New 30-Megawatt Wind Energy Project in Columbia County Approved

E Wind LLC is the country cousin to the larger Glacier Hills project, being developed by some local landowners and entrepreneurs who are determined to not let all renewable energy (and money) go to the big companies.

Bob Lange, an E Wind member who farms near Columbus remarked, "I was involved in the development of the UWGP ethanol plant in Friesland and saw all these wind measurement towers being installed in the area by several large wind developers; that got me thinking that wind energy might be the next renewable energy of choice for the area."

Bob found a few others to join him and off they set to put together a wind project. It included finding willing landowners to lease their property for turbines, paying the transmission owners to study the electrical connection of their project, installing a 200-foot tall wind measurement tower, and approaching the Town of Randolph about receiving permission to build the project.

Wes Slaymaker, P.E., of WES Engineering LLC, a Madison-based wind energy consulting company who is acting as the E Wind LLC project engineer, commented, "We staked some possible turbine locations in the winter of 2008 and spent the next year moving those locations around to address all the concerns of the landowners and community members." Later E Wind hired Cullen Weston Pines and Bach LLP, a Madison law firm, to assist the project with negotiating a development agreement with the Town of Randolph.

Unfortunately, E Wind’s timing was poor as the Glacier Hills project had recently been announced by We Energies and the local area was inflamed with concerns regarding how that large wind project would affect their homes and communities. The E Wind members spent plenty of their evenings attending town and village meetings. They hoped to get some sympathy from the area residents as the local project and eventually convinced the town to vote to approve the E Wind project, contingent upon the approval of the larger Glacier Hills project.