State regulators have voted in favor of a $250 million wind farm project in the St. Croix County Town of Forest — nearly 6 years after town board members signed a resolution to proceed with the project, and 3 years after the state Public Service Commission initially approved the project.
“All I can say is it’s been an interesting process,” said Bill Rakocy, manager of Highland Wind Farm LLC. “We have had the best interests at heart of all the stakeholders for a very long time.”
The PSC was court-ordered last year to reconsider two prevailing issues – the need for additional public hearings related to the project and stricter noise compliance standards for certain residences located near turbines. The PSC rejected the need for both on a 2-0 vote, with Commissioner Mike Huebsch abstaining.
The wind farm will consist of 44 wind turbines across more than 6,000 acres and will generate 102.5 megawatts, enough to power more 35,000 homes. An electric substation is also required to be built in the neighboring Town of Cylon.
“Our hope is that we would begin moving dirt by the end of this year,” Rakocy said. “Certianly we need to move through an appeal period.”