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Council passes ordinance banning turbines in city limits

The Rensselaer City Council passed an ordinance banning wind turbines within city limits or the two-mile area around the city known as the “Buffer Zone” during its meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, May 29.

Rensselaer Mayor Stephen Wood said the ordinance was authored by City Attorney Michael Riley at the council’s request. It was passed unanimously, and with the immediate effect, as of Tuesday. It reads, in part, that “no person or entity shall construct or operate a wind turbine used to generate electricity for wholesale or retail energy markets in the City of Rensselaer or within two miles of the city limit in the area commonly referred to as the ‘Buffer Zone.’”

“The council feels that we don’t want them in our city limits,” Wood said. “…And we’d rather not have them in the buffer zone.”

Wood acknowledged that the issue of local wind farms has become controversial for locals in Rensselaer and the surrounding area.

“There is a strong element out there, it seems, that they don’t want this, even for the county areas,” Wood said of potential wind farms in the county. “…I don’t blame them, some of them…They cast a big shadow.”

Wood said that the idea for the ordinance request began when he was approached in his office by members of the council.

“With all the push-back on the super-turbines…they came to me and said ‘Hey, you know, we probably need to get some sort of ordinance in place,’” Wood said.

That said, the Mayor denied knowledge of any attempt by any organization to place turbines in the city limits. He also stated that he is not aware that anyone else in the city government was called either.

“I don’t think they would attempt it,” Wood said of wind farm organizations. “But that’s not to say somebody couldn’t have called somebody else here. I don’t know.”