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Turbine developer plans open house

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GINA R. HEINE
January 25, 2008
— Three windmills versus 67?

That’s what developers want to educate Evansville residents about by hosting an event Monday night to answer their questions.


EcoEnergy will run an open house from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at J.C. McKenna Middle School to educate area residents about wind energy and answer questions specific to the project proposed in Union Township.


“One of our goals is to try and establish clear and open communication with landowners and the community as soon as we can,” said Curt Bjurlin, EcoEnergy Wisconsin project developer.


Much anticipated maps of the project will be available, he said, but they won’t show exactly where the company wants to site turbines because they’re just early-stage planning maps.


“The intent is to share with the community the information that we know about potential wind speeds in the area and some of the areas that might be suitable,” he said.


EcoEnergy has given contracts to landowners to review, but no contracts have been signed, he said.


The 4.5-megawatt Union Township/Evansville wind project proposes putting up three turbines west of the city specifically for the Evansville municipal water and light utility.


The power generated would be sold to Wisconsin Public Power, a regional power company serving 49 customer-owned electric utilities, including Evansville. The three turbines would produce an estimated 12 million kilowatt hours annually. It's estimated the three turbines would supply about 16 percent of Evansville's load.


That project is different from the 100-megawatt wind farm of up to 67 turbines proposed for Magnolia Township. Power produced there would go into a transmission line and into the power grid. EcoEnergy will hold a similar open house for the EcoMagnolia project.


Project developers want the public to separate the two projects and understand the differences between the Magnolia and Union/Evansville sites.


WPPI wants to install up to 25 megawatts of wind energy dispersed across its member communities, including the 4.5 megawatts in Evansville, said Anne Rodriguez of WPPI. After soliciting bids, EcoEnergy became the developer, and WPPI will contract for the power for the life of the project, she said.


“It gives us locally sited resources without a need for transmission lines. We get the economy of scale of a larger wind farm, but having (it) distributed through a number of communities,” she said.


The project would interconnect with Evansville water and light utility distribution lines for the power to be used locally.


If you go

EcoEnergy will hold an open house so residents can learn more about three wind turbines proposed for Union Township, west of Evansville. The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at J.C. McKenna Middle School, 307 S. 1st St., Evansville. No formal presentation is planned.


The Town of Union Wind Turbine Study Committee will present its findings and draft of an ordinance to regulate large wind energy systems at the Town of Union Plan Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Eager Free Public Library, 39 W. Main St., Evansville.



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