Library filed under Energy Policy from Alabama
There is a group of people opposed to a proposed wind farm sight on Turkey Heaven Mountain in Cleburne County they have shared their feelings several times with the county commission.
The bills regulate the permitting and process, the setbacks from property lines needed for construction, decibel limits and bonding and land restoration regulations for the removal of wind turbines when a project ends, whether through the end of its life or abandonment.
A bill regulating wind farms in Alabama was approved Wednesday by a House committee and will head to a vote in the full chamber. The Wind Energy Conversion Act, proposed by Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, was passed unanimously by the House Commerce Committee.
Commissioner Laura Cobb said the issue was never discussed in a commission meeting. She said she only found out about it when she ran into one of the Terra-Gen representatives, Cobb said. Commissioner Emmett Owen said he had spoken to some people about the wind farm and asked them to come to a commission meeting to talk about it in public. “I think it should have had the backing of a resolution,” Owen said. “I think if they’re pushing legislation or an agenda, as far as the commission is concerned, it needs to start here.”
It has only taken Lillian “Lilli” Coker, 6-year-old kindergartener from Gadsden, Ala., three days to get almost 600 Alabamians to sign a petition encouraging the Alabama legislature to “Say ‘no’ to wind turbines” ...If you would like to help Lilli reach her goal of 1,000 signatures before she presents her petition to the Alabama legislature on Wednesday, CLICK HERE TO SIGN, and take a moment to SHARE this story with your Facebook, Twitter and email friends.
Williams said the bill is supported by a myriad of state and local agencies, such as the Public Service Commission, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the governor’s office, the League of Municipalities and utility providers such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and Alabama Power Co. The bill sets up bonds on the projects, institutes property setbacks with decibel limits and places wind energy under the PSC, like other modes of power production.
In Alabama, a Senate energy panel reviewed a measure to regulate turbines yesterday, moving the bill forward favorably late in the afternoon with a 5-1 vote. Wind projects are proposed for eight counties, said bill sponsor state Sen. Phil Williams (R) of Rainbow City. ..."There is absolutely no regulatory authority in Alabama regarding wind," Williams said. "We aren't saying you can't come here, but if you're going to come here, our citizens have to be protected."
Under Williams' bill, wind farm projects would need approval by the state's Public Service Commission and the local government. Turbine-building companies would have to create a plan to have the windmills dismantled if the project went belly-up. Furthermore, windmills would have to be set 2,500 feet back from the property line and would be allowed to generate no more than 40 decibels of noise at the property line.
In a statement, the Birmingham Audubon Society posted to its Facebook page, the board stated that it is "not opposed to all wind turbines," but that it is "absolutely necessary to properly site" the developments to avoid bird pathways and wildlife habitats. "As the Alabama Senate considers SB12, we encourage Birmingham Audubon members to ask their legislators to require guidelines that wind turbines be planned, sited and operated in a manner to reduce threats to habitat, birds and other wildlife."
The bill, which also is known as he Alabama Wind Energy Conversion Systems Act of 2013, is in trouble because of a filibuster by Democrats that has locked it up past the required introduction deadline. That forces the bill to get unanimous approval before it could be introduced.
Six of the nation's 10 largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions are coal-fired power plants in the South, but year after year Southern lawmakers balk at pushing utilities toward cleaner renewable energy. Last month, Republican senators from the South provided about half the votes that defeated federal legislation to require power companies to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Nationally, almost half the states have adopted their own renewable mandates, but only one, Texas, is in the South. Southern lawmakers -- responding to heavy lobbying from local utilities -- argue their region isn't conducive to solar or wind power like the sun-baked Southwest or the open plains of the West.