Up to 20 percent of land owners in Douglas County will now be able to use windmills to generate energy.
In an effort to encourage renewable energy use, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance Thursday that allows windmills to be built on residential parcels of five acres or larger.
But some are concerned that allowing 20 percent of land owners to build windmills isn’t enough.
“What we have here is an ordinance that will eliminate any wind turbines in Douglas County,” Gardnerville resident Jim Morris said.
Assistant Planner Dirk Goering said the county was trying to introduce an ordinance that wouldn’t “alienate” anyone, citing noise and view shed issues among the concerns discussed at public focus groups over the last year.
“We wanted to introduce wind energy conversion systems in a sensitive manner,” he said.
Goering said that Douglas County only allowed land parcels designated for public facility use to build windmills.
In 2005 the Nevada Legislature passed a law to encourage use of windmills to generate energy. The law allows local governments to regulate the structures.
The size of windmills allowed will depend on the size of the plot of land it’s built on. Under the new guidelines a five-acre parcel will be allowed to have a 35-foot-tall windmill with a 10-foot-wide rotor.
Even commissioners said they would like to eventually see an ordinance that allows more windmills to be built in Douglas County.
“I’d like to see it down to one acre,” said Commission Chairman Doug Johnson.
Planner Harmon Zuckerman said the new ordinance will facilitate wind energy generation in Douglas County.
“It is very possible that we could achieve energy independence under this ordinance,” he said.
by Christina Nelson
3 August 2007
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