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Large wind farm approved in Saint Croix County

FOREST, Wis (WSAU)   Regulators have approved Wisconsin's first large wind energy farm since 2009.

The Public Service Commission voted 2-to-1 yesterday to let Emerging Energies of Hubertus build a 44-turbine wind farm in the Saint Croix County town of Forest in far western Wisconsin. The panel rejected the project in February, but it gave the company a second chance after it found ways to reduce noise levels at the site. An opposing group called Forest Voice says it will review the commission's decision before deciding whether to challenge the project in court.

The new wind farm will cost $250-million, and create 102 megawatts of electricity.

Last year, Wisconsin added only 18 megawatts of wind power while three neighboring states -- Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan -- each added 600 megawatts. In the last decade, Wisconsin passed a law requiring that 10-percent of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2015. Utilities came within one-percent of that goal last year, largely because it's cheaper to make power with natural gas than with high-polluting coal.