The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to regulate the siting of power-generating wind turbines in Connecticut.
Some House members voiced concerns that the bill would impose a de facto moratorium because the legislation sets no deadlines for adopting regulations.
The legislation requires the Connecticut Siting Council to develop regulations in consultation with the departments of Public Utility Control and Environmental Protection.
Typically, state agencies take six to 18 months to enact regulations, said Rep. Vickie O. Nardello, D-Prospect, a chief sponsor of the legislation.
Daniel C. Esty, the DEP commissioner, said he expects the regulations will take from six months to a year to adopt. Kevin DelGobbo, chairman of the DPUC, said that was a reasonable expectation.
At this time, there are no specific rules regarding where turbines can be located, how they operate, or what happens after they reach the end of their useful lives.
The Energy and Technology Committee introduced the bill in response to turbine projects that have been proposed in Prospect and Colebrook.
Earlier this month, the Connecticut Siting Council refused to grant BNE Energy Inc. of West Hartford permission to erect two 492-foot-tall, 1.6-megawatt wind turbines in Prospect. The council is expected to rule on BNE Energy’s request to put six turbines in Colebrook next month.
The legislation lays out several factors that the siting council, the DEP and the DPUC must consider in drafting regulations.
The considerations are setbacks, including tower height and distance from neighboring properties, flicker, ice throw, blade shear, noise and effects on natural resources.
The legislation will require a turbine be decommissioned at the end of its useful life. It will also continue to permit the siting council to adopt regulations that set different requirements for projects of different sizes.
The House’s 132-6 vote sends the regulation bill to the Senate.
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