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CASHTON, WIS. — Wisconsin’s first community wind project is now up and running in Cashton. 

A joint project of Organic Valley and Gundersen Lutheran’s Envision program, the Cashton Greens Wind Farm features two wind turbines expected to generate nearly 5 megawatts of energy for Cashton’s power grid — enough to power 1,000 homes each year.

The energy produced with the $10.5 million project will more than offset electricity used at Organic Valley’s Cashton Distribution Center and its La Farge headquarters facilities, and it represents about five percent of Gundersen’s energy independence goal.

As developers and owners of the wind farm, Organic Valley and Gundersen will receive income per kilowatt hour generated. Organic Valley will buy back its portion of energy to offset its footprint through a renewable energy contract with the villages of Cashton and La Farge.

The renewable energy project ties to the hospital’s goal of improving health in local communities while lowering the cost of health care, said Jeff Rich, executive director of the hospital’s Envision program.

“I plan to be a more effective, less costly health system because of projects like this,” said Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, Gundersen Lutheran CEO.

The two organizations held a grand opening Wednesday for the project, which is next to Organic Valley’s distribution center off Hwy. 27 in Cashton.

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It’s the first project of its kind in the state, said RENEW Wisconsin executive director Michael Vickerman.

Typically, similar wind projects are created by utility companies or an independent power provider.

“It shows that now other people can do it,” said Cecil Wright, Organic Valley’s director of local operations and sustainability. “It doesn’t need to be scary. It helps put a good pressure on utility (companies) to review renewable energy independence and develop their renewable energy portfolios.”

Thirty percent of the project cost will come from the U.S. Department of Energy and another 2.5 percent will come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Focus on Energy grant. The rest was funded by the two partners.

The turbines, each standing 485 feet tall and weighing 2,000 tons, started operating June 1.

“It just brings awareness to the climate,” said George Siemon, Organic Valley CEO.

“It’s mind-blowing to see how much energy is developed here out of thin air,” he said.

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(7) comments

GrandpaS

“It just brings awareness to the climate,” said George Siemon, Organic Valley CEO.

“It’s mind-blowing to see how much energy is developed here out of thin air,” he said.

The above says it all. Look, Ma. Lot's of electricity, no smoke.

RJ

I agree,we need more of these in the whole state of Wisconsin. It would really save everyone health wise and money. Just drive out west and see all the wind turbines! We have more cancer here in the Midwest than any other area of the United States.

GrandpaS

I applaud these two organizations for taking the bull by the horns. As far as scenery goes, I think turbines are kind of cool, like a sky scraper or statue. As far as energy production goes, what pollution do these turbines emit? Zero. No smoke, no radiation, no carbon monoxide or dioxide. What a welcome change. Hats off and three cheers to GL and OV for having the guts and foresight to start this movement rolling. This is EXACTLY the kind of innovation and leadership our state and country need a lot more of.

Old_Fogey

I drove past there last Saturday. Talk about an eyesore. Those windmills totally ruin what was once a nice picturesque countryside.

T Plush For Realz

Yeah, I hate renewable energy. Those windmills just don't have the beauty that coal smoke or petroleum in the atmosphere provide us.

Frangel45

BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!! Old_Fogey sure is short sighted. It is refreshing to see companies, towns, and individuals willing to explore options that will surely benefit our environment. Drove through Cashton last evening and was very impressed. I can think of many eyesores that make these turbines look beautiful by comparison.

sugarkisses114

I'd rather see them than big smoke stacks with black smoke barreling out of them polluting the air or nukes putting out radiation.

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