Wind for Wisconsin: Wind siting reform gains strong, bipartisan committee vote

Contact: Noah Seligman, 608-215-9370

The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities passes AB 256, wind siting reform, on a 10-2 vote.

The 12-member Assembly Committee on Energy & Utilities voted 10-2 to
advance AB 256 (Senate companion SB 185), wind siting reform, to the
full Assembly. The vote was bipartisan, with five Democrats and five
Republicans on the committee voting in favor of the bill. Wind siting
reform has 20 cosponsors in the Assembly and 11 in the Senate, with
support from both parties.

A substitute amendment was added on an 11-1 vote that would require the
PSC to hold two public hearings outside of Dane County as part of its
rule-making. The amendment also provided additional wildlife
protections, technical changes, and inclusion of Smart Growth planning
in regulating wind energy projects.

“The bipartisan committee approval demonstrates strong consensus on
the need for wind siting reform,” said Curt Pawlisch, spokesman for
Wind for Wisconsin. “Wind siting reform will be an engine for
economic activity in Wisconsin, attract new investment opportunities,
and support current state energy policy.”

SB 185/AB 256 directs the Public Service Commission (PSC) to initiate
an administrative rule-making process to establish statewide siting
standards for wind energy projects. The PSC is an independent
regulatory agency dedicated to serving the public interest. The bill
draft requires the PSC to establish an advisory committee of diverse
interests to advise the Commission on the rules. The legislature will
have the opportunity to review the proposed rules prior to their

Wind for Wisconsin is optimistic that a floor vote in the Assembly
would garner the same strong bipartisan support demonstrated in
committee and among cosponsors.