nation and Wisconsin. It noted that the industry was "already seeing layoffs in the area where wind's promise is greatest for our economy."

Wisconsin ranked 15th in the country in wind energy capacity in 2009, according to the AWEA. But, much of that capacity has not been developed because of what the executive director of RENEW Wisconsin terms "state specific" factors.

"There is no new construction currently going on in the state," Michael Vickerman said. "The recession is not the main reason for that."

Vickerman said major factors include siting problems around the state, in part because of local governments' restrictive ordinances, utilities wanting to control all generation of power and the practice of some utility companies of locating wind farms in surrounding states and then bringing the power from those sources to Wisconsin customers.

After two small wind farms go into operation this year in Dane and Brown counties, the state will have 479 megawatts of power coming from wind, Vickerman said. Minnesota has 2,000 megawatts and Iowa 3,600. Power from out-of-state sources can go toward satisfying state utilities' "quota" for renewable energy.

"Only Michigan trails Wisconsin in the Upper Midwest," Vickerman said.

According to the RENEW Wisconsin web site, nine wind energy projects had been completed in the state from 1998 to 2009. The largest of those are an 86 turbine project in Fond du Lac/Dodge counties and an 88 turbine farm in Fond du Lac county.

Twenty-two projects had been proposed as of July 2009, as interest in sustainable energy has grown and the Obama administration has promoted such alternatives. But, seven of those projects have not received permits. They include a proposed 98-turbine project in Two Creeks by Pattern Energy. Projects of more than 100 turbines in Stockbridge-Brothertown and 99 turbines in Rock and Belmont counties also are listed as having no permits.

Work has not started on others that do have permits. One in the Ridgeville-Wilton area is listed as being "in litigation."

Seven proposed projects are listed as having 2010 in-service dates, but some of those could be slowed by the economy and, in some cases, opposition from some citizens in communities where they would be located.

On Jan. 11 of this year, the Public Service Commission approved a permit for what would be the largest wind farm in the state, a 90-turbine facility called Glacier Hills in Columbia County.

Cost of the facility, to be built by Wisconsin Electric Power Company, could reach $435 million. Work is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of this year, with completion in 2011.

"When built, Glacier Hills will be the largest wind farm in Wisconsin," said PSC chairman Eric Callisto when the permit was granted. "Today's action will not only provide the state with a facility that will increase the capacity of generation from wind by 30 to 46 percent, but also will allow the utility to provide needed renewable and low carbon energy to make future RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) requirements."

Some citizen groups expressed concern about the Glacier Hills wind farm. Opposition to wind farms in Byron township in Fond du Lac County has divided neighbors and prompted controversy.

In Manitowoc County last year, the Board of Adjustment rejected a request by Emerging Energies LLP to build a seven-turbine wind far in the Town of Mishicot. That led to wind energy supporters challenging the county ordinance on wind farm permits and calling for the state, not local governments, to have the say where wind farms are located.

State Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer, who also is Manitowoc County executive, told The Daily Reporter the county ordinance was "reasonable and was created in good faith." He added, "This isn't the final say in the matter by any means."

Concerns from neighbors about wind farms usually revolve around aesthetics of the operations, noise from the turbines and possible negative impacts on migratory birds. Some also doubt how efficient wind energy is.

Out-of-state wind farms that will serve Wisconsin customers are not immune to opposition. A lawsuit could delay the construction of the Bent Tree facility in Minnesota. The Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group and the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin sued the Public Service Commission claiming the latter approved the project without adequate analysis of possible environmental effects and costs. Alliant Energy plans to use electricity from the plant for Wisconsin customers.

Legislation passed last fall that would transfer permitting for wind farms from local governments to the state. The Public Service Commission still has to enact the transfer.

"That should help next year," Vickerman said.

The bad economy also has caused some wind energy developers to cut back or at least move slower on projects. Sun Prairie-based Wave Wind, cut its staff from 85 in 2008 to the mid-20s in 2009 because of the downturn.

"Last year was slow," Wave Wind VP Jeff Wilkinson told WisBusiness.com recently. "We hope 2010 will be a mirror image of 2008. Our business was down last year, but compared to the industry, we were above the average."

Some potential projects other than wind farms also have supporters of the industry hopeful. A Spanish company, Ingeteam, has talked with state and Milwaukee officials about locating a turbine generator factory in the city. That factory could create 100 to 200 jobs and provide needed equipment to state wind projects as well as others around the world.

The state also has a handful of companies working on wind energy components, including:
-- Red Arrow Energy Systems in Hubertus making wind turbines;
-- Magnetek in Menomonee Falls making power inverters for wind turbines, and;
-- Bassett Mechanical in Kaukauna planning to manufacture wind turbine towers.

State government has taken some steps to help the wind industry develop. Gov. Jim Doyle signed a turbine-siting law on Sept. 30 that many believe will make it easier to build wind farms in the state.

Legislation ranging from the establishment of Advanced Renewable Tariffs to provide long-term economic support for smaller scale energy resources to more standardization for wind energy permitting process are possibilities. Some bills have created controversy and could take longer than advocates hoped.

Perhaps the biggest of these bills from the viewpoint of wind energy advocates is the Clean Energy Jobs Act. It was introduced Jan. 7 of this year and incorporates several energy-related policies recommended by Gov. Doyle's Global Warming Task Force.

If adopted, it would increase the state's Renewable Energy Standard to 25 percent by 2025. The bill proposes buyback rates that would stimulate the installation of smaller scale renewable generation.

"To be certain that Glacier Hills will not be the last large wind project constructed in Wisconsin, the Legislature must raise the current renewable-energy standard on utilities," Vickerman said.

"The provisions in the recently introduced Clean Energy Jobs Act, which we strongly support, would life that requirement to 25 percent by 2025."

Wind energy advocates say that now is the time for Wisconsin to better position itself, so more projects can start when the economy starts to recover.

-- Hoffmann has written many columns and features for WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com over the years. He will write the GreenBiz column monthly.


Comments: 5

At January 21, 2017 at 1:17 AM, Blogger bettycyoung said...

good clicking or touching on anything. You will certainly obtain https://tutuappguide.com Tutu app and also Pokemon Go in Chinese. Tap on the nice.

At February 18, 2017 at 5:52 AM, Blogger virginiaddavis45kn@gmail.com said...

Great can make the control panel personalized. These will https://tubidy-mobi.org Tubidy is a mobile video search engine which makes Fine.

At April 24, 2017 at 2:27 AM, Blogger ruthduff said...

When you are in a state of mind for enjoyment, you need to not intend mobdro download app you obtained knowledgeable about Mobdro streaming app.

At June 14, 2017 at 2:25 AM, Blogger nancycongdon said...

Tutu Helper is offered for mobile phone platforms like iphone and also Android. itutuhelper.com There is no usage looking for the Tutu Helper APK on the Play Store.

At June 4, 2018 at 1:01 AM, Blogger jaastark said...

great post thanks for sharing this wonderful post
tutuapp apk
tutuapp for mac
tutuapp for iphone
tutuapp apk download
tutuapp for android
tutuapp for blackberry
tutuapp apk download
tutuapp apk for pc
tutuapp for pc
tutuapp for ios
tutuapp alternative
tutuapp for android


Post a Comment

Back to BizOpinion main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

BizOpinion site feed

wisbusiness.com Social News

Follow Us

Site Sponsors


· January 2009
· February 2009
· March 2009
· April 2009
· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· October 2016
· December 2016
Copyright ©2013 WisBusiness.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisPolitics.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications