Thursday, March 15, 2012

Midwest Wind Farms Pick Up Steam – Wait! Is That A Mixed Metaphor?

The twin spectres of reduced property values, and piles of dead birds and bats have long plagued developeers of proposed wind turbine farms in Midwestern states. Now, however, two victories for wind farm development may be the twittering birds of a new spring for wind power development in the region. In Wisconsin, it appears Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to rescind a Public Service Commission wind siting rule. The uncertainty about the fate of the rule has held up wind farm development in Wisconsin since 2010.

In Ohio, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling March 6, 2012, upholding the decision of the Ohio Power Siting Board to permit construction of a 9,000 acre wind farm by Buckeye Wind LLC. Opponents of the project contended befire the Board and the lower courts that the 541 foot required setback of wind turbines from neighboring property was insufficient to protect against damage by turbine blades breakig loose and flying through the air onto a neighbor’s land.

While neither of these decisions settles the issues once and for all time, both of them give some hope to the proposals of beleagured wind power developers in the Midwestern United States.

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