Articles filed under Zoning/Planning
NorthWestern Energy said it is seeking permits for a natural-gas-fired power plant near Anaconda, Mont., and hopes to start building the plant next year. ...The $206 million plant would be used to stabilize the electric grid and allow NorthWestern to take more wind power onto the system, company officials said. ...PSC Commissioner Ken Toole welcomed the permit application. He said such a plant could allow for the production of more wind power plants, which require so-called "firming" power to fill in the gaps when winds are not blowing.
Backyard wind towers would be limited to 35 feet in height under an ordinance proposal being considered by the Minot Planning Commission. An ad hoc committee of the commission reported Monday on its recommendations for wind towers. The commission formed the committee in response to a turbine request from landowners in a rural subdivision that falls within the city's zoning jurisdiction. The commission voted 10-1 to recommend the Minot City Council deny the request from William and Sandra Carlson for a turbine of up to 100 feet in height at 5408-6th St. SE.
Michael Khouri lives on Middle Highway. Like many of the residents at the Committee for Renewable Energy for Barrington (CREB) community meeting Wednesday night, Aug. 20, Mr. Khouri went to the event in search of answers. Most of the two-and-a-half hour meeting, however, was spent in heated debate. The majority of the residents at the meeting at the American Legion Hall said they were concerned about the proximity of the wind turbine to their home if it is constructed at Legion Way, the noise it will generate, and its impact on wildlife in the area.
The Luverne Wind Farm may have to wait until November or later for final approval. The North Dakota Public Service Commission indicated Monday that the 157.5-megawatt wind farm may not be approved until M-Power, LLC, the community-owned developer, completes archaeological and wetlands surveys - and that may not be until after the fall harvest. M-Power asked that the wind farm siting be approved, contingent on cultural and wetlands survey results and other data meeting state regulations.
He said he returned from the June 17 and 18 conference set on writing wind turbine zoning rules for Porter County after seeing a climate map of the state that put the southern townships square in the path of steady prevailing winds. "It's coming. Porter County is prime," he said. He said he also found phone messages from at least three energy companies seeking information on what the county could offer and might require of a wind farm development.
The Wall Street Journal recently noted that increasing wind power to 20 percent in the next two decades alone would require a $2 trillion investment. Energy costs already strain household budgets, especially those of lower-income families and individuals. This year, U.S. households bringing home less than $50,000 a year - that is, half of households - will spend a quarter of their after-tax income on energy, double the percentage they spent in 2001.
A court victory for wind farm advocates in the town of Lyme has apparently come too late to save a proposed wind farm project. British Petroleum Alternative Energy, which had hoped to build turbines in the town, halted plans after council members passed a zoning law that BP found to be too restrictive. ...While the case was being decided in state supreme court, BP went ahead with its plans to build 95 turbines in the town of Cape Vincent.
Opponents of plans for a 127 metre-high wind turbine next to Dewlay's cheese business off the A6 near Garstang will find out on Wednesday (Aug 27) if planning bosses are urging approval or refusal of the scheme. Details of the recommendation will be made public on Wednesday when the agenda for the September 3 meeting is published. As reported in last week's Courier more than 300 people have objected to the plans.
Town Meeting referred the proposed bylaw back to a committee that would include two members of the Planning Board, two members of the Standing Committee on Planning and Zoning, two members of the Greener Framingham Committee, and one member from the Board of Selectmen. That task force is to report back to fall Town Meeting with its recommendations. With a handful of meetings already under its belt, the proceedings of the wind conversion facility bylaw subcommittee are not proceeding very swiftly, according to two of its members.
According to Dave Ryan, president of the Montana Renewable Energy Association, Montana is ranked No. 5 among the states in terms of wind resources. "There is pretty good potential here," said Ryan, "particularly the down slope winds along the front range." Ryan stresses that the secret to tapping wind energy, as with real estate, is location, location, location. "Wind is very microclimate-sensitive, which means it can vary greatly from one area to another. Just because your neighbor has a productive wind turbine is no guarantee that you will."
