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Act relating to the siting and operation of certain wind energy conversion facilities  

Author:  | Iowa, Regulations, Siting

3. a. A wind energy conversion facility shall be sited at the following distances:

(1) No less than two and one-half times the total height of a wind turbine to be constructed on a proposed facility or five thousand feet, whichever is greater, from any existing abutting dwelling or nonparticipating property.

(2) No less than one and one-tenth times the total height of a wind turbine to be constructed on a proposed facility or five hundred feet, whichever is greater, from any existing overhead utility line, electric substation, public road right-of-way, railroad right-of-way, or unoccupied structure. …

4. a. Prior to the siting of a proposed wind energy conversion facility, the owner of the proposed facility shall notify the owner or operator of any registered or licensed tower used for emergency services communications which is located within a five-mile radius of the proposed location.

b. A wind energy conversion facility shall be sited at a location which does not interfere with any existing emergency services communication equipment or systems. If the facility interferes with any such communication equipment or systems, the owner of the facility shall take all steps necessary to mitigate the effects of the interference.

5. Prior to the siting of a proposed wind energy conversion facility, the owner of the proposed facility shall file a decommissioning plan with the county recorder of the county in which the proposed facility will be located. If the proposed facility will be located within two miles outside the corporate limits of a city, the owner of the proposed facility shall also file the plan with the city clerk of the city. The plan shall be accompanied by a bond or an irrevocable letter of credit in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of removal of the facility. This subsection shall not apply to a wind energy conversion facility owned or operated by a rate-regulated public utility.

6. A wind energy conversion facility shall be presumed abandoned if the facility fails to operate or be staffed for more than twenty-four consecutive months without generating energy. The owner of the abandoned facility shall be responsible for the removal of the facility, including the removal of infrastructure four feet below ground level.

7. This section does not prohibit a local authority from imposing additional or more restrictive regulations or requirements relating to the siting or removal of wind energy conversion facilities, except to the extent such regulations or requirements conflict with this section or any other provision of law.

8. This section does not prohibit a landowner from waiving any requirements under this section by conveying an easement or other property interest. …

Sec. 2. NEW SECTION. 476.50A Wind energy conversion facilities —— connection with electric distribution system.

1. A wind energy conversion facility, as defined in section 476C.1, which has a nameplate generating capacity greater than five hundred kilowatts shall not connect with the electric distribution system unless authorized by the board in a contested case proceeding pursuant to chapter 17A. The board shall set the case for hearing and give such notice thereof as it deems appropriate. The board shall, as part of its review, consider engineering studies conducted by affected public utilities.

2. This section shall not apply to a wind energy conversion facility owned or operated by a rate-regulated public utility.

EXPLANATION

This bill establishes new Code sections 476.50 and 476.50A, relating to the siting and operation of certain wind energy conversion facilities.

New Code section 476.50 provides certain siting requirements for wind energy conversion facilities which have a nameplate generating capacity greater than 100 kilowatts. The bill provides that it is the intent of the general assembly to: support the establishment and growth of renewable energy in Iowa through common sense regulations that ensure fairness; prevent regulatory manipulation efforts by unregulated entities; and encourage statewide uniform standards for the siting and development of wind energy conversion facilities in Iowa. The bill provides that it is not the intent of the general assembly to negatively affect renewable energy generation for private generation customers, rate-regulated public utilities, municipally owned utilities, or rural electric cooperatives.

The bill provides that a facility shall be sited at a distance no less than the greater of two and one-half times the total height of a wind turbine to be constructed on a proposed facility, as described in the bill, or 5,000 feet from any existing abutting dwelling or nonparticipating property, and at a distance no less than the greater of one and one-tenth times the total height of a wind turbine or 500 feet from any existing overhead utility line, electric substation, public road right-of-way, railroad right-of-way, or unoccupied structure. The bill includes definitions for “abutting dwelling”, “nonparticipating property”, “public road right-of-way”, “railroad right-of-way”, and “unoccupied structure”.

The bill provides that prior to the siting of a proposed facility, the owner of the proposed facility shall notify the owner or operator of any registered or licensed emergency services communications tower located within a five-mile radius of the proposed location. A facility shall be sited at a location which does not interfere with any existing emergency services communication equipment or systems. If the facility interferes with any such equipment, the owner of the facility shall take all necessary steps to mitigate the interference.

The bill provides that prior to the siting of a proposed facility, the owner of the proposed facility shall file a decommissioning plan with the county where the proposed facility will be located, and specified cities if applicable.

The plan shall be accompanied with a bond or irrevocable letter of credit in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of removal of the facility. This requirement does not apply to a facility owned or operated by a rate-regulated public utility.

The bill provides that a facility shall be presumed abandoned and shall be removed by the owner, including the removal of infrastructure four feet below ground level, if the facility fails to operate or be staffed for more than consecutive months without generating energy.

The bill provides that it does not prohibit local authorities from imposing additional or more restrictive requirements relating to the siting or removal of facilities, unless such requirements conflict with the bill or any other provision of law. The bill also provides that it does not prohibit a landowner from waiving any requirements of the bill with respect to siting.

The bill provides that it does not apply to wind energy conversion facilities existing on or before January 1, 2024, or facilities the construction of which is begun prior to January 1, 2024, and is scheduled for completion by January 1, 2025, as described in the bill. The Iowa utilities board may grant additional time for completion of such a facility for a period of up to 12 months upon a showing of good cause.

The bill provides that it does not apply to the repowering of a wind energy conversion facility existing on or before January 1, 2024, provided that the repowering does not violate the siting distance requirements contained in the bill.

The bill provides that the board may adopt rules to implement Code section 476.50.

New Code section 476.50A provides that wind energy conversion facilities which have a nameplate generating capacity of greater than 500 kilowatts shall not connect with the electric distribution system unless authorized by the board pursuant to a contested case proceeding, after notice and a hearing. In doing so, the board shall consider engineering studies conducted by affected public utilities. Code section 476.50A does not apply to facilities owned or operated by rate-regulated public utilities.

Introduced January 9, 2023.

Download original document: “An Act relating to the siting and operation of certain wind energy conversion facilities

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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