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United States

FPL ends campaign to build Addison wind farm

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FPL Energy has ended its two-and-a-half year campaign to build what was to be Wisconsin's biggest wind farm near Addison after the town's planning commission decided upon public health and safety setback limits that would have reduced the project from 25 MW to about 7 MW. FPL first applied for a conditional use permit in September 1999, but immediately ran into opposition from some residents so vocal that it nearly stopped city government operations in mid-2001 (Windpower Monthly, December 2001). The town board was unable to meet in June and July and for a time was unable to process payroll for town employees. Early this year the planning commission dealt the final death blow to the project at its January 17 meeting when it granted the permit, but required that each turbine be set back 305 metres from any residence, structure or public right-of-way, much farther than the 198 metres proposed by FPL. One project opponent, Cathy Lawton, claimed that if lightning hit a tower, blade parts would burst out over 457 metres. The planning commission says its prescribed setback should be sufficient to guard against that potential, including ice thrown from blades. Michael Vickerman of RENEW Wisconsin says the new requirements are onerous and "go way beyond what are in place at other Wisconsin wind farms and have no basis in protecting public health and safety." The township of Addison is left with more than $31,000 in legal bills and farmers who had signed lease agreements with FPL are left with nothing.

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