Policy & Politics

Published on March 26th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer


Now Wisconsin Loses a Wind Farm

March 26th, 2011 by  

Poor Wisconsin. When a new Tea Party Governor Scott Walker and a matching Tea Party majority was shoe-horned in by the Koch brothers, that speedily reversed the economic benefits that former Governor Doyle had approved to develop new progressive infrastructure. First they disconnected the high speed train connection and then busted the remaining public employee unions, dismantling an educational infrastructure that had been the envy of the nation.

Now a 150 MW wind farm is giving up on the state and taking that clean energy infrastructure elsewhere. Chicago based Invenergy has just withdrawn its plans for a 100 turbine wind farm, originally announced in 2009, to build the second largest wind farm in the state, according to JSOnline:

The company said it was concerned about moving forward because of the state of flux in Wisconsin’s regulatory climate when it comes to wind siting. Governor Walker has proposed a bill that would sharply curtail wind development, and a legislative committee comprised of the newly elected GOP majority, with an apparent fear of wind energy, moved this month to block an alternative bill, that would be less harshly anti wind.

“The absence of regulatory stability has made it imprudent for Invenergy to proceed with investments in a project which unknown regulations might make infeasible to construct,” the company’s director of development, Kevin Parzyck, said in a letter to the state Public Service Commission.

It’s risky to invest in developing nation-states because of “absence of regulatory stability”. But Wisconsin was a state in a developed nation – and we expect the normal trajectory of progress to be from “developing” to “developed” nations or states. But now, we are finding, that the developed status of nations or states can reverse, as well, and the reverse trajectory is just as destabilizing.

It’s just too risky to create infrastructure in states that are un-developing!

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

  • Pkfops

    I feel sorry for WI.

    I live next to the oldest wind farm in the country and my electric bill for a 1800sq ft house averages $25; we used 2 electric radiators for heat this winter.

    Too bad the Koch brothers are forcing people to buy their fossil fuel products.

    Work hard on that recall. We did it here in California even though or problem wasn’t solved.

    Your gov is clearly in someone’s pocket.

  • Pingback: Wind Power Wilts in Wisconsin, Surges in North Dakota – CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views()

  • Sandy

    I live in Florida and feel the pain Wisconsin does in regard to radical tea party activists un-developing, and un-raveling progress! It’s so frustrating! Gasoline is not sustainable -but it sure is making a small group of people very, very, rich for the time being.

  • Pingback: For Our Fans in Wisconsin and Indiana | Foleyville()

  • ken

    I live in the Texas Pan handle where there a many wind farms and more being built. February was unusually cold to the extreme and my electric bill was $39. for the month.The electric company here is moving forward and mixing green with carbon and taking the changes head on. Electricity generation from wind is competing with coal and natural gas and continuing to drop in cost per watt.As far as the view you really have to be going to the wind farms to find them.

  • We have a crazy Republican Governor too. She removed a 60 million dollar donor from our State University board. These people are out to break everything in sight and leave people stuck on oil, in the dark and working for nothing. They’re in a hurry too.

    I would point out that they are doing exactly what they said they would do if you read the think tank product paid for by the people who funded them. The Club for Growth didn’t keep this agenda a secret.

    • True… Your Charleston looks gorgeous, but I guess you pay for that 🙂

  • doug brockman

    I think the issue with the windfarms is they are too inefficient in producing cheap electricity for the masses which we should be able to achieve for decades if not centuries with fossil fuels. The excess funds going into wind would be better spent on social safety net expenditures.

    • Bob Wallace

      Doug, I’m afraid you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Areas with high wind turbine installation have experienced decreased power costs. It’s happened in both Texas and Spain.

      Further more fossil fuels are nowhere as cheap as most people believe. There are immense subsides which we pay to coal with our tax dollars and insurance premiums.

      • …and for those with no insurance, we pay with our lives.

    • Bob Wallace

      Doug, here’s some more information for you…

      Irish wind generation costs analysed

      Wind generation in Ireland does not increase wholesale electricity prices and in fact, the trend is that it lowers them. This is according to a study by Eirgird, the Irish grid operator and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

      (…) The report found that although wind generators have high capital costs, they have no short-term costs as they do not consume fuel.

      By displacing higher cost fossil fuel generation, wind energy tends to reduce the wholesale cost of producing electricity.

      When balanced against other costs, the overall cost impact of wind is less than half of one percent, which is within the study’s margin of error.

      It concludes that the increased use of wind energy on the Irish electricity system increases Ireland’s security of supply and ensures a more diverse fuel supply in the long-term.”


      Susan – stay healthy. We’re getting close to the time when the new health care bill is fully implemented and the uninsured will get covered.

  • Jessica

    Good News! Folks, in a few years you will be thanking Governor Walker for doing the right thing and saving the beautiful state of Wisconsin. Just travelled through Indiana and saw the hundreds of wind farms, DOING NOTHING. Both coming and going from Florida; as still as could be. They are useless, an eyesore, and a big waste of money. The answer is to DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW, the Gulf, and Anwar. Even the liberal progressives I know get THAT! Oh, and get rid of those useless and dangerous CFL light bulbs, too. We’re working on that.

    • Sorry you missed Iowa, Jessica, which gets 20% of its electricity from its wind turbines.

    • Packerstar

      In Iowa they have them along the interstate. We saw them two years ago in the summer, but not one was spinning. In Maui, they have a wind turbine energy production. They claim to get 20% power for the island from the turbines. They are located on the side of a mountain. Which, this makes sense since they are an island. Wind Turbines will not replace oil or nuclear.

    • If you put wind turbines in a stupid place, they are indeed little more than expensive paperweights. A better solution than burning away fossil petrochemical resources we should be saving to make things with, would be to place the wind generators in a place with more wind. Virtually every place that has installed lots of wind generation has seen a large drop in energy costs. This is a fact, and goes to show that the lack of planning you have apparently seen in Indiana is not the rule.

  • Walker and his kind don’t need or want wind turbines or self-sufficiency. Somehow, they manage to buy into the idea that individuals should not depend on government, but should depend hopelessly on corporations with even less accountability to those they “serve.” Uh huh.

    • Packerstar

      Our govt was never intended to support us. Our Pres and our Gov and our Congress & Senate, they work for us. Once you start depending on Govt, to make all your decisions and to give you your food & shelter, then you are living in a Communist world. Yes, be thankful for the Corp who are providing jobs without Govt help. These Corp are the inventors behind our great country keeping our manufacturing still here in the US. Yes be thankful for the Corp such as the drug companies because without their innovations our medications wouldn’t help sick people. Yes, the drug companies, they are corporations, and non union ones at that. So, we all rely on Corporations, especially if you are on any kind of medications or need to be hospitalized. I don’t want the govt interfering in any more aspects of my life. I’ll take the corporations any day.

      • There is a big difference between the Government making important decisions on behalf of society and the Corporations making them. You see, the Government works for us (in theory), and but we either work for the corporations, or have no real influence on what decisions they make. In other words, at least with a democracy or a republic the people have levers of power, but if the Corporations are in charge we will be utterly at their mercy.

        And, by the way, this response is truly ironic given that the article is about a foolish Government action to foil the desires of private interests to build a wind farm. The biggest problem I have with Government regulation is when it unfairly favors one industry over another.

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