Wind turbines, if approved, could provide 15 percent of the electricity used at SC Johnson's Waxdale plant on 16th Street.
The Mount Pleasant Village Board and around 25 residents attended a public hearing on Oct. 18 for a presentation from the company that outlined five potential locations at the site. Only two or three are actually planned for operation.
Tom Joy of Mount Pleasant opposes the turbines, and he gathered enough signatures from his neighbors on a petition that it may qualify as a protest petition. If it does, when/if the wind turbines come before the board, approval will require a supermajority vote of 5-2 instead of a simple majority of 4-3.
"(If approved) This opens a kettle of worms," he told trustees. "What's to stop other businesses from doing it, too? Turbines kill flying wildlife like birds and bats, and I don't want to hear the 'whoosh' of the blades every time they come around when the weather is nice and my windows are open."
Trustee Harry Manning asked about other urban or suburban areas where wind turbines operate and Gregg Anderegg from SCJ promised to get a list.
Asked if by Joy if resident opinions even matter compared to the voice of SC Johnson, Trustee Sonny Havn said of course the board listens.
"We listen, of course we do, but SC Johnson has been a good neighbor and we have to consider a bigger picture, too," he said.
Paul Kocourek, a Sturtevant resident who lives near Waxdale, asked the Village Board if they would consider a petition from Sturtevant.
"Mount Pleasant would have weight," answered Trustee Karen Albeck. "But we would certainly take a petition from Sturtevant under consideration.
Joy did raise the question of utilizing solar power over turbines, but Chris Beard, a spokesperson for SCJ, said solar was explored and ruled out.
"Consistency is what we need and unfortunately, solar panels just won't work," he said.
The wind turbines, if installed, could generate up to 15 percent of the electricity needed at Waxdale. In total, the plant will eventually generate 100 percent of its energy needs, 60 percent from renewable energy sources like wind and the methane gas from the nearby landfill.
SCJ's wind turbine proposal will next be heard by the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission at 1 pm today, Oct. 19, at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive. Call (262) 664-7800.