Massachusetts energy regulators have extended the deadline for the public to comment on best practices for siting land-based wind turbines.
Originally the comment period was to run through Dec. 6, but the state Department of Public Utilities posted a notice Monday extending it through Feb. 6.
In an order issued at the end of October, the department proposed to develop the “wind-siting guidance” in an effort to balance the state’s goals for wind energy with obstacles to installing turbines.
Although there have been a number of legislative efforts to develop wind-siting regulations, including some by Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, none of these initiatives have succeeded. Patrick has set a goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind energy in the state by 2020, with the majority coming from offshore projects.
Lilli-Ann Green,, of Wellfleet, a member of Wind Wise-Massachusetts, wrote in an email that the group, which opposes the state’s wind energy policies, had asked for the extension to allow enough time for residents and experts to comment on the potential siting guidelines. The best practices developed through the process will not be regulations but would be offered to towns to use in existing reviews of wind-energy projects, according to state officials.
The utilities department intends to issue a draft proposal in the spring, according to the notice of the extension.
“The additional time will enable the many homeowners who have serious concerns about wind turbines near their homes to provide personal stories and documented evidence about the negative impact these turbines have had on their health as well as others throughout the commonwealth to provide information to the DPU,” Green wrote.
A series of public hearings to take comment on best practices for wind energy siting also will be held in January, according the notice.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding