Library filed under Zoning/Planning

Residents Bring Lawsuit Challenging Town Of Sheldon's Wind Energy Law

The Declaratory Judgment action...asks the court to nullify Sheldon's Wind Energy Law as inconsistent with the town's Comprehensive Plan. The lawsuit also claims that the Sheldon Town Board exceeded its lawful authority by granting itself, rather than the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals, the "sole and absolute discretion" to grant variances relating to set-back requirements, noise levels, and the total number of wind towers allowed.
24 Aug 2005

Friction over forest

It's not easy to strike a balance, and that's where the friction arises. In Vermont, it is playing out as the U.S. Forest Service is faced with delivering a new management plan for the Green Mountain National Forest, a 400,000-acre parcel of public land in central and southern Vermont.
21 Aug 2005

Wind Power in Pennsylvania: It Isn’t Easy Being Green

The generation of electricity by wind is a growing industry in Pennsylvania. While wind energy is certainly an attractive alternative to the pollution produced by fossil fuel power plants, all potential environmental impacts must be measured if electricity produced this way is to truly qualify as “green energy.” Surprisingly, only minimal environmental studies need to be done to site a wind farm in Pennsylvania. Improper siting of some wind farms in the U.S. has impacted migratory bird, resident bird, and bat populations. We present bird-impaction data from an industrial facility 30 km south of a proposed wind farm in Luzurne County, Pennsylvania, that suggest caution in the blind embrace of this energy technology. Siting decisions are made at the local government levels and are primarily based on economic incentives. We argue (a) that this energy alternative must incorporate robust site-specific impaction studies at each wind farm to demonstrate effects throughout the Commonwealth, and (b) that local government officials be given the guidance necessary to encourage and provide environmental oversight to wind farms in their areas.
1 Jul 2005

Wind Farms: Frequently Asked (Legal) Questions

In community after community where industrial-scale "wind farms" have been proposed, mundane and sparsely-attended board meetings have been transformed into standing-room-only affairs. Residents and property owners are anxious to know whether rumored plans to construct twenty, fifty or even a hundred of the 400-foot tall wind turbines are "a done deal." Most significantly, the electorate wants to know the extent to which their town has the power to decide whether or not wind farms will dominate their rural landscape. /p
30 Jun 2005

Towards A Wind Energy Climatology At Advanced Turbine Hub Heights

Nrel_wind_energy_climatology_thumb NREL has started to analyze the wind climatology at advanced turbine hub heights based on data measured on existing tall towers in Kansas, Indiana, and Minnesota. The highest measurement level at these towers was 90–110 m. There are two significant findings from the analysis: (1) the difference in wind resource at tall tower sites in the central United States seems to be controlled by the strength of the noctural and southerly winds; and (2) the average wind shear exponent of 50-100 m at tall towers in the central United States is influenced by strong southerly winds and is significantly higher than the 0.143 often used for conservative estimates of the wind resource at turbine hub height.
1 Jun 2005

Working Paper: Utility-scale Wind Power: Impacts of Increased Penetration

Dti3_20robin_20oakley_20atl_1__thumb This working paper is made available by the Resource and Environmental economics and Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group at the University of Victoria. REPA working papers have not been peer reviewed and contain preliminary research findings. They shall not be cited without the expressed written consent of the author(s). Editor's Note: The authors’ conclusion regarding ‘effective capacity’, i.e. the measure of a generator’s contribution to system reliability that is tied to meeting peak loads, is that it “is difficult to generalize, as it is a highly site-specific quantity determined by the correlation between wind resource and load” and that ‘values range from 26 % to 0% of rated capacity.” This conclusion is based, in part, on a 2003 study by the California Energy Commission that estimated that three wind farm aggregates- Altamont, San Gorgonio and Tehachpi, which collectively represent 75% of California’s deployed wind capacity- had relative capacity credits of 26.0%, 23.9% and 22.0% respectively. It is noteworthy that during California’s Summer ’06 energy crunch, as has been widely publicized in the press, wind power produced at 254.6 MW (10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW) at the time of peak demand (on July 24th) and over the preceding seven days (July 17-23) produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
1 Jun 2005

