Article

County adopts new rules for wind energy

Included in the ordinance's environmental protections are requirements to conduct "biological and special-status plant" studies before construction of the energy system, as well as limitations of the system's height and noise emitted. For parcels between two and five acres, towers cannot exceed 50 feet.

County adopts new rules for wind energy

Napa County has some new rules on the books, as the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that could see small wind energy systems cropping up in unincorporated areas throughout the valley.

Under the new ordinance, land owners may install small wind energy systems - used primarily to generate energy that will be used on-site - on parcels of land greater than two acres in the county's agricultural preserve, agricultural watershed and industrial zoning districts.

Hillary Gitelman, the county's director of conservation, development and planning, said the ordinance came about after the state Legislature required counties to establish their own provisions for wind energy systems by Jan. 1, or risk operating under the "one-size-fits-all approach handed down by Sacramento."

Hoping to preserve one of the valley's most valued resources, county planners say the resulting ordinance pays close attention to the environmental needs of the regions, something which likely would have been overlooked in guidelines applied statewide.

"(Napa's ordinance) is more environmentally friendly," John McDowell, the county's deputy planning director,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

County adopts new rules for wind energy

Napa County has some new rules on the books, as the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that could see small wind energy systems cropping up in unincorporated areas throughout the valley.

Under the new ordinance, land owners may install small wind energy systems - used primarily to generate energy that will be used on-site - on parcels of land greater than two acres in the county's agricultural preserve, agricultural watershed and industrial zoning districts.

Hillary Gitelman, the county's director of conservation, development and planning, said the ordinance came about after the state Legislature required counties to establish their own provisions for wind energy systems by Jan. 1, or risk operating under the "one-size-fits-all approach handed down by Sacramento."

Hoping to preserve one of the valley's most valued resources, county planners say the resulting ordinance pays close attention to the environmental needs of the regions, something which likely would have been overlooked in guidelines applied statewide.

"(Napa's ordinance) is more environmentally friendly," John McDowell, the county's deputy planning director, said. "It accounts for the unique environmental characteristics of Napa County."

Included in the ordinance's environmental protections are requirements to conduct "biological and special-status plant" studies before construction of the energy system, as well as limitations of the system's height and noise emitted.

For parcels between two and five acres, towers cannot exceed 50 feet, while towers built on parcels five acres or larger are capped at 80 feet.

With regard to noise, the ordinance makes an effort to ensure that residents of the rural county are not kept awake at night by the humming of wind-powered turbines.

The ordinance states that decibel levels for the systems "shall not exceed the interior and exterior noise limits" established by the county code, which are more stringent than regulations included in the state-wide provisions. The county's noise restrictions range from 45 to 75 decibels depending on the type of land use in question.

According to a study conducted by the British Wind Energy Association, small wind turbines typically fall between 50 and 70 decibels when the observer is 100 feet away.

Immediately following the ordinance's adoption, the board voted to require potential wind turbine builders to obtain an administrative permit for $1,388.

The new ordinance amends county rules regarding wind power that have been in place since 1983, and replaces the previous wind-energy ordinance, which ended in July 2005.

McDowell said that only one wind-energy system had been constructed under the previous guidelines, near Jamieson Canyon.

The recently approved ordinance is set to take effect on Dec. 31, 2010 and will automatically end on Jan. 1, 2017.


Source: http://napavalleyregister.c...

NOV 27 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/29056-county-adopts-new-rules-for-wind-energy
back to top