Suspension of rule created regulatory uncertainty that drove wind farm developers away
MADISON — Today, clean energy businesses and advocates celebrated the reinstatement of the statewide, uniform wind siting rule, PSC 128. This important rule, which was suspended by a legislative committee last March, creates commonsense standards for permitting safe wind farms.
“The suspension of the wind siting rule drove several wind companies out of Wisconsin, costing our state hundreds of jobs and entrenching our reliance on expensive, dirty fossil fuels,” says Amber Meyer Smith, Clean Wisconsin’s director of government relations. “The wind siting rule will help lead our state to a cleaner, economically stronger future. Ending its suspension is a victory for Wisconsin.”
Last March, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted on party lines to suspend PSC 128, a set of rules created by the Public Service Commission to replace a chaotic patchwork of local ordinances for permitting wind farms with sensible, statewide standards. The rule suspension returned uncertainty to the process and in the following months, a number of companies pulled the plug on several proposed wind projects in the state.
“It didn’t take long to find out just how bad of an idea it was to suspend the wind siting rule. Within weeks, our state lost several wind farms and hundreds of jobs they were creating,” says Smith. “Why continue to spend billions of dollars every year for dirty, out-of-state fossil fuels when we can create jobs by harvesting clean energy right here at home?”
The full Legislature is required to pass a bill for a rule suspension to become permanent. The Senate’s adjournment yesterday means the rule goes back into effect immediately, according to the Public Service Commission.
“A January poll showed that 85 percent of Wisconsin voters support wind energy, and the wind siting rule will help bring more safe wind farms to our state,” says Smith. “We’re glad this job-killing suspension has finally come to an end.”