|4/15/2021 9:28:00 AM|
Pattern Energy officials looking at long term
Pattern Energy has a simple plan as it explores placing a wind energy project in Iowa and Lafayette counties.
That is to be a good partner and offer a business with a lot of positives.
The company was formed in 2009 as a spin-off from a larger company. Since then they have developed wind energy projects throughout the US and Canada.
"Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah...you name it, we have been there," said project manager Phillip Ross.
Matt Dallas, one of the company's spokespersons, said the Uplands Wind project proposed for this area has the capability of being a billion dollar operation which would return $2.4 million in revenue to the communities annually and $72 million over the course of the 30 years the project would run.
"A lot can be done with that type of revenue return," Dallas pointed out.
"We plan to be longterm neighbors and help out the communities we serve," added Ross.
Along with the return is the immediate impact when the project gets the go-ahead. Company officials expect 450-600 jobs needed during the construction period and when the project is complete, an additional 12-16 full time, high paying jobs during operation. Many of the construction jobs are expected to come from the local area.
While those in opposition to the project complain of a lack information and transparency the company officials say they have held meetings with county and town officials and have established a temporary office in Mineral Point. Plans are to staff the office soon with a spokesperson who will be available to answer questions.
Pattern officials spoke with representatives from Iowa and Lafayette counties and appeared before those county boards. They met with the Belmont Town Board and also with some area conservation groups. They plan more public meetings when COVID restrictions are improved or lifted.
"These have not been normal times for in person meetings," Dallas said, referring to COVID restriction.
Dallas said the project has garnered interest since the company began offering leases for use of land in July, 2020.
"We have had hundreds of landowners express interest," Dallas and Ross agreed.
Not all of the land leased will be used to put up towers as the plan has been to acquire enough of an area to provide for the wind turbine corridor.
Ross and Dallas feel the project supports local agriculture and may help farmers remain in business thanks to the revenue generated from the 30 year lease. Landowners will receive an annual payment for the next 30 years.
The number of towers and what kind of towers will be determined by the lay-out when all studies are complete.
"We will make sure what is done is best for the available wind and best for the environment," said Ross.
The demand for alternative energy is here and Wisconsin can be a leader, the two officials said. "Wisconsin can help power the future while preserving the family farms."
Both officials emphasized the project is not tied to Cardinal-Hickory Creek but if that project moves forward it would no doubt transmit energy that comes from the Uplands Wind project.
As to where the project sits currently, MISO, a non-profit company that studies such projects throughout the midwest, is viewing the proposed infrastructure, as it does for all midwest energy projects. Dallas said the study could be done by the middle of next year.
Next would be filing the project with the PSC.
"We are doing all we can to show the PSC the project is environmentally sound and will be a benefit to the counties," said Dallas. "We want to have everything done correctly."
"We want to be in a long term partnership with this area and that includes giving back to the communities," said Ross. "The $72 million returned to the communities over the next 30 years can provide for a lot of revenue that can be used for improvements. We want to be good neighbors for a long time."
Dallas confirmed there will be public meetings in the future and a brochure will be available that should help answer questions concerning the Upland Wind project.
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