Gov. Walker's war on wind claims another victim; 2nd wind farm cancelled

Alliant Energy Corp. announced recently that it has dropped plans to develop a 100-MW wind farm in Wisconsin's Green Lake and Fond du Lac counties.  The project, which would have generated enough electricity to power the equivalent of 30,000 homes, was the second proposed wind farm to be scrapped since Gov. Scott Walker took office and unveiled plans to sharply restrict wind development in the state.  In addition, construction of a third wind project has been deferred indefinitely.

The trend of wind developers throwing in the towel in the Badger State contrasts strikingly with the results of an April poll which found 77% of the state's residents supporting increasing the use of wind power and 69% favoring installation of wind turbines “located close to where you live.”

While Walker's proposal has not passed the Wisconsin legislature, lawmakers took a different route to introduce uncertainty–the bane of new business–into the wind farm siting process by suspending a consensus siting rule that the state's public utility commission had worked out in a multi-stakeholder negotiation.

The results of that action are now clear.  As wind energy advocates predicted, development in what is the nation's 16th windiest state (with enough wind to power the equivalent of more than 26 million homes) has essentially stopped in its tracks.

Alliant Energy Chairman and CEO Bill Harvey put it this way in a conference call with investors: “Events arising in the first quarter of 2011 lead us to conclude it would be difficult to effectively use the site for wind development.”  Indeed.

Further reading:

Wisconsin anti-wind bill is job killer, January 19, 2011

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