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Wind Siting Rules and Model Small Wind Ordinance

Eligibility 
Commercial
General Public/Consumer
Industrial
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Nonprofit
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State Government
Program Info
State 
Wisconsin
Program Type 
Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Provider 
Local Wind Application Filing Requirements

'''Permitting Rules'''

In September 2009, the Governor of Wisconsin signed S.B. 185 (Act 40) directing the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish statewide wind energy siting rules. [http://psc.wi.gov/ PSC Docket 1-AC-231] was created to conduct the rulemaking, requiring the PSC to convene an advisory council composed of various interested stakeholders (e.g. developers, political subdivisions, environmental groups, landowners, etc.). In December 2010, the Commission adopted the wind siting rules (PSC 128). The rules were scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2011, but on that date, the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules voted to suspend the rules. The legislature proposed several changes to the rule, but could not enact a replacement, and the PSC 128 wind siting rules became effective in March 2012. The rules are comprehensive and include notice requirements, siting and noise criteria, shadow flicker, stray voltage, construction, operation, and decommissioning. Separate rules apply to small wind systems with a collective capacity of 300 kW or less or an individual wind turbine with a capacity of 100 kW or less.

The rules apply to political subdivision (city, town, village, county) regulation of wind energy systems up to 100 MW in size. Political subdivisions can choose whether or not to regulate wind energy systems; if they choose to regulate, they may not do so in a way that is more restrictive than the Public Service Commission's rules. Wind energy systems 100 MW in size or greater are under the siting jursidiction of the Public Service Commission, and are not directly subject to these rules.

'''''Large Wind Systems'''''

Rules for systems of larger than 300 kW or individual turbines larger than 100 kW include the following:

  • An owner must provide written notice of a planned wind system to specific parties at least 90 days before filing an application.
  • Systems must be set back 1.1 times the maximum blade tip height. Systems near occupied community buildings or nonparticipating residences must be set back either 1,250 feet or 3.1 times the maximum blade tip height, whichever is less.
  • Systems should be operated so that noise does not exceed 50 dBA during daytime hours or 45 dBA during nighttime hours.

'''''Small Wind Systems'''''

Rules for systems of 300 kW or less, or individual systems 100 kW or less, include the following:

  • An owner must provide written notice of a planned system wind system to specific parties at least 60 days before filing an application.
  • Systems must be set back the distance of the maximum blade tip height.
  • Systems should be operated so that noise does not exceed 50 dBA during daytime hours or 45 dBA during nighttime hours.

'''Model Policy'''

In order to assist counties, towns, and municipalities in interpreting Wisconsin's , chiefly Wis. Stat. § 66.0401, the state of Wisconsin developed a [http://www.renewwisconsin.org/wind/Toolbox-Zoning/Small%20Wind%20System%... Model Small Wind Ordinance] which suggests appropriate zoning language for wind energy systems of 100 kilowatts (kW) or less. In the model, small wind systems are treated as a permitted use. The document includes specific language on details such as setbacks from public roads, dwellings, and property lines which can be considered directly relevant to preserving public health and safety. Note, the Model Policy was developed in 2006, prior to the establishment of statewide wind siting rules and does not reflect the requirements of the current wind siting rules.