Wind farm developer’s appeal rejected by Wisconsin Public Service Commission over noise concerns

From QuixotesLastStand

Thomas Content — The Journal Sentinel — March 1, 2013

The state Public Service Commission on Friday declined to reconsider its denial of a construction permit for a wind farm in northwest Wisconsin.

By a 2-to-1 vote, the commission decided not to grant an emergency request filed last week by Emerging Energies, the company seeking to develop the Highland Wind Farm in St. Croix County.

In its appeal, Emerging Energies said it had new information showing it could meet the commission’s concerns about turbine noise levels near homes. The developer said it could preprogram turbines that might create noise problems to ramp down or be “curtailed” during periods when noise levels would be exceeded – during periods of low wind speeds at night.

Commission Chairman Phil Montgomery and Commissioner Ellen Nowak voted to deny the request, while Commissioner Eric Callisto said he would support allowing the new evidence submitted by the developer to be taken into account. The PSC was creating a “moving target” for applicants in its deliberations on the renewable energy project, he said.

Nowak said the commission would be setting a bad precedent by straying from its typical process of allowing applicants a time to appeal – once the commission’s final written decision has been issued.

In this case, the request came in between the commissioners’ Feb. 14 discussion of the proposal and the issuance of a final written decision, Nowak said.

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