Menasha Corp. removes wind turbines along I-41 but says it remains committed to sustainability

·2 min read
Five wind turbines generate electricity for Menasha Corp. along Interstate 41 in Neenah before they were removed in March.
Five wind turbines generate electricity for Menasha Corp. along Interstate 41 in Neenah before they were removed in March.

Reader question: I only just now noticed that Menasha Corp. took down its wind turbines. What the heck? Out for repairs?

Answer: This is one of several questions I received regarding the five wind turbines that Menasha Corp. had in front of its headquarters at 1645 Bergstrom Road in Neenah along southbound Interstate 41.

Kristi Pavletich, director of corporate communications, said Menasha Corp. removed the 115-foot wind turbines because Renewegy, the Oshkosh company that manufactured and installed the wind turbines, no longer provides the maintenance, parts or services required to run the turbines.

A Google search for Renewegy lists the business as permanently closed.

"We explored and analyzed alternative plans to maintain the current wind turbines and/or replace them, but a viable solution was not found," Pavletich said. "Because of this, we decided to remove the five wind turbines."

In October 2010, when the location of the turbines was approved by the Neenah Plan Commission, a representative of Renewegy said the turbines had a life expectancy of 20 years.

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The wind turbines generated electricity for Menasha Corp.'s headquarters and manufacturing plant. It was billed as the largest wind installation at a business in northeast Wisconsin.

Menasha Corp. received a federal grant and a Focus on Energy grant to support the investment. At the time, a company representative said the payback on the turbines was estimated at 13 years but that there were many other reasons for the project, according to the minutes from the Plan Commission.

Pavletich said the five turbines, on average, generated 375,000 kilowatt hours annually.

"While we continually explore alternative sources of clean energy, the decision to remove the wind turbines in no way reduces Menasha Corp.’s commitment to sustainability and operating our business in an environmentally responsible fashion," she said.

The turbines were a prominent sign of the company's commitment to the environment but told only a small portion of its sustainability story, Pavletich said.

More information on the company's efforts can be found in its 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Post-Crescent reporter Duke Behnke answers your questions about local government. Send questions to dbehnke@gannett.com or call him at 920-993-7176.

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This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Menasha Corp. removes its five wind turbines along I-41 in Neenah