Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance

Program Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State Maine
Administrator Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry
Website http://www.maine.gov/dacf/municipalplanning/publications.shtml
Sectors Residential

Note: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments that wish to develop their own siting rules for wind turbines. While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

In 2008, the Governor's Task Force on Wind Power Development issued its final report. One of the Task Force's recommendations was that the State Planning Office (SPO) develop a model wind ordinance for use by local governments to help facilitate wind development in the state. The SPO completed the model wind ordinance in August 2009. Additional guidance was issued in February 2010 in the form of a Guidebook.

The model ordinance provides for four types of wind energy facilities and identifies the corresponding authority responsible for reviewing and approving/denying wind energy facility plans.

Wind Facility Type 1A: Has an aggregate capacity less than 100 kilowatts (kW), turbine height less than (or equal to) 80 feet, one turbine, does not require a Department of Environmental Protection permit, and the local Codes Enforcement Officer reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

Wind Facility Type 1B: Has an aggregate capacity less than 100 kW, either more than one turbine or at least one turbine with a height greater than 80 feet, does not require a Department of Environmental Protection permit, and the designated municipal reviewing authority reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

Wind Facility Type 2: Has an aggregate capacity greater than or equal to 100 kW, does not require a Department of Environmental Protection permit (unless the energy generated by the facility is for sale/use