Wind Turbine Zoning
Wind turbine zoning presents a dilemma and challenge to any local community seeking to promote green development and sustainability. Modern utility-scale wind turbines are tall structures. In many cases , modern wind turbine towers, which are roughly 25 stories tall. Their construction often represents a significant change to what were previously open rural and agricultural landscapes.
Most municipality zoning laws are old and do not have any mention of wind farms. Should a request arise, they simply wouldn't know how to deal with such a request. Officials with no previous expertise in wind energy systems now have a guide to look forward to. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has presented a paper titled "Wind Energy & Wind Park Siting and Zoning Best Practices and Guidance for States" which throws light on rules and regulations that ultimately guide wind power siting and zoning decisions, which then directly affect the planning, design, development, construction, and operations of wind parks.
This report summarizes the wind energy siting and zoning practices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Part I reports on a survey conducted of each state's wind energy siting and zoning practices. It also briefly reviews the nature of wind-park opposition and lists the major concerns that are usually raised.
Part II summarizes best practices for the procedures used to manage wind energy siting and zoning
Part III presents guidelines for wind power development, including recommended approaches to critical issues: noise; shadow flicker; ice throw; wildlife; aesthetics; competing land uses; permit requirements for meteorological (met) towers, construction, and facility safety; and decommissioning. That part of the report identifies the criteria commonly used and includes the best available information about applying those criteria to determine siting and zoning practices. That discussion is followed by a brief summary and conclusions.