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FAQ

General

Uplands Wind is a wind energy project that will be located in Lafayette and Iowa counties, Wisconsin. This name pays homage to the Driftless Area’s renowned and unique landscape and geological history. Developed by Pattern Energy, the project will provide economic benefits and jobs that will last generations.  

Pattern Energy is one of the leading private renewable energy companies, with operating and development footprints in the United States, Canada, and Japan. Headquartered in the United States, our global operational portfolio includes more than 30 utility-scale renewable energy facilities.

Pattern Energy was founded in 2009 and is responsible for building more than 5 GW of renewable energy projects. Our leadership and core management have worked together for more than 15 years, uniting deep industry knowledge with investment expertise.

The Uplands Wind project represents a roughly $1 billion investment within Iowa and Lafayette counties. Throughout development, construction, and operations, residents can expect to see widespread direct and indirect job creation and economic investment.

 

Under Wisconsin’s revenue sharing formula, every megawatt of power that is built pays $1,667 into its township and $2,333 into its county annually for a total of $4,000 per MW per year. The 600 MW project is projected to provide on average more than $2.4 million per year to local communities, which totals $72 million over the first 30 years. The stable, long-term funding will contribute to efforts such as improved quality of education, services, roads, and first responder capabilities for the community.

Approximately 450-600 workers will be on-site during construction, which will take between one and two years. Local workers and subcontractors will be involved to the greatest extent possible – from building access roads and turbine foundations to assembling and installing turbine components. Subcontractors will be engaged to conduct civil work – grading, excavation, concrete – electrical work, and mechanical assembly. Activities will also include site preparation before infrastructure installation begins and site restoration after construction. Once operational, a Facility Manager and Assistant Facility Manager will oversee site activities, utilizing between 12- 16 Turbine Technicians and a variety of local vendors and contractors when possible to provide maintenance services, including for communications, operations, the maintenance building, access roads, the substation, and truck fleet.

Yes! Uplands Wind and our contractors take our commitments to the local communities where we build our projects very seriously. We will actively pursue local vendors, job seekers, and local union labor during development and we will hold a job fair before construction to engage interested companies and workers. We will keep a list of interested applicants and vendors during project development to share with the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction company that is selected to hire subcontractors for construction. We will also establish a vendor and worker application portal.

Pattern Energy began developing the project in 2020. The development period (before construction of the wind farm) includes many important, necessary steps including obtaining options for land easements, collecting meteorological data, performing environmental studies, and working through the permitting processes, to name a few. This can typically take anywhere from two to five years. Depending on factors such as seasonal conditions and final project size and design, construction is expected to last between one to two years.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) will assume jurisdiction over the project. The zoning standards to which the PSCW holds wind energy projects accountable were designed with input from local zoning officials including from Southwest Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, if a wind project’s maximum generating capacity is less than 100 MW, regulatory authority resides with the local governmental unit where the project would be located. If the project equals or exceeds 100 MW in capacity, then the PSCW assumes jurisdiction over the facility. In those cases, the PSCW’s permitting authority preempts local land use and zoning ordinances.

Research shows that wind farms do not adversely impact neighboring properties. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has conducted and cited many studies that have concluded that impacts of wind and transmission projects on neighboring property values are low to negligible. One of the most comprehensive studies of those listed examined nearly 7,500 U.S. residential transactions for homes located within five miles of wind turbine installations, 1,900 of which were within one mile and 125 of which occurred after the wind facilities were operational (Hoen et al.). This study concluded that there was no statistical evidence of an impact on home prices from either having views of or proximity to wind facilities.[1]

[1] Hoen, B.; Wiser, R.; Cappers, P.; Thayer, M.; Sethi, G. (2011). “Wind Energy Facilities and Residential Properties: The Effect of Proximity and View on Sales Prices.” Journal of Real Estate Research; (33; 3).

Wind turbines in Wisconsin are expected to generate energy between 80-90% of the time in an average year. Wind forecasting technology makes wind patterns easier to predict, and wind energy more reliable than ever. Wind speeds in Southwest Wisconsin are among the best in the state.

Pattern Energy has not yet begun the equipment selection process. There are a variety of turbine types available, but we have not yet determined the number of turbines required for this project, nor the size of the turbines we will seek to use.

Under the current PSCW rules, a wind turbine must be set back 1,250 feet from a neighboring residence if that neighbor is not also a wind turbine host. The PSCW also specifies sound and shadow flicker standards. Pattern Energy works to mitigate any potential sound or shadow flicker impacts during the development of the project, and there may be situations where meeting the shadow flicker or sound standards results in a turbine being situated farther away from a neighboring residence. If despite our careful work to site the turbines, they cause shadow flicker, its operations can be controlled remotely to stop the issue immediately. It is important to note that the PSCW regulates the wind project developers, not private landowners that live in the vicinity of a wind project. For instance, a private landowner whose property is within the setback distance from a wind turbine has every right to construct a building or home within that setback distance if the landowner so chooses (subject to any other local zoning or necessary permits related to that structure).

