WMC: Urges Legislature to allow standards for small wind farms


James A. Buchen (mailto:[email protected]) , (608) 258-3400

R.J. Pirlot (mailto:[email protected]) , (608) 658-0817

MADISON — Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Tuesday urged the Legislature to approve bi-partisan legislation to allow uniform rules for the development of small wind farms.

“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 is being considered in the Senate today, and is expected to be considered in the Assembly later.

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