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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wind siting reform and local control

From Wind for Wisconsin:

SB 185/AB 256 would direct the PSC to establish statewide siting standards for wind energy projects. Projects fewer than 100 MW in size would still be reviewed and approved by a local unit of government after the rules are adopted.

+ The status quo is the only approach to wind siting that would leave local control completely unchanged. The status quo has stalled over 600 MW of potential wind projects forfeiting thousands of Wisconsin jobs and millions of investment dollars.
+ The bill draft requires the PSC to establish an advisory committee of diverse interests to advise the Commission on the rules. Representatives from local units of government will be part of that advisory committee.
+ In 2006 the WTA passed a resolution at its annual convention entitled “Uniform Standards for Public Health or Safety of Wind Energy Systems.” The resolution called for uniform standards, and was the impetus for wind siting reform legislation.
+ The bill draft from the previous legislative session was negotiated with the Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin Towns Association. The WTA was in favor of wind siting reform last session while the WCA was neutral.1 The bill draft for the current legislative session is substantively similar.
+ An amendment from the Wisconsin Realtors Association (supported by Wind for Wisconsin) allows local governments to deny a project application if a project would be sited in an area that has been primarily designated for future residential or commercial development.2
+ Under SB 185/AB 256, local units of government would maintain their central role in the regulatory process for wind energy systems. Applications for wind energy projects under 100 MW in size would still be subject to review and approval at the local level.

Local governments would be responsible for enforcing permit standards. Local governments would maintain control over their roads including restoration requirements and regulating driveway use (access roads).

In the coming weeks, the state Legislature will have a chance to make it easier for clean energy creating wind turbines to proliferate in Wisconsin…Critics likely will charge that the bill is an attack on local control. However, it still lets local governments make wind-siting decisions, and allows those who disagree with them to appeal to the PSC and the courts.3
-Eau Claire Leader-Telegram


References
1 The WTA has registered in opposition in 2009. The WCA has remained neutral.
2 Maps adopted under s. 66.1001(2)(b) on or before June 1, 2009.
3 http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-opinions.asp?id=BJP8BE09JFU

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