Wisconsin Energy Business Association: Second developer flees hostile regulatory environment

Contact: Shaina Kilcoyne

[email protected] / (608) 251-0101

MIDWEST WIND SUSPENDS DEVELOPMENT ON CALUMET COUNTY PROJECT

The second major wind developer in as many weeks has halted development of a project in Wisconsin following further action by a committee of the state legislature to create continued regulatory uncertainty for the wind industry.

Just one day after a legislative committee voted to introduce a bill blocking a statewide wind siting rule from going into effect, Midwest Wind Energy, LLC announced that it will suspend efforts to develop a large wind project in Wisconsin. The 98-megawatt project would have brought $225 – $245 million in direct investment to the state.

“It doesn’t make sense to devote significant dollars to a state that is creating unreasonable roadblocks for wind development,” stated Midwest Wind president Stefan Noe. In a press release announcing the project suspension, Noe cited the recent suspension of the wind siting rule, which was over 2 years in the making. Added Noe, “Most states are clearly open for renewable energy development and the economic development dollars and jobs that come with it.”

The announcement of Midwest Wind’s project suspension comes after another major wind developer canceled a project in Wisconsin. Invenergy Wind LLC’s 150-megawatt project in Brown County would have generated over $1.2 million annually in revenues to local governments and landowners. The Invenergy and Midwest Wind projects together would have produced enough energy to power nearly 100,000 Wisconsin homes.

“Wind energy would provide new investment in Wisconsin, good jobs in manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance, as well as low, stable energy costs,” said Shaina Kilcoyne of the Wisconsin
Energy Business Association. “It’s unfortunate that the regulatory uncertainty around wind siting in Wisconsin is continuing. The whole purpose of the wind siting law passed by the legislature by wide bipartisan margins was to create reasonable statewide siting standards for this critical new source of energy.”

While the local economy benefits directly by revenues paid by wind projects to Wisconsin manufacturers, construction workers, suppliers, landowners, townships, counties, and others, there are also significant multiplier effects from this type of infrastructure investment. Wind projects in Wisconsin would also support the wind energy supply chain, providing products like steel towers and blades and allowing Wisconsin companies to expand. The economic benefits from these projects include much more than their initial construction cost.