GE Healthcare is going to take it slow as it pursues plans to install 10 wind turbines on its property to assist in defraying utility costs, an official from the company said in a meeting that brought several residents forward with concerns.
GE Healthcare was seeking approval of a conditional use permit to install the wind turbines on the property from the Plan Commission on Wednesday. But, when the project came forward, GE Healthcare’s general manager of global facilities and real estate, Mark Colananni, asked that the item be up for discussion and not approval.
Colananni estimated that the wind turbines proposed will be about 150 feet and 160 feet tall. The wind turbines, if eventually approved by the Plan Commission, would be the first in Waukesha.
“I know wind turbines can be very controversial,” said Colananni. “… What we want to do is get all community's input and thoughts on this.”
GE Healthcare wants to spend more time engineering the program and soliciting feedback about the towers from nearby Pewaukee, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Federal Aviation Administration, Crites Field and the neighbors and residents who may want more information or have concerns, Colananni said.
“We are in the early stages here,” Colananni said. “We will make sure we get everyone’s input.”
Plan Commissioner R.G. Keller asked if the wind turbines would be made at Manitowoc’s Tower Tech. Colananni did not commit to a vendor but did say GE Healthcare is looking at having the wind turbines made in the United States.
The wind turbines were placed on the Plan Commission agenda as if GE Healthcare was seeking approval of the conditional use permit Wednesday night, which irked some nearby Waukesha residents.
The residents spoke about airport safety concerns, the aesthetic changes to the area and environmental impacts
Joseph Cottrell, who lives on Northview Road, said it was “a form of insanity” to place the wind turbines close to the airport and he was glad that the project was stalled.
“It has enormous impact on airport safety,” Cottrell said.