Wisconsin left way, way behind in wind energy boom
The state of Wisconsin is seriously lagging in the wind power boom that’s sweeping much of the rest of the nation — and it’s not because it lacks for wind.
In 2012, a year that saw a nationwide surge in wind farm installations as developers rushed to beat expiring tax credits, Wisconsin added only 18 megawatts of capacity.
By comparison, Michigan and Ohio, with much lower wind potential, had already installed 138 MW and 308 MW in just the first three quarters.
Compared to other Midwestern states, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom in both wind projects under construction and in queue, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Challenges to wind energy have come from nearly every level of government.
/ Ralf BroskvarA coal-fired power plant pumping out pollution in Sheboygan County, where a small town is worried about the health effects of four proposed wind turbines.
Gov. Scott Walker (R) has pushed legislation that would hamper wind developments, and some state lawmakers and local officials have also tried to throw roadblocks in front of the wind industry.
The town of Sherman, Wis., for example, is kicking up a fuss over a wind developer’s application to build four wind turbines, enough to power 4,000 homes. Town officials have asked the state to impose a moratorium on pending wind farm applications.
[U]nder state law, town leaders were given 45 days … to review the developer’s application to ensure it’s complete. Once the application is deemed complete, they’ll have another 90 days to hold a public hearing and then vote to approve or reject it.
But Sherman Town Chairman William Goehring said town officials feel that the state-imposed time line should be put on hold given unresolved questions about potential health risks with wind farms and a lack of clarity under state law on how wind farms can meet noise standards.
Never mind that there’s no scientific evidence that wind turbines make people sick (though they do make some people annoyed).
When will the Badger State pull its head out of the snow and join the rest of the nation in the wind- and solar-powered energy and jobs boom?
John Upton is a science aficionado and green news junkie who
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