Energy Policy and Zoning/Planning
State regulators plan to vote Thursday on a Wisconsin utility's plans to build a massive wind farm in southern Minnesota.
Wisconsin Power & Light Co., a subsidiary of Madison-based Alliant Energy, wants permission to start the first phase of the farm on 32,500 acres just north of Albert Lea in Freeborn County. Plans call for scores of turbines that would generate about 200 megawatts of electricity.
The measure, approved by the agriculture, environment and natural resources committee, requires permits for windmills on the coast. Wind is part of a 2007 state law that mandates increased production from renewable energy sources.
But mountain turbines were dropped, said Sen. Charles Albertson, who sponsored the measure, because some lawmakers worried about the effects on tourism and aesthetics.
State lawmakers held off voting Tuesday on a proposal to ban wind power development in the mountains of western North Carolina. The delay was met with relief by wind power advocates who harbor dreams of erecting windmills in the Appalachian mountains, home to some of the best wind energy resources in the nation.
Wisconsin Rapids officials are working to create a policy regulating small wind-energy systems but want legislators in Madison to create a statewide law for consistency.
With a planned 350,000-square-foot plant expected to produce large, industrial wind turbine blades, the city currently has no rules regulating smaller, more residential wind mills, Mayor Mary Jo Carson said.
Legislation to get consideration today would restrict wind turbines on ridge tops from being more than 35 feet tall, a cap opponents said would kill a budding industry. ...Ridge-top protections in North Carolina date back to 1983 when all 25 mountain counties adopted rules banning tall structures on ridges 3,000 feet or higher.
There may be a place for local decision-making on wind farm siting, but the situation now is confusing for wind developers. Throw in the fact that wind turbines on federal land require additional analysis and approval by the Bureau of Land Management, and you have multiple levels of permitting that most certainly contain some inconsistencies.
nder the newly released ocean management plan for the state's coastal waters, Greater Newburyport's coastline could one day be home to 10 wind turbines.
Massachusetts officials yesterday released a draft of the plan that spells out rules for setting up wind farms in state waters.
A state plan to manage future renewable energy projects in coastal waters would put the kibosh on proposed large wind farms in Buzzards Bay but open up the possibility of as many as 10 turbines in the waters around Cape Cod and almost 170 turbines southwest of Martha's Vineyard.
"We're the first state in the nation to conduct such a comprehensive ocean management plan," Ian Bowles, state secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said.
High Court battle has been launched in a bid to prevent four wind turbines being built in the Derbyshire countryside.
Plans for the turbine generators and a substation at Carsington Pastures - next to Carsington Water - were initially turned down.
Applicant West Coast Energy then lodged an appeal and at a subsequent public inquiry a Government inspector ruled the effects on the nearby national park and two conservation areas were outweighed by the benefits of creating renewable energy.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson said the general consensus is that South Dakota should move faster to bring certain industries — wind farms, for instance — to the state.
The amount of channeled wind power in the state has increased 700 percent in the last 18 months, Johnson said, and work is continuing to lay groundwork for new wind farm projects.
Plans that could lead to 62 wind turbines on seven sites within a six-mile radius could be investigated by the Government, if a local MP gets his way.
Phil Wilson is calling for the intervention because he believes the plans represent excessive development in his Sedgefield constituency.
He has written to Peter Mandelson, secretary of state for business innovation and science, asking that the Government call in the schemes.
And there are still plenty of people in North Carolina who believe harnessing the coast's winds holds great potential to meet at least part of the state's future energy needs.
But any proposal to build an offshore wind farm today would run into an obstacle that could be a tougher challenger than the economics of cheap oil and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) protests.
The decision on the Logiealmond Wind Farm will not now be determined by Scottish Government Ministers in conjunction with the Calliacher Wind Farm application - but will be decided by delegated authority.
The news, received by Perth and Kinross Council, has been greeted with dismay by Councillor Barbara Vaughan, the Conservative representative for the Strathtay Ward.
A proposal to keep wind turbines out of the Blue Mountains and foothills will go before the Umatilla County Planning Commission Thursday.
Richard Jolly of Milton-Freewater submitted a Goal 5 amendment to the county's comprehensive plan, which aims to set aside an area as a wind turbine-free zone. ...It seeks to designate the area as a viewshed, or a visual resource, which needs to be protected by the county.
As the state moves forward with proposed legislation for siting wind turbines, planning board officials in some hilltowns want a public hearing in western Massachusetts, where the mountains, open space and vast areas of state-owned land could be prime locations for commercial windmills.
Last month, the Rowe, Heath and Hawley planning boards all sent letters to legislative co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications expressing concerns that the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act would 'significantly restrict Massachusetts communities' home rule authority.
Blowing up a storm
June 11, 2009
by Dakshana Bascaramurty, Dawn Walton and Rhéal Séguin
in Globe and Mail
By 2015, new wind-power developments will double the amount of wind energy produced in Canada.
But as government investment in wind power has increased, opposition has risen in tandem.
Local and provincial legislators are finally acknowledging opponents' growing concerns, but they certainly aren't putting the brakes on development.
The Maine Senate took a lopsided initial vote Monday to deny Carrabassett Valley the right to move forward with a plan to annex Redington Township.
Senators voted 29-6 against it, in a reversal of the State and Local Government Committee vote, which approved the measure.
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Two of the primary issues that have held back development of home or community-based turbines, industry experts say, are cost and regulation. Recent legislation has addressed each in part, but barriers remain. ..."We like the thoughts of wind turbines, but are opposed to law," said Bob Hall, manager of Ark Valley Electric Cooperative, saying it's unfair to the majority of its member customers and unreliable as an energy source.
Because of a loophole that allows zoning boards to approve test towers for wind turbines without notifying neighbors, residents near terrain favorable for wind energy could face the prospect of a major wind energy project being built in their community with limited ability to challenge it. ...That decision - affirmed at a contentious zoning board of appeals hearing in Colebrook in February - is now being challenged by King and other neighbors in a case scheduled to reach Superior Court in Litchfield in August.