It seems to be a bit of a recurring theme when I hear/read about proposed projects dropping off the radar because of complications with local or state governments. Of course the most notable was T. Boone Pickens efforts in west Texas, but while the rest of the cases don’t get national media attention they still happen more than you may think.
A local newspaper in Greenbay, Wisconsin reported yesterday that Invenergy (one of the nations largest wind project developers) has made the decision to drop it’s 100-turbine project that was slated to be installed in Brown county. In letters to the Public Service Commission and contracted land leasers, Invenergy stated their reason for pulling out as being a lack of stability among state regulators. Frankly, I’m surprised by this statement since Wisconsin has an RES goal of 10% by 2015 and they are only currently at 5% renewable energy capacity. From my perspective (admittedly less-informed on local issues) it seems that Wisconsin should be mirroring the efforts the Texas has been making and actively seek out renewable projects, not fight to shut them down.
According to Invenergy’s corporate statement on this decision it is “a business decision in which we could not justify continuing to make significant financial commitments in maintaining the Ledge project while uncertainty persists regarding relevant project regulations.” Isn’t that ridiculous? If Invenergy is wanting and willing to spend tens of millions of dollars in a community that is experiencing over 9% unemployment, shouldn’t the government, both local and state, endorse the move? I sure think so, especially considering the following quote from the Wrightstown Town Chairman, William Verbeten. “Sooner or later we’re going to have to do something, whether it’s solar, wind energy, or I don’t know what.”
Local officials know that they need to start participating in the state mandated renewable energy standards, but in this case they are just choosing to put it off. However, their economies (and most every local economy around the nation) can’t afford to put off this sort of investment. They need to take control, get things moving, and jump on the bandwagon if they are going to improve the quality of life for their constituents.
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