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Located in the in the towns of Eden and Empire, in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm began commercial operation in December 2008. Cedar Ridge is Alliant Energy subsidiary Wisconsin Power and Light Company’s (WPL) first owned and operated wind facility.
Spread out over 12.2 square miles (7,800 acres) the Cedar Ridge site offers a high capacity factor, which means there is adequate wind to regularly produce electricity. The 41 turbines produce approximately 68 megawatts of energy – enough to power about 17,000 homes a year.
The Cedar Ridge Wind Farm helps WPL meet Wisconsin’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard. However, WPL may sell renewable energy above and beyond that standard for Renewable Energy Credits to reduce customer costs.
The Operations Building at Cedar Ridge attained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is a performance-oriented rating system where building projects earn points for satisfying criteria designed to address specific environmental impacts inherent to the design, construction and operation of the building.
Among the attributes helping it earn Gold certification are:
More photos of the Cedar Ridge Wind Farm are available in our Wind Power Photo Gallery.
Cedar Ridge Wind Farm Facts:
Questions and Answers
Why was WPL interested in this site?
The Cedar Ridge site offers a high capacity factor, which means there is adequate wind in this part of the state to regularly produce electricity for WPL customers. How much electricity is generated by Cedar Ridge Wind Farm? Cedar Ridge generates approximately 170,000 megawatt-hours of electricity each year, or enough to power approximately 17,000 homes.
How many turbines are there at Cedar Ridge Wind Farm?
Cedar Ridge Wind Farm has 41 turbines spread out over 12.2 square miles (7,808 acres.) The turbines are Vestas V82 turbines. Each one is capable of producing 1.65 MW of electricity.
Will my electricity supply depend on the wind blowing?
No. All customers continue to receive a constant flow of electricity from WPL. As wind-powered electricity is added to the grid, other generators will be turned down or off to maintain the balance.
What type of lighting is needed around the wind turbines?
The only lighting on the wind turbines is mandatory FAA lighting on the top of the wind turbine to alert aircraft.
Will the landowners still be able to use the land around the wind turbines?
With the exception of a 50’ x 50’ parcel directly surrounding the wind turbine’s base and a narrow access road, landowners will be able to utilize all the land surrounding the wind turbine. Many farm roads can double as access roads, reducing non-usable land even further.
Costs and Economic Impacts:
Will Cedar Ridge Wind Farm help the economy in Eden and Empire or Fond du Lac County?
“Shared Revenue” payments are made each year to Eden, Empire and Fond du Lac County. We estimate that the Shared Revenue payment from Cedar Ridge Wind Farm could generate as much as $400,000 per year. Per Wisconsin law, shared revenue is divided in the following way: one-third of the money goes to the towns of Eden and Empire, and two-thirds to Fond du Lac County.
Does Cedar Ridge Wind Farm harm birds or bats?
The impact of wind farms on birds or bats is mostly determined by flight patterns of birds and bats in the area. Avian studies were completed during the early project planning stages to determine any potential impacts to birds. According to studies by Curry and Kerlinger, L.L.C., “collision risk to birds at the Cedar Ridge Wind Power Project is likely to be minimal.” The Wisconsin DNR Office of Energy conducted an endangered resources review which found no known bat hibernation areas in the vicinity of the Cedar Ridge site, so impact to bats is also expected to be minimal.
Were any other studies done to evaluate the environmental impact of this project?
In addition to avian studies, a wetland survey and a review of the State Historical Society’s archaeological and historical resources database were completed. Construction procedures for the wind farm will mitigate the impact on identified wetlands within the project boundary, and no historic buildings will be impacted. WPL will comply with all federal, state and local environmental regulations during the construction and operations phases.
Will Cedar Ridge Wind Farm help WPL meet its portion of the Wisconsin Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2015?
WPL was a supporter of the RPS, which says 10% of Wisconsin’s power must come from renewable sources by 2015. Cedar Ridge Wind Farm helps us meet our portion of the RPS.