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PSC taking comments on wind siting rules

Anyone who wants to give input on where wind turbines can and cannot be placed locally will need to tell the state's Public Service Commission within the next six weeks. The PSC is seeking public comment on its proposed wind siting rules, which were issued earlier this month. The rules will ultimately result in uniform wind siting standards for local units of government in Wisconsin, meaning local control will effectively be eliminated.

Result will trump local control of turbine projects

Anyone who wants to give input on where wind turbines can and cannot be placed locally will need to tell the state's Public Service Commission within the next six weeks.

The PSC is seeking public comment on its proposed wind siting rules, which were issued earlier this month. The rules will ultimately result in uniform wind siting standards for local units of government in Wisconsin, meaning local control will effectively be eliminated.

That was decided by the state Legislature and the governor last fall under 2009 Act 40. The intention was to ensure consistent local procedures for regulation of wind energy systems after several municipalities attempted to severely restrict locations where wind power can be used.

Verona software company Epic has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to build as many as five wind towers on its 600-acre property, though the company has said it is still studying the feasibility of wind power and has not determined where or even if it wants to place the turbines, which could generate up to 2.5 megawatts each.

Act 40 requires the PSC to create and publicize rules... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Result will trump local control of turbine projects

Anyone who wants to give input on where wind turbines can and cannot be placed locally will need to tell the state's Public Service Commission within the next six weeks.

The PSC is seeking public comment on its proposed wind siting rules, which were issued earlier this month. The rules will ultimately result in uniform wind siting standards for local units of government in Wisconsin, meaning local control will effectively be eliminated.

That was decided by the state Legislature and the governor last fall under 2009 Act 40. The intention was to ensure consistent local procedures for regulation of wind energy systems after several municipalities attempted to severely restrict locations where wind power can be used.

Verona software company Epic has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to build as many as five wind towers on its 600-acre property, though the company has said it is still studying the feasibility of wind power and has not determined where or even if it wants to place the turbines, which could generate up to 2.5 megawatts each.

Act 40 requires the PSC to create and publicize rules that specify the conditions a political subdivision (city, village, town or county) may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system. If a political subdivision chooses to regulate such systems, its ordinances may not be more restrictive than the PSC's rules.

The PSC established docket 1-AC-231 to conduct the rulemaking under Act 40, which required the creation of an advisory body called the Wind Siting Council.

Wind Siting Council members have begun to provide input to Commission staff concerning these rules during a series of meetings in early 2010, and draft rules were published May 14. The PSC will seek comments from the Wind Siting Council on the proposed draft rules issued by the commission.

"Developing uniform wind siting standards is crucial for a sound energy future in Wisconsin," said PSC chair Eric Callisto. "I look forward to receiving robust public input on these proposed rules and finalizing them later this summer."

The draft rules are 38 pages long and distinguish between large (100 megawatt hours or more) and small wind farms and address minimum setback requirements and negative elements such as noise and shadow flicker.

The current version suggests towers be at least 3.1 times the blade tip height from occupied community buildings or nonparticipating residences - around 1,000 feet from the tallest typical turbines. It also requires the noise level to be less than 50 decibels outside those buildings (45 at night) and not a steady hum, screech or whine, and shadow flicker must exist no more than 30 hours a year, based on computer modeling.

It also includes less specific rules on stray voltage and signal interference, two commonly mentioned concerns.

The PSC also will consider the restrictions specified in these rules when determining whether to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a wind energy system over 100 megawatts.

Any person may submit written comments on these proposed rules. Comments will be accepted until July 7 at noon (July 6 if filed by fax). The comments will be considered when staff is drafting the rules.

The PSC will hold hearings to take testimony from the public regarding the proposed rules in the Amnicon Falls Hearing Room at the Public Service Commission Building, 610 N. Whitney Way, Madison, on June 30.

The PSC will also hold public hearings in Fond du Lac and Tomah. Act 40 requires that hearings regarding these rules also be held in Monroe County and a county other than Dane or Monroe where developers have proposed wind energy systems.

For information, visit psc.wi.gov, click on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System (ERF) and enter case numbers 1-AC-231.


Source: http://www.veronapress.com/...

MAY 28 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/26508-psc-taking-comments-on-wind-siting-rules
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