Bill could change wind industry in Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Bill could change wind industry in Wisconsin

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by Colby Robertson

CUSTER (WAOW) -- Wisconsin Lawmakers are discussing a bill that would increase wind production and jobs throughout the state.

The bill would determine where wind power projects in Wisconsin could be built.

Currently, smaller wind projects are regulated by municipal or local rules, making it difficult to develop small and medium sized wind farms.

A spokesperson for the environmental group Clean Wisconsin says this bill is an easy way for lawmakers to create jobs in our state at almost no expense to the taxpayer.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Wisconsin is 15th in the Country when it comes to installing wind projects, but some local wind experts hope this legislation will push Wisconsin to the top.

Supporters say this bill would not only change the wind industry, but it could bring hundreds of thousands of jobs to the area.

For twenty years, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association in Custer has offered training programs like this one. People like Trang come from all over the country to learn how different aspects of renewable energy can be applied to their everyday life.

Trang Donovan says, "I look to Wisconsin to the MREA what they're doing as an inspiration because I think in general if one builds on the industry it catches fire and it motivates other people and the momentum just increases."

That's is exactly what Doug Stingle is hoping the Wind Siting Bill will do in Wisconsin. He says having a uniform playing field for all of the developers would help bring Wisconsin to the forefront when it comes to wind energy.

Stingle says, "Several of our neighbors are among the leaders in the Country. Iowa and Minnesota are among the leaders in production of energy from wind power and in Wisconsin we could certainly move ourselves up further."

The idea is to make it easier for everyday people like these to use smaller wind turbines to power their homes or businesses. Doug says not only will the bill boost the wind industry in Wisconsin, but it will also help create much needed jobs across the state.

Stingle says, "We've got developers that have been looking at this state have been looking at Wisconsin and are ready essentially to install projects and would add to the job growth here in Wisconsin."

Stingle says they've seen a big increase in participants in their training programs. He thinks it helps that leaders in Washington are making "green collar" jobs a priority.

Right now the bill is circulating in Madison, looking for co-sponsors. It's expected to be officially introduced in the next week.

But the lead authors of the bill are also chair of the committee so supporters are optimistic it will pass quickly.

Online Reporter: Colby Robertson

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