Comments due by Dec. 8! Click here
In Wisconsin, local governments can prevent an energy development only on health and safety grounds. This “reform” would take away that right. In addition, this “reform” proposes easing any remaining burden on the developer.
“7. Specific Description of Policy Proposal: Legislation would contain the following elements: (1) definitions of large and small wind energy systems; (2) a requirement on the PSC to draft uniform standards for siting large and small wind energy systems; (3) creation of an optional process for PSC review of projects under 100 MW that have large wind energy systems; (4) a mechanism for allowing parties to appeal a decision rendered by a local jurisdiction to the PSC; (5) extending Chapter 227 judicial review provisions to wind projects permitted by local jurisdictions, including the ability to appeal a decision under 100 MW; and (6) a prohibition on local ordinances restricting meteorological test towers. These provisions would essentially require the PSC to promulgate standards for local review, such as setback distances and sound output, and apply them to both agency-reviewed projects as well as those reviewed by local land use authorities.
“The new rules adopted by the Commission for wind projects under 100 MW would be less rigorous than what is required under the CPCN process. The developer should not be required to demonstrate need, nor should the developer be required to present an alternative site as part of the permit application.
“8. Timetables, Duration and Stringency Option: Once the legislation is enacted, the PSC would have a specified period of time to adopt emergency rules establishing uniform standards for permitting wind projects. These standards would apply to PSC-reviewed wind projects as well as those reviewed by local jurisdictions. These rules would remain in effect indefinitely.
… Today, at least 400 MW of wind projects currently under development are subject to local restrictions [e.g., wind ordinances in Manitowoc, Door and Shawano counties and the Town of Stockbridge (Calumet County) and the moratoria in Calumet and Trempealeau counties and the Town of Glenmore (Brown County)] that prevent them from going forward.