Energy Policy and Zoning/Planning
Maine's largest wind power developer is asking state regulators to reclassify nearly 700 acres of timberland in northern Washington County where the company hopes to build part of a 25-turbine wind farm.
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State wind energy siting legislation that's been criticized by some West County town officials will be the subject of a Franklin County Planning Board meeting this week.
The proposed Wind Energy Siting Reform Act, designed to speed development of wind turbine farms -- primarily in western Franklin County and on Cape Cod -- will be discussed by the board at a 7 p.m. meeting Thursday.
Two utility-scale wind projects on hold in Berkshire County, with a combined 45 megawatts of capacity, would expand wind generated electricity in the state by about 500 percent and power the equivalent of 15,000 homes, according to local and state officials.
But both are tied up in litigation filed by local property owners, and one of the projects has been delayed for more than five years.
A bill pending in the Legislature might cut the time needed for permitting, eliminating much of the litigation-generated delays.
Well over 100 people attended the public hearing called to receive feedback on the Oceans Management Plan, billed by the state government as a first-in-the-nation attempt to manage all development in Massachusetts waters. But just one issue dominated proceedings: wind generation. ...Overwhelmingly, the dozens who rose to speak were opposed to the plan, either outright or in part - although most also asserted their support in principle for alternative power generation.
How close would you want to live to a wind farm? That's a question lawmakers are considering as they try to create more wind energy projects.
State Senators are scheduled Tuesday to vote on a bill (SB 185), which would direct the Public Service Commission to set a statewide set of standards on where turbines could be sited in relation to homes and businesses.
As of now, depending on the county, those tall spinning turbines can as be close as 500 feet from homes, or as far away as one mile.
Granite Reliable Power LLC, the company that plans to build a 33-turbine wind farm in Coos County, asked the state last week to deny two motions for a rehearing.
The motions were frilled Aug. 14 by the state attorney general's office, which serves as counsel for the public, and the Industrial Wind Action Group, which opposes the project.
In his motion, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Roth argued for a rehearing, stating that GRP does not have the financial capability to carry out the project and there is no "assurance the project will be constructed and operated in continuing compliance with the certificate."
A state senate panel has advanced a bill that would create a statewide standard for siting wind farms in Wisconsin. But senators changed the plan to add protections for people who live near the massive wind turbines. ...under a provision passed by a senate panel, the PSC would have to consider the health effects of wind turbines when they decide how far to set them back from homes.
A third meeting of county officials reviewing HNWD's plans was held at a brisk pace this week. The Technical Review Committee of county administrator Roberta Lambert and building official Jim Whitelaw is sorting through a checklist of conditions Highland New Wind Development must meet before it can get a green light for construction.
Opponents of the 38-megawatt electric utility are pushing to hold the county, and HNWD, accountable for meeting their responsibilities, raising questions about erosion control, wetlands protection, proper maps, and other concerns.
Along the northern border of Umatilla County, at about the center of the county, the state drew a 400,000 acre box and called it an energy generation area. It includes Milton-Freewater, some of Pendleton, Adams, Athena and Weston.
This week the Umatilla County Commissioners decided they want to ask the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council to get rid of it. ..."It creates a disadvantage in the marketplace when the state leads instead of the county," Mabbott said.
A wind energy debate that's turned neighbor against neighbor in Calumet County took a new turn last week through 13 pages prepared by a three-judge panel.
A county ordinance that regulated wind turbines is no longer valid, according the state Court of Appeals.
Officials said it's too early to tell what the decision will mean to the future of wind energy in Calumet County.
Hundreds more wind farms than those already planned will have to be built to meet "flawed" Government targets for renewable energy, it was claimed last night. ...Professor Ian Fells, an energy expert and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said the Government's plans were "hugely expensive" and "wildly optimistic."
The Senate's Finance Committee had approved a version of the bill that included rules for permits to build wind farms in the N.C. mountains on Tuesday. But in floor debate Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Steve Goss, D-Watauga, attempted to amend the bill to allow more wind development in the high country.
Controversial plans to build four 102m wind turbines at Carsington Pastures have been given the go-ahead.
A High Court Judge has today determined that proposals for the wind farm should proceed. Pundits said the ruling could be a landmark case for the future of wind farms across Britain.
State senators came to no conclusion today about whether to keep windmills from lining mountain ridges. ...After Democrats huddled privately, the bill was sent back to the Senate Agriculture Committee for more work.
Local and global environmental worries ran into each other Wednesday on the floor of the state Senate.
"It's a competing environmental issue," state Sen. Joe Sam Queen told fellow senators, "developing alternative wind energy and preserving the beauty of the mountains."
Senate Democrats from Western North Carolina sparred over whether windmills should be allowed to line ridge tops.
A Wisconsin appeals court is limiting the restrictions that local municipalities can place on the installation of wind turbines.
The District 2 Court of Appeals says state law promotes alternative energy sources such as wind energy and discourages local policies that arbitrarily limit them.
A majority of "construction ready" wind projects in Ontario won't go forward if the province passes regulations that keep wind turbines a minimum distance from residences, roads and railway lines, warns Canada's wind energy association.
A Wisconsin appeals court on Wednesday effectively struck down numerous municipal ordinances that have slowed the development of wind energy, lawyers said.
Local governments cannot pass broad rules dictating how far wind turbines must be from other buildings, how tall they can be or how much noise they can produce, the Waukesha-based District 2 Court of Appeals ruled.
The prospects for harnessing the winds whipping across a mountain ridge in Mitchell County depend on which way the wind blows in the General Assembly.
Some lawmakers want to create a permit process for wind farms in the mountains, while others want to ban such clusters of windmills from ridges.
Officials say they are poised to lure a wind-energy company and its green jobs to Spruce Pine if legislators open the door.
Monday's formal adjudication hearing in Ellensburg on the proposed Desert Claim Wind Power Project may take less time than other county wind farms that have come before the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC.