United States

United States

No ill winds in Wisconsin

Regarding "Project up despite utility reluctance" (Windpower Monthly, March 1998). The author expresses concern about the negative tone of the article and attempts to clarify misconceptions it conveys, especially with regard to the level of interest and commitment to the project of the sponsors, owners and other groups involved.

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We read with interest "Project up despite utility reluctance" (Windpower Monthly, March 1998). On behalf of the project sponsors, I am writing to express our concern about the negative tone of the article and clarify misconceptions it conveys, especially with regard to the level of interest and commitment to the project of the Wisconsin utilities, state agencies, local community and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI); and the ownership and sponsorship of the project.

The article incorrectly creates the impression that the Wisconsin wind project is of low priority and interest to the sponsoring utilities and EPRI, and that there is very little interest in the project either nationally or within the state. Neither message is correct.

We think the Wisconsin utilities should be congratulated for their pioneering and visionary application of state-of-the-art wind turbine technology to the moderate wind resource in Wisconsin. In addition, we think that the fact that the Wisconsin utilities followed through and completed the project, despite difficult roadblocks created by the bankruptcies of two different turbine suppliers, speaks for itself and indicates a level of commitment and interest in the project that cannot be ignored. It is also important to note that the project is part of a state-wide Wisconsin wind energy study being conducted by the Wisconsin Wind Energy Task Force, made up of Wisconsin utilities, government bodies and renewable energy lobby groups.

The funding for the project was contributed by the four eastern Wisconsin utilities, in conjunction with EPRI. In addition, the US Department of Energy-EPRI Wind Turbine Verification Program contributed funding and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is providing technical support. Although the cost of the project was shared by the participants, EPRI technically holds the title to the turbines until the end of the project or other specified date, when the title will be transferred to the sponsoring utilities in return for additional data or other compensation for EPRI's financial contribution to the project.

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