By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Map submitted in Upland Winds project
Upland Wind turbine

By Steve Prestegard


PLATTEVILLE — The developer of the largest of Southwest Wisconsin’s proposed wind farms has gotten more specific on where its wind turbines will be located.

Pattern Energy, the developer of the Uplands Wind project, submitted a map to the Federal Aviation Administration that shows 181 possible locations for the 600-megawatt $1 billion project.

The interactive Google map can be viewed at 

Pattern submitted its pre-application to the PSC Sept. 27. The pre-application said Uplands Wind would have 134 to 180 turbines from 492 to 640 feet tall.

The FAA map, which is accessible on the FAA Obstacles database, has more specific possible locations for Uplands Wind turbines than the PSC pre-application.

Project opponent Richard Jinkins said the 600-megawatt size of the project means the wind farm would not need all 181 locations. He said the FAA will issue approvals or denials for the locations based on whether they interfere with local airspace later this year.

“My hope is that if/when the Uplands Wind turbines begin operation, no can say they did not hear about it,” he said.

According to the FAA map three wind turbine locations are immediately west of the Platte Mound and two are south of the Mound between Lafayette County B and U.S. 151. Other locations are near Belmont Mound State Park.

The Uplands Wind project generated controversy when project opponents circulated a map based on the PSC application that showed wind turbines immediately west of the Mound. Representatives for Pattern Energy said the map was preliminary and that the company would not place turbines or project infrastructure in state parks or “certain sensitive areas like the Platteville Mound.”

The FAA map groups Uplands Wind’s turbine locations in several areas. The largest group of locations in this area are 14 between Belmont and Leslie north of U.S. 151, nine east of Belmont south of 151, and 20 locations between Elk Grove and Belmont north of Wisconsin 81 and east of the UW–Platteville Pioneer Farm.

The map shows another 20 locations north and south of Mifflin and east of Rewey. Another five locations are along U.S. 151 between Belmont and Mineral Point.

The largest group of locations in the project are east of Mineral Point and northwest of Yellowstone Lake State Park in an area bracketed by Wisconsin 39 and Wisconsin 23.

Another 22 locations are south of Cobb and Edmund. A smaller group of locations is east of Dodgeville in an area bracketed by U.S. 18/151 and Wisconsin 191. 

There are no wind turbine locations in eastern Grant County, but the proposed project includes infrastructure as far west as Annaton and areas north-northwest of Platteville.

The wind turbines will be connected by 345,000-volt grid tie lines, which can carry as much electricity as the Cardinal–Hickory Creek power transmission line from Cassville south of Lancaster to Montfort and east (related story, page 5). 

Pattern Energy’s Uplands Wind pre-application to the PSC states that the wind turbines will be connected to substations with 34,500-volt connection lines 3 to 3½ feet below ground. Substations in Belmont and Mineral Point will connect to Cardinal–Hickory Creek by substations at Montfort and Edmund, respectively, via 41 miles of grid tie lines, according to SOUL.

Pattern Energy’s preapplication map has a grid tie line from Belmont west along Walnut Dell Road, going north parallel to the west of Mound View Road, then along Shady Road before going north, veering north–northwest at Wisconsin 80, then going north parallel to Mockingbird Road to the west, then going west on Grant County A, then north along Grant County D, then paralleling Grant County E to the south, then north along Louies Lane and Annaton Road before veering east along Old Highway 18 into Montfort. The northern part of the grid tie line goes into the Red Barn Wind Farm, which started operation last year.

Pattern has secured options for more than 45,000 acres of land through agreements with landowners, according to the PSC filing, with “additional agreements” expected by when the CPCN is filed no earlier than late March, according to the filing.

Uplands Wind is one of four wind farm projects at various stages of the approval process. Allete Clean Energy is proposing the Whitetail Wind project in the Town of Clifton, which would install 21 2- to 4.2-megawatt wind turbines to generate 70 megawatts of power.

The application lists the towers as 410 to 650 feet tall from ground to the tip of the top blade, with rotor diameter of up to 492 feet. The application says that Whitetail Wind is negotiating with a wind turbine supplier “and will confirm the final number and model(s) of turbines” for the project when negotiations conclude.

The Whitetail Wind application said Allete has “formal leases/easements” with landowners for more than 5,000 acres in the 12,793-acre project site.

Seven turbines are slated to be located on Wisconsin 80, five on Rock Church Road, four on Grant County E, two on Old 80 Road, one on New California Road, one on Hickory Grove, and one off Hopewell Road, according to the application. Two meteorological towers also would be built on four locations — two off County E, one north of Crow Branch Lane and one west of 80 just south of the north Livingston village limits.

Whitetail Wind does not require a CPCN from the PSC because the project is smaller than 100 megawatts, according to the application.

Four opponents of one of the proposed projects filed an appeal with the state Public Service Commission to review Grant County approval of Whitetail Wind.

The appeal claims the application by Allete Clean Energy violated the county’s wind energy siting ordinance and comprehensive zoning ordinance. The appeal also claims the county’s Board of Adjustment, which last October affirmed the Conservation Sanitation and Zoning Committee’s approval of the conditional use permit for the project, “had no qualifications or experience to review the matter.”

The zoning committee approved the conditional use permit for the project last July, adding only a requirement to change the wind turbine lights to motion-sensor lights. The appeal claims the committee made no attempt to review the project application, including hiring outside experts at Allete’s expense, as project opponents say the county ordinance allows. 

The appeal also claims that Allete separated the now-operating Red Barn Wind Farm northwest of Livingston and the proposed Whitetail Wind project into two projects to avoid review by the PSC, which is required for wind farm projects that generate more than 100 megawatts.

Invenergy LLC of Chicago filed its pre-application notice for its Badger Hollow Wind Farm project Jan. 19. Invenergy’s Badger Hollow Wind Farm LLC said in the filing it will file an application for a Certificate of Public Interest and Necessity by late June.

The Badger Hollow project would use 17 to 19 turbines at the blade tip height would be 574 to 656 feet tall depending on the kind of turbine used, according to the PSC filing.

The turbines would be located in a jagged line from east of Cobb to south of Cobb to the American Transmission Co. Hill Valley substation in Montfort, then south past Livingston to northeast of Rewey. The Hill Valley substation is part of the Cardinal–Hickory Creek power transmission line project.

The Badger Hollow Project is designed around Allete Clean Energy’s Red Barn Wind Farm, which has been operating for almost a year. The Red Barn Wind Farm is south of U.S. 18 from near Preston to Montfort, with 28 turbines producing 92 megawatts of electricity, sold to Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Service Corp., according to Allete’s website.

Liberty Utilities, a subsidiary of a Canadian utility, is proposing a 30- to 40-turbine project in western Grant County, with turbines up to 656 feet tall, to generate 200 megawatts of electricity.

The proposed project area is south of U.S. 18 west of Wisconsin 133 and along Wisconsin 35/133 and generally west of Grant County J.

The western Grant County project and another 300-megawatt project proposed south of Fond du Lac would be Liberty Utilities’ first Wisconsin projects. The company has a 202-megawatt wind farm in Logan County, Ill., south of Peoria.