Wisconsin’s utilities commission has set guidelines aiming to align the state’s hotchpotch of local siting rules.
The Public Service Commission’s rules, if approved, will serve as ceilings on the regulations that local government can pass on wind farms of under 100MW.
The rules cover setbacks, noise, shadow flicker, compensation and other issues.
Wind farm requirements have varied greatly between counties in Wisconsin, with at least one imposing a blanket ban on wind turbines.
The state has suffered a years-long development drought, stuck at under half a gigawatt of wind power.
Legislators reacted last year by passing a law requiring the PSC to establish the uniform permitting standards.
The guidelines will now be reviewed by the state legislature.
Under the guidelines local governments in Wisconsin can set the following rules:
- Notice: Developers must notify landowners within a mile of a proposed wind farm, at least 90 days before filing applications.
- Setbacks: 1.1 times the blade height for participating residences, non-participating property lines, public roads and overhead power and phone lines. Maximum setbacks of up to 3.1 times the blade height for non-participating residences and community buildings.
- Shadow Flicker: No more than 30 hours per year of shadow flicker for non-participating residences or community buildings. Mitigation measures can be required if shadow flicker reaches 20 hours per year.
- Noise: Can be restricted to maximum 45 dBA at night and 50 dBA during the day.
- Good neighbour payments: Turbine owners can be required to pay non-participating landowners within a half mile of the wind farm. Compensation not to exceed 25% of the payments made to landowners.
- Complaint resolution: The rules establish a complaint resolution process, with local decisions on complaints appealable to the commission.
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