- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Tougher wind farm standards not given vote

A provision in Governor Scott Walkers’ proposed regulatory reform package that would strip local governments of their ability to negotiate lesser setback distances with wind developers will apparently not see the light of day. The Associated Press has been told that the bill will not be taken up by the Legislature during the special session.

Walker had been pushing for 10 separate bills as part of his goal to create jobs in the special session. Nine of those proposals have already passed one or both houses of the Legislature, and four have been signed into law. But Chris Reader, chief of staff for Sen. Rich Zipperer, said the Senate Judiciary Committee will not even have a public hearing.

The governor’s plan would require a setback distance between a turbine and neighboring property line of 1,800 feet. Currently, turbines must be built at least 1,250 feet from nearby homes.

Meanwhile, a statewide siting rule, approved by the Public Service Commission and set to take effect March 1, preserved local government authority to specify less restrictive conditions.

Currently, there are 12 wind farm projects in the works around Wisconsin, with billions of dollars already allocated toward them.

Walker says the provision was written to protect homeowners, who often say wind turbines can diminished their property values, cause noise pollution, and creation distracting vibrations.