Deadline Set for PSC to Rewrite Rules to Regulate Wind Energy Industry

10/10/11 – The state Public Service Commission has five months to rewrite new rules to regulate Wisconsin’s wind energy industry – or else original rules drafted by all affected parties would automatically go in place. Republican state lawmakers scrapped the original rules last March, leaving the industry in limbo. Those lawmakers told the P-S-C to draft a new package – but seven months later, the agency is not close to reaching an agreement. Kristin Ruesch of the P-S-C says the sticking points are the same as they’ve always been – the effects of the wind turbines’ noise and light flickers on the neighbors, and the risk of lower property values. And all those issues are connected to how far turbines should be set back from neighboring houses. In January, Republican Governor Scott Walker went along with a request by Realtors to lengthen the setback from 450-feet to 18-hundred feet. But the wind industry howled at Walker’s bill, saying it would kill Wisconsin’s wind energy that thrived during the Doyle years. The bill was scrapped. And because the state has no regulations, five major wind farm projects have been delayed or canceled. And the industry said it cost the state’s economy up to one-point-six billion dollars, plus up to a-thousand jobs.