The Forward Wind Energy Center is a 129MW wind farm that is comprised of 86 General Electric 1.5sle wind turbines. The facility is located in southern Fond Du Lac County, Wisconsin and was commissioned for full operation in 2008. The project is developed and owned by Invenergy Wind.
The original planed size of the wind farm was going to be 200 MW but with significant opposition from various parties, most notably the proponents of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, which lies two miles to the east of the wind center, the size was downgraded.
When the wind project was originally proposed in 2004 the application was initially approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC). This approval was for the larger sized project but the public opposition saw the decision appealed based on the environmental impact. A second problem related to the Federal Aviation Administration and a moratorium put on large wind farms while as study was conducted on the impacts on military radar systems also held up the start of construction of the site.
It wasn’t until 2007 that the decision by the PSC was affirmed and construction commenced. The wind farm began producing electricity in mid-2008.
There has been an outstanding paper written titled Wind Energy – Visual Impacts and Public Perceptions that is posted on the Macalester College website that is well worth a read. The article examines the timeline along which the Forward Wind Energy Center was created. It analyses the opposition that was put in place during the application and certification process as well as the support that the project won.
The state of Wisconsin has one of the best profiles for the production of utility-scale wind power and there are a number of large facilities already commissioned. The state is already home to over 600MW of wind power generated electricity with further plans continually being explored.
Find out more about wind power and the benefits it brings to the wider community on our Wind Power page.