WMC: Lauds Senate for allowing uniform standards for small wind farms


James A. Buchen, (608) 258-3400

R.J. Pirlot, (608) 658-0817

Urges Assembly to Approve Bill Today

MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Wednesday lauded the state Senate for approving bi-partisan legislation to allow uniform rules for the development of small wind farms. The Assembly is urged to pass the bill today.

“If Wisconsin has scientifically based, uniform rules for small wind farms, our state will likely see increased interest in developing those wind farms,” said James A. Buchen, vice president of government relations for WMC.

The new law will help Wisconsin meet the statutory requirement that 10 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2015.

WMC on Tuesday urged the Legislature to approve the bi-partisan plan that passed a Senate committee last month. The proposal passed the state Senate on a bi-partisan vote of 23-9, later that day. The measure now moves to the Assembly for action, which is expected to take it up today.

WMC purchases 50 percent of its power at its Madison headquarters from renewable sources such as wind.

In August, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy, and Rail approved the proposal, SB 185. The bill requires the Public Service Commission to issue standardized rules for small wind farms. Local units of government would then apply these uniform standards as they consider small wind farms.

An Assembly committee approved a similar bill in June.

Under current law, the Public Service Commission has permitting authority over all power plants of 100 megawatts or more, including wind farms. Local units of government have permitting authority over all power plants under 100 megawatts, including wind farms. Unfortunately, agreed-upon standards do not exist for local units of government exercising their permitting authority for such power plants. Some local units of government have imposed expensive, time-consuming and scientifically-unjustified restrictions on the development of wind energy power plants. As a result, installation of over 600 megawatts of wind energy power plants is stalled in Wisconsin.

“This bill will help us achieve the 10 percent renewable mandate by 2015,” Buchen said.

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WMC Testimony on AB 256/SB 185