The Dodge County Farm Bureau in south-east Wisconsin has given its approval to the 54 MW Butler Ridge wind farm to be built this year by Midwest Renewable Energy near the town of Herman. It is one of three projects announced by We Energies as part of the utility's 204 MW wind expansion resulting from its 2003 solicitation (Windpower Monthly, August 2003). The We Energies projects could increase Wisconsin wind capacity this year from 53 MW to 257 MW if Congress is quick to extend wind's federal production tax credit. Minneapolis-based Navitas Energy was tapped by the utility to build the other two projects, at 80 MW. The solicitation will take the utility to within 60% of its self-imposed renewables portfolio standard (RPS) of 5% by 2011. In approving the wind project, the farmers noted that the income from wind turbines will not save the agricultural industry, but it can provide another source of needed income for farmers. The farm bureau's approval is not needed for the project to move forward, but farmers are concerned about the opposition to wind development in Wisconsin that often originates from outside the farming community. FPL Energy gave up in 2002 on its plan to build a project on farmland outside Addison, Wisconsin, largely due to opposition by residents in the town (Windpower Monthly, March 2002).
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol