Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Iowa
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors recently denied a request from Con Edison for variances on a proposed wind turbine project. The project calls for three wind turbines along driveways from 230th Street in Prairie Township. The turbines would be connected with an underground collection line that follows east along 230th Street to 167th Avenue.
With the year 2020 coming to a close, KMA News presents "Project 2020," a series of reports looking back at the top local and regional news stories of the past year. Today's segment features a look at the issue of wind turbines in Page County.
The Madison County Board of Supervisors in Iowa approved a new county wind ordinance on December 22, 2020. Specifics of the ordinance are provided below. The full ordinance can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
The Kossuth County Board of Supervisors is considering how to craft what essentially would be a ban on the expansion of commercial wind energy production in the county.
Senator Zach Whiting of Spirit Lake, a member of the Iowa Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee, said he has a number of concerns about “the dramatic expansion of eminent domain authority the Utilities Board appears to give itself.” Private property rights and utility development have been a flash point for lawmakers from both parties for years.
“I have a number of concerns about these proposed rules from the Iowa Utilities Board,” Whiting said in a statement. “My principal concern is the dramatic expansion of eminent domain authority the IUB appears to give itself. Private property is one of the fundamental aspects of our republic. “Eroding those rights through administrative rule-making conflicts with the founding principles of our state and nation,” Whiting said.
This email from RPM Access confirms the company's cancellation of the Washburn Wind energy facility. The 35-turbine (70 MW) project to be constructed in Black Hawk County Iowa was first approved in a 3-2 vote of the Board of Adjustment in April 2018. In early 2019, the company secured an extension from the county to delay start of construction until July 1, 2020. A law suit filed by county resident, Harold Youngblut, argued the county ordinance was not followed. The court ruled against Mr. Youngblut which he appealed. RMP Access insisted that the suit hindered its ability to find buyers for the energy.
Keynon is trying to get away from the legal position of saying “stop” because he isn’t sure he can take a legal position and defend the county by saying that. Instead, the board can say it is putting on hold, pausing or slowing this process down. Ultimately, the board adopted the policy to put a hold on any new applications until January 1, 2021. The policy will be implemented August 1.
Iowa, a national leader in wind energy, is weighing new rules for siting renewable energy projects — regulations that could shake up a system that's enabled billions of dollars of investment in the state over the past two decades.
The Fremont County Board of Supervisors this week set the public hearing for its May 13th meeting. Deputy County Attorney Tyler Loontjer says the proposed ordinance drew from similar ordinances across the state.
The current ordinance requires there to be 1500 feet between a wind turbine and any home on neighboring property. Supervisor Jon Herzberg said increasing the setback much more would effectively end wind energy possibilities in the county. “A 1600-feet setback is about the most you can go, otherwise the wind energy company won’t come in,” he said.
Changes could be coming to Page County's wind turbine ordinance. The Page County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to consider an amendment to the county's wind energy conversion system ordinance at its regular meeting Tuesday morning at the county courthouse.
Leaders in southwest Iowa’s Page County held two public hearings this week to gather residents’ comments on wind power, whether to allow more wind turbines to be built or to enact tighter regulations on the turbines.
"Our intent in having an ordinance is to protect people," said Morris. "I'm proud of that fact. Is it perfect? No, that's why we're debating here. How do we make this ordinance work best for everybody? It's a tough issue. You have land rights that are important, whether that's with a windmill or without a windmill."
Hardin County supervisors unanimously passed an indefinite moratorium on wind turbine building permits at its meeting Wednesday.
The amendment caps the number of commercial wind turbines or wind farms erected within the boundaries of Adair County at a total of no more than 535. Adair County currently has 532 turbines completed or under construction. This comes after neighboring Union County earlier this year passed its ordinance allowing the construction of wind farms to start within the county.
Page County is the latest to deal with the controversy involving wind turbines in the state. By unanimous vote Tuesday morning, the county's board of supervisors approved an ordinance designed to--quote--"promote the public health, safety, comfort and general welfare" regarding turbines.
Renewable energy in Iowa hit new headwinds Tuesday as Madison County supervisors passed the state's first moratorium on new wind turbine installations and Adair County leaders said they were considering capping the number of turbines in their county, effectively stopping new construction. Madison County supervisors voted 2-1 to approve their moratorium, which also applies to new solar energy installations.
Today, a reading in Madison County will help decide whether wind and solar energy projects will be delayed.
The Madison County Board of Supervisors has scaled back the duration of its proposed moratorium on new wind turbines. The board voted to end the moratorium on October 1st of next year, rather than on January 1, 2022.