Rules will help remove barriers to the development of safe, renewable wind energy

MADISON — After months of study, a diverse council including businesses, environmentalists and health professionals released recommendations today to standardize statewide rules for permitting safe wind farms.

“Countless hours of careful study, discussion and compromise went into developing recommendations that will promote clean, renewable wind energy and protect the interests of neighboring landowners,” said Peter Taglia, staff scientist at Clean Wisconsin. “The recommendations released today help blaze a trail into the clean energy future.”
The Wind Siting Advisory Council developed the recommendations to guide the Public Service Commission (PSC) in rulemaking after the State Legislature passed Wisconsin Act 40 last year. This law charges the PSC with replacing an over-stringent collection of local regulations for permitting wind farms with sensible statewide standards.
“The old system for permitting wind farms was a chaotic patchwork of regulations that often prevented the development of safe wind farms,” said Taglia. “Creating uniform, statewide rules will help promote the growth of safe wind energy in Wisconsin.”
The report released today finds no negative health impacts of wind energy systems based on the Council’s exhaustive review; to be abundantly cautious, however, the group recommends minimum setback distances for wind turbines. Other recommendations include giving neighboring landowners an opportunity to participate in the siting process through wind easements and establishing a complaint resolution process.
The PSC will now use these recommendations as it crafts final rules for permitting wind farms.
“Wind energy is an important part of Wisconsin’s energy future,” said Taglia. “Implementing these recommended rules will help Wisconsin become more energy independent, create new jobs, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by promoting the growth of clean, renewable wind energy.”