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Wind turbine policy met with many questions

Early work on a unified wind turbine policy was met with many questions at Thursday's Burleigh County Planning Commission meeting. Bismarck City Planner Gregg Greenquist said the policy should be split between "household wind energy systems" and larger wind farms. Greenquist said a large expansion is planned for a wind farm near Wilton into the Burleigh County jurisdiction.

Early work on a unified wind turbine policy was met with many questions at Thursday's Burleigh County Planning Commission meeting.

Bismarck City Planner Gregg Greenquist said the policy should be split between "household wind energy systems" and larger wind farms.

Greenquist said a large expansion is planned for a wind farm near Wilton into the Burleigh County jurisdiction. "The towers that are there are in Ecklund Township. ... The proposed expansion would go into Croft Township under Burleigh County jurisdiction."

Greenquist said they are planning the special use permit process. He said a draft of the ordinance might be given in December.

He noted a public hearing for an ordinance on smaller household turbines will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the City/County Building.

Greenquist suggested the county's policy for smaller turbines be similar to the city's. "It's easier for people selling and installing these to have a level playing field across both jurisdictions," he reasoned.

Burleigh Commissioner Mark Armstrong named many concerns over health risks, structural concerns and threat to wildlife.

He said the most common structural... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Early work on a unified wind turbine policy was met with many questions at Thursday's Burleigh County Planning Commission meeting.

Bismarck City Planner Gregg Greenquist said the policy should be split between "household wind energy systems" and larger wind farms.

Greenquist said a large expansion is planned for a wind farm near Wilton into the Burleigh County jurisdiction. "The towers that are there are in Ecklund Township. ... The proposed expansion would go into Croft Township under Burleigh County jurisdiction."

Greenquist said they are planning the special use permit process. He said a draft of the ordinance might be given in December.

He noted a public hearing for an ordinance on smaller household turbines will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the City/County Building.

Greenquist suggested the county's policy for smaller turbines be similar to the city's. "It's easier for people selling and installing these to have a level playing field across both jurisdictions," he reasoned.

Burleigh Commissioner Mark Armstrong named many concerns over health risks, structural concerns and threat to wildlife.

He said the most common structural failures are to the blades of the turbines. "Since most of the towers and blades have never been tested in North Dakota's extreme temperature availability, we don't have any idea how safe they will be," he said.

Armstrong asked if their distance from homes should be lengthened. "Prescribed setbacks for structural safety are 1,000 feet from the nearest dwelling. In Europe now, they are recommending setbacks of ... 6,400 feet from any structure."

Armstrong said low-frequency sound levels from the devices also are being linked to health issues. He said residents of an Australian town are claiming problems with headaches, sleep deprivation and nausea from a nearby wind farm.

He cited icing as another threat. "Ice fragments have been known to be thrown - two-pound chunks of ice landing 330 feet from the turbines," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the biggest concern was the threat to wildlife. He said North Dakota is known for its wind and bird migration zones.

He asked that the setbacks be re-examined, a conservation plan be required and low-frequency sound levels be studied.

Greenquist said Armstrong's input would considered for the draft. He said 10 policies from around the state are being studied to write Burleigh County's turbine policy.


Source: http://www.bismarcktribune....

NOV 13 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23086-wind-turbine-policy-met-with-many-questions
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