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No-Uplands Wind – A Video by Charles Bensigner

Shown above: A 2.5 MW wind turbine being installed for Pattern Wind LLC in New Mexico, the same company that proposing a high visibility wind system across a 250 square mile area in western Iowa and Lafayette counties, Wisconsin. is pleased to announce that Milwaukee-based videographer Charles Bensigner has produced a 3 minute video introducing the 600 MW Uplands Wind power plant proposal to the citizens of Wisconsin. With approximately 170 turbines 650 feet in height, the power plant would permeate many Wisconsin views of the world reknown Driftless area and establish the second largest power plant in the Midwest despite the area having far less than optimum wind resources.

In a recent letter to MARIA REDMOND head of Governor Ever’s Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy, Bensinger asks,

I’m wondering if you’re aware of the tremendous tension and public outcry occurring in certain rural Wisconsin communities regarding what appears to be the forcing of local communities to accept the construction of very large solar and wind farms promoted by out-of-state developers?

Bensinger attributes the underlying causes for the community strife,

[Sales a]gents for these developers often operate in a secretive manner to obtain land contract agreements with landowners, often pitting neighbors against each other and their local political representatives. Residents fear they will suffer deleterious health effects, business disruption and significant environmental impacts from wind and solar farms, loss of good farmland, property values, cherished viewscapes and a major reduction in their quality of life.

Bensinger is no newcomer to energy problem solving and the primacy of local economics. His is currently engaged with several projects with helping neighbors in his urban Milwaukee neighborhood improve the energy performance of their homes. He has found that electric bills in his neighborhood are often 2-3 times higher than bills in nearby neighborhoods. As Wisconsin rebates for efficiency and home improvements rank near the bottom of Midwest states, Bensinger believes that asking urban ratepayers to fund remote power plants is counter-productive on two fronts: (1) by adding new costs to bills that would be better directed to larger Focus on Energy rebates and (2) by under-cutting the development of local measures that would make Milwaukee neighborhoods decreasingly dependent on remote renewable power. The former Director of the Alternative Energy and Biofuels Center at Santa Fe Community College believes that, eventually, urban neighborhoods or clusters of 2-10 houses/businesses will be operating on locally owned micro-grids based on small scale generation technologies. He is particularly enthusiastic about Inductance Energy‘s Earth Engine but expects there to be many solutions far more affordable than the costly monopoly expansion model that Uplands Wind promotes.

Bensinger’s commitment to locally produced power applies to rural local economies as well. He called upon his rural ties in New Mexico to obtain photographs of turbines being installed by Pattern LLC, the same company proposing the Uplands power plant,

Through the, Wisconsin Video Hub, Bensigner and his cohort, Daniel Folkman, have documented important conferences and presentations pertaining to Wisconsin’s rural communities. Below is a sampling of the entries from their library:

  • Limitations of the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) Engineer Bill Powers discusses, Midwest Transmission Expansion Planning [MTEP], utility-prejudiced economic analysis used by regional transmission owners under the auspices of The Midcontinent Independent System Operator [MISO]. MISO and MTEP planning are often confused as having governmentally assigned energy planning authorities. Increasingly, SOUL of Wisconsin and citizen intervenors are challenging the false public impressions and MISO’s annual, capital utility spending exercise. 60 min, 2018
  • Negative Impacts of Expansion Transmission Lines Town of Holland Clerk Marilyn Pedretti (La Crosse Co. WI) describes how their town was ill-prepared for dealing with the economic and other negative impacts from the presence of two 345 kV expansion transmission lines. 10 min, Mar 2018
  • More Wires to Serve Less Need? As legal counsel for the Town of Holland, Frank Jablonski describes the need to challenge Wisconsin Utilities and the Public Service Commission (PSC) purported “need” for additional power and power lines. 9 min, 2018
  • Our Distributed, Local-Based Energy Futures Drawing upon his experiences from authoring long term energy planning for San Diego, San Francisco and the state of North Carolina, Engineer Bill Powers describes the rapid progress being made in home, business and municipal developments of solar plus storage. He discusses the additional roles that energy efficiency and load management play in creating a right-sized electrical system. 12 min, Mar 2018

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