United States

United States

Utilities back out of Wisconsin project

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The slow pace of a 30 MW wind project near Addison, Wisconsin, has caused two utilities to back out of their deal with the developer, FPL Energy. The project has been stalled by local residents due to siting disagreements with FPL (Windpower Monthly, April 2000). Both Wisconsin Electric and Alliance Energy, who are under a state mandate to have a combined 50 MW of renewable energy on-line by the end of the year, had agreed to buy power from the project.

"We looked at the delays and decided the project couldn't be ready to meet our mandate by the end of the year," says Margaret Stanfield of Wisconsin Electric. She also blames rising costs due to the relocation of turbines and other factors. The utility has several renewables projects in the works that would meet the legislative deadline, she says, without giving details.

FPL Energy still plans to build its project, however, and is looking for a buyer. "We're discussing power purchases with other entities now and, depending on the outlook, the size of the project may change. But the proposal for the site will essentially be the same," says FPL's Carol Clausen.

Some local citizens continue to have concerns with the project, she adds, while some of its supporters are landowners who would benefit from having wind turbines sited on their land. FPL still expects to file a conditional use permit with the town in early September, Clausen says.

Michael Vickerman at RENEW Wisconsin, a renewables advocacy group, confirms that there is still an opportunity for both utilities to bring on-line "an array of wind projects" by early 2001, but he is less sure that FPL can win over Addison. "As far as we can tell, the FPL project still has a pulse," Vickerman says. "But we haven't been allowed into the emergency room and so don't know the prognosis."

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