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County OK of wind farm permit appealed
wind mills

LANCASTER — A Grant County committee that rarely meets will hear the appeal of a conditional use permit for a wind farm project in the towns of Clifton and Wingville.

The Grant County Conservation, Sanitation and Zoning Committee’s Board of Adjustment will meet in the Administration Building in Lancaster Friday, Sept. 22 at 8 a.m.

Twelve people are listed on the board’s agenda as appealing the committee’s approval of a conditional use permit for Allete Clean Energy of Duluth, Minn., for the Whitetail Wind Farm project.

The appeal applicants claim that the Conservation, Sanitation and Zoning Department did not provide application forms to Allete Clean Energy, “making the application incomplete resulting in critical information from the Town of Clifton to not be considered” by the committee.

The zoning committee approved the conditional use permit for the Whitetail Wind project July 6, with Grant County District 17 Sup. Brian Lucey opposed.

The Board of Adjustment has three citizen members, none of whom are members of the zoning committee, which is made up of six county supervisors.

Allete Clean Energy proposes to install 21 2- to 4.2-megawatt wind turbines in the Town of Clifton to generate 70 megawatts of power.

One meteorological tower is proposed for the north side of Livingston just west of the Grant–Iowa county line. A substation is proposed for Ebenezer Road west of Stockyard Road in the Town of Wingville.

The Town of Clifton Board June 30 approved a six-month moratorium on wind projects in the township.

The committee required that Allete equip the wind turbines with red-blinking aircraft clearance lights set off by motion sensors instead of having the tower lights going off all night. That requirement assumes approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The committee vote came despite overwhelming opposition in person and in submitted statements on the proposed project.

The project does not require a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the state Public Service Commission because the project is smaller than 100 megawatts, according to the application. The project does require a zoning permit and a conditional use permit from the county because the Town of Clifton is under county zoning and does not have zoning regulated by the township.

The application lists the towers as 410 to 650 feet tall from ground to the tip of the top blade, with rotor diameter of up to 492 feet. The application says that Whitetail Wind is negotiating with a wind turbine supplier “and will confirm the final number and model(s) of turbines” for the project when negotiations conclude.

According to the May application, the project’s boundaries run from the Clifton–Lima town line on Austin Road and Clifton Road to Ebenezer Road in the Town of Wingville, and to the Grant–Iowa county line to the northeast.

The application says the project is expected to be completed at the end of next year.

Allete constructed the Red Barn Wind Farm project in Clifton and Wingville north of the proposed Whitetail Wind project. Red Barn has 28 turbines producing 92 megawatts, with towers up to 552 feet tall. Red Barn’s power is sold to Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.

The Whitetail Wind application said Allete has “formal leases/easements” with landowners for more than 5,000 acres in the 12,793-acre project site.

Seven turbines are slated to be located on Wisconsin 80, five on Rock Church Road, four on Grant County E, two on Old 80 Road, one on New California Road, one on Hickory Grove, and one off Hopewell Road, according to the application. Two meteorological towers also would be built on four locations — two off County E, one north of Crow Branch Lane and one west of 80 just south of the north Livingston village limits.

Whitetail Wind is one of three wind farm projects proposed in Southwest Wisconsin. The largest project, Pattern Energy’s Uplands Wind project in Lafayette and Iowa counties, already has 71 easement contracts. Invenergy has a project proposed east of Livingston near the Badger Hollow Solar Farm.