The state House of Representatives Tuesday voted 132-6 to approve a bill requiring the state to require state agencies to develop specific regulations for the approval of wind turbine electricity-generation projects, after two recent wind-power proposals have sparked major controversies.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
It would require the Connecticut Siting Council, in consultation with the state departments of Public Utility Control and Environmental Protection, to adopt regulations that would consider factors such as height of the towers and how far they are set back from neighboring properties.
Other factors to be considered would include “impact on natural resources,” and a requirement for the developer to “decommission the facility at the end of its useful life.” The regulations would require a public hearing for wind power projects.
The state has no operating wind turbines. On May 12, the siting council – which decides on suitable sites for power facilities and transmission lines, as well as hazardous waste facilities – rejected a wind-farm developer’s proposal to construct two, 492-foot industrial turbines in Prospect. The council said the “visual effects” were unacceptable, considering the density of the homes in the area and the turbines’ height.
The developer, BNE Energy Inc., of West Hartford, also has a second application pending with the siting council to build six industrial wind turbines in Colebrook. A vote is expected next month.
BNE representatives said the rejection of the Prospect proposal went against state policies and legislation adopted in recent years to encourage development of renewable energy.
But Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect, co-chairwoman of the legislature’s energy and technology committee, said the rejection confirmed that wind projects “need to be developed carefully” using the proposed regulations that she said could be drafted in the coming year.
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