Uplands Wind should not impact your electricity rates because it is not being developed by one of the state’s electric utilities. If one of the utilities ends up purchasing power from Uplands Wind, it would likely reduce electricity rates because Uplands Wind will be less expensive to operate than the current Wisconsin power fleet.

No. For more than 40 years people have been living near more than 350,000 wind turbines operating globally and more than 50,000 wind turbines operating in North America. There is no scientific evidence that indicates wind turbines have caused any adverse health effects. Overall, health and medical agencies agree that the sound from wind turbines is not loud enough to cause hearing impairment and is not causally related to adverse effects. Scientific evidence to date indicates that at common residential setback distances there is no direct health risk from wind turbine noise, including low-frequency noise and infrasound[2].

[2]Chapman, S.; Simonetti, ”Summary of Main Conclusions Reached in 25 Reviews of the Research Literature on Wind Farms and Health” e Sydney University Medical School

Pattern Energy uses a standard form of lease option so that each participating landowner can know they are getting the same fair payment as their neighbor. Pattern Energy does not amend payments in its lease options, though we reimburse attorney fees for landowners to be able to make sure they have had appropriate legal guidance and representation before signing an option agreement.

Experienced land agents with knowledge of Wisconsin are employed as direct contractors of Pattern Energy. They assist us with connecting face-to-face with as many landowners as possible. Connecting with landowners and discussing land options and easement details is an important stage for us to learn about a community.

Pattern Energy Wind Development LLC is wholly owned by Pattern Energy and is solely responsible for managing Pattern’s development assets, including Uplands Wind.

Our team is available to share information and answer questions. Please reach out to our project team with questions, via our project phone number 608.716.4700, or email address UplandsWind@PatternEnergy.com.

Uplands Wind is compatible with other land uses and provides a stable form of income to local farmers and landowners. The wind farm is sited on corn, wheat, and soybean fields, as well as among dairy operations, and will provide landowners with a stable, weather-resistant cash crop through lease payments with minimal impact on current land use. Aerial spraying is viable and commonplace around wind turbines.

No. Wind turbines do not produce any greenhouse gas emissions, water discharges, or solid waste byproducts.

Construction

The Uplands Wind team strives to minimize impacts to the land during construction to the greatest extent possible. Most of the impacts during construction are temporary and will be restored upon completion of construction. Each wind turbine typically needs around one acre of land after construction, allowing landowners to continue farming and ranching around them. We will work with farmers and ranchers when siting wind turbines, access roads, and collection lines to minimize impact to crops, grazing, and other farming and ranching operations.

Depending on factors such as seasonal conditions and final project design, construction is expected to last between one and two years.

All public roads that are expected to be utilized during construction are documented and analyzed to capture the existing condition of the roadways before commencing construction activities. All public roads impacted by the construction of the project will be returned to the same or better condition after construction activities. This arrangement is documented and memorialized through a Public Road Use Agreement with the local road engineers at both the Township and County levels.

During construction, there will be additional traffic in the area as construction of the wind farm will require heavy equipment, which could include bulldozers, graders, trenching machines, concrete trucks, flatbed trucks, and large cranes. Once construction of the wind farm is complete and the project is operational, traffic will return to its pre-construction levels.

Turbine foundation excavations will be performed in a manner to preserve topsoil. Subsoils that are excavated to install the turbine foundation structure will be used to backfill the foundation and will be redistributed around the turbine after construction. If there is excess material that is not needed for fill on roads or other places in the project area, it will be removed unless otherwise agreed to by the landowner.

We recognize that tiling is an extremely important element of agricultural practices in the area and will work to prevent and/or mitigate agricultural impacts associated with the construction process. If there are current GPS coordinates of all drainage tiles, those will be used to assess the site before construction commences and tiles will be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Drainage tiles that are affected near the wind turbine sites are rerouted around the foundation area. Any tiles damaged by construction or maintenance of the project will be repaired promptly in accordance with the terms of our leases. We recognize that, in some cases, damage to tiles may not be immediately apparent and we are committed to repairing any damage caused by our activities even if that damage is not discovered until the next big rain event.

Yes. As required by State and County regulations, Uplands Wind will have a decommissioning plan in place for the facility at the end of its useful life, and appropriate financial assurance will be put in place to ensure funds are available when the time comes. Turbines and other project infrastructure will be removed, and the site will be restored to its natural state.