Zoning For Distributed Wind Power - Breaking Down Barriers

Sagrillo_defeating_zoning_barriers_2005._thumb Zoning is a complicated problem. Zoning regulations vary from state to state and from one local jurisdiction to the next. There are perhaps 25,000 local zoning jurisdictions in the nation. Further, existing zoning laws seldom address distributed wind turbines. In this paper, we will highlight the experiences of veterans of zoning battles that illustrate this market barrier. We will look at the option of local action on distributed wind zoning to highlight certain shortcomings of this approach. Last, we will consider examples of state and federal limited preemption of local zoning authority as a means of promoting the implementation of new technologies, and we will present recommendations for action by the wind industry to pursue constructive and effective zoning solutions for distributed wind power. Editor's Note: This paper, presented at the Windpower 2005 Conference held in Denver, Colorado May 15-18, recommends 'limited state preemption of home rule' as the most viable approach for wind advocates to eliminate zoning barriers to distributed wind.
1 May 2005

Michigan: House Bill 4648

25 Apr 2005

Transmission Issues Associated with Renewable Energy in Texas

Renewablestransmissi_thumb This 'informal white paper' authored by the renewable energy industry and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas addresses the impact of wind's intermittency on the need for the development of comparable capacities of reliable sources that can be called upon when the wind is not blowing. It contains a particularly interesting chart that characterizes different energy sources as 'base load', 'peak load' and 'intermittent' with their associated benefits and drawbacks. Wind is deemed 'intermittent' with the following benefits (no emissions, no fuel costs, stable cost, low operating cost) and drawbacks (not dispatchable, not responsive, transmission needs, low peak value).
28 Mar 2005

Establishing Wind Power In New Hampshire: Effectively Siting Turbines

Nhwindturbinesiting_1__thumb With the emergence of recent proposals, there appears to be growing interest in expanding renewable energy sources in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s government has taken several steps to encourage the use of renewables, including setting net metering guidelines for small-scale generators (less than 25 kW) of photovoltaics, hydroelectric, and wind.1 Net metering guidelines in New Hampshire require that utilities purchase any electricity generated by small scale generators in excess of what they use. Further developing renewables beyond small-scale generation, particularly wind, can help New Hampshire increase the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources. In fact, developing the full potential of wind resources in the state holds great promise for helping to meet the state’s energy needs.
1 Jan 2005

Public Hearing of the Kittitas Board of County Commissioners

Kittitas_minutes_cat_turd_thumb We are in continued public hearings to consider the application of the Desert Claim Wind Farm. I would like to remind everybody that the record is closed at this point for public testimony. What we are doing this evening is we have taken receipt - and we did that actually midpoint last week - of the revised development agreement for the project. What we intend to do this evening is to engage in Board discussion in terms of setting a timeline for further review and any other comment as the Board deems appropriate and then ideally with instructions to staff in terms of how we proceed from this date.
27 Dec 2004

Agency Of Natural Resources (ANR) Policy: Wind Energy and Other Renewable Energy Development on ANR Lands

Agency_of_natural_resourcs_vermont_thumb Background and Purpose: Vermont’s energy needs are growing while its future energy sources remain uncertain. At the same time, Agency lands are under ever-increasing pressure to serve more uses and needs. Part of meeting Vermont’s future energy needs will likely involve development of additional renewable energy sources in Vermont. The role of Agency of Natural Resource (ANR) lands in accommodating wind energy and other renewable energy projects has been the subject of recent public debate and is the focus of this policy.
1 Dec 2004

Would Wind Farms Hurt Food Farms?

A new simulation finds serious and previously unrecognized environmental threats from massive wind farms in the American Great Plains. A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research by scientists from Princeton and Duke Universities indicates massive wind farms would significantly increase local surface drying and soil heating, which in turn would impact agricultural or range use on or near the wind farm. The modeling experiment used current wind turbine and rotor technology to assess local climate impacts from a simulated wind farm with 10,000 turbines, arranged in a simple, square array of 100 by 100 turbines, each spaced one kilometer apart.
11 Nov 2004
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