In June 2017, a more than $100 million wind farm project in Tennessee was put on hold after state lawmakers passed a yearlong moratorium on new turbines. A renewed effort to push House Bill 1731 passed the State House of Representatives today by a vote of 63 to 23. The bill establishes regulations for the wind energy industry in the state. The bill urges the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to study wind-energy facility regulations adopted in local governments of the state; requires the department to submit a written summary of local regulations within 60 days from the conclusion of the study to the members of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives and the Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee of the State Senate.
Representative Andy Holt of Dresden said the bill sets the threshold so high it will be very hard for wind energy to come into Tennessee. Holt recognized a group from Cumberland County that attended the general assembly in Nashville today that opposes wind farms in the county. “If they do not want wind turbines in Cumberland County, I say take the wind turbine project out of Cumberland County,” said Holt.
Representative Cameron Sexton of Crossville sponsored the bill and said the bill protects personal and adjacent property owners’ rights when it comes to the placement of wind turbines. The bill would allow a county governments to come up with regulations regarding wind farms in their county and would have a implementation date of January 1, 2019. The bill will now proceed to the State Senate for consideration.