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In a move that could help Wisconsin communities harness the power of wind in their own backyards, Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (WPPI) recently unveiled an initiative aimed at increasing the local presence of renewable energy technology. The program involves having qualified developers place utility-scale wind turbines in WPPI member communities to achieve an end result similar to that of a single-site, larger wind farm.

WPPI hopes that the project will result in 10 to 25 MW of renewable energy generation for WPPI and its members at a lower cost than pursuing wind turbine generation projects individually.

"WPPI is strongly committed to promoting renewable energy generation," says WPPI vice president of marketing Tom Paque. "These highly visible local resources will raise awareness about renewable energy and its positive environmental impacts for communities."

According to the plan, any projects selected for development will be contingent on full support from the local member utility and the community as a whole. WPPI member communities with a good wind resource and siting locations could see up to three wind turbines.

Proposals for the community-based wind projects will be received by early October. WPPI will select a short list of qualified projects for development in 2007-2008.

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