A wind farm given the green-light in Essex will have to go before the Planning Inspectorate again after the original permission was quashed. Maldon District Council had conceded defeat last October in its battle against plans for 10 turbines at Hockley Farm, Bradwell. But it has now emerged the scheme will have to be re-assessed by the Planning Inspectorate after drafting errors were made in two of the planning conditions. It is the latest twist in the saga of the wind farm, which was originally rejected by council planners before getting the go-ahead last year following a public inquiry.
A state Supreme Court judge has ruled the Lyme Town Council acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" when it rejected 10 property owners' petition protesting the adoption of a local law regulating the siting of wind turbines. Judge Hugh A. Gilbert also declared Thursday the town law adopted May 6, which, among other things, required a minimum setback of 4,500 feet from the high-water marks of Lake Ontario and the Chaumont River, is invalid.
The Town of Volney has followed suit with other central New York municipalities in establishing regulations for residential wind energy systems. The town board adopted a local law regulating private windmills during its meeting last week. "We felt it was important that if people started to get interested in residential wind mills that there be at least some regulations in place to give them some guidelines," said board member Kevin Connelly.
In a move which acknowledges almost a year of bureaucratic missteps, Aquinnah selectmen have announced their plan to scrap an energy district of critical planning concern, created to help push through a pioneering bylaw on wind turbines. But those involved have voiced a determination not to give up on an initiative ...Earlier this week selectman Camille Rose scheduled a hearing to rescind the energy district with the Martha's Vineyard Commission for Sept. 16. If approved, it will end the energy district and lift the building moratorium.
One industry insider, Mick Sagrillo of the American Wind Energy Association, warned in an interview in Renewable Energy World that the some companies may try to exploit the concerned public's inflated hopes: "It's great that people are looking for alternatives, but it's amazing how little people know when they seek them out. That leaves people open to purchasing a product that is less-than-reliable. We are a very gullible culture, we're always looking for the magic bullet."
A company from Kansas is exploring building two wind farms, one near Kouts and one near LaCrosse. Within the next month, Trade Wind Energy of Lenexa, Kan., will erect a 197-foot-tall wind monitoring tower. ...Because guide wire towers are not allowed in the county, a zoning variance had to be granted this week.
A wind farm developer has won an appeal to build a 60-metre test mast between two villages. Earlier this year, Stockton Council's planning committee turned down Broadview Energy's proposal to erect a monitoring mast on farmland between Hilton and Seamer. However, this week Government planning inspector Anthony Wilson overturned the council's decision. He commented on the "attractive appearance" of the area, but said he did not consider the mast would cause "any undue harm to the site and its immediate surroundings, especially when compared with the size, scale and appearance of the electricity pylons nearby".
The wind turbine section of the county's draft tall structures ordinance is going back to the planning department for changes in setbacks for utility scale turbines, waivers and more after a thorough reading Thursday night by the County Planning Commission. The issue garnered mixed feelings from the public during the planning commission's special meeting in the boardroom of the administration building, as some supported the draft ordinance and the proposed setbacks in it while others felt their earlier comments regarding human health near wind turbines "fell on deaf ears."
It was a good beginning. But there is still a very long way to go. That was the consensus among Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission members and members of the public who testified Wednesday on the proposed modifications to the zoning code regarding industrial wind energy conversion systems and wind turbines for residential and agricultural uses. The discussion had been initiated in March by Frostburg resident John Bambacus, who has consistently expressed frustration with Garrett County officials for their lack of countywide zoning and virtually no protection from what wind turbine critics argue are the many pitfalls of living near the tall towers.
Discussion was vigorous and emotional at Thursday night's public hearing on a proposed zoning change allowing wind turbines to be built atop town ridges. More than 70 people attended the more than two-hour meeting in sweltering heat and humidity at the town office conference room. Most came to pepper town planners and Brunswick-based Independence Wind LLC principal Robert Gardiner with more questions and concerns than they had answers. ...At several points during the debates, moderated by state Rep. John Patrick, D-Rumford, planners appeared at a loss to explain their actions in drafting the proposed zoning change.