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PSC rejects plans to create wind farm in St. Croix County


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A company that wants to create a wind energy farm in far western Wisconsin says it will keep trying, after the State Public Service Commission said no to its project Thursday.

The panel voted 2 to 1 against a plan by Emerging Energies of Hubertus to set up 41 wind turbines in the St. Croix County town of Forest.

The Highland project, as it was called, would have produced over 102-megawatts of electricity – enough to provide power to 30,000 homes.

The commission still left the door open for another application, after a new study is done on the effects of noises from a wind farm affecting area residents.

Commissioner Ellen Nowak said the developer never proved that its project would have complied with a standard noise level of less than 45-decibels at night.

It was the first major wind project to be considered by the PSC since Governor Scott Walker appointed two of the panel’s three members. In 2011, Walker proposed longer setbacks for wind turbines from rural homes and property lines – but lawmakers never considered them, and the governor made no other initiatives himself.

Former Governor Jim Doyle was a champion of wind energy. His only remaining appointee on the commission, Eric Callisto, said he would have allowed the project only with binding conditions to protect nearby residents from excessive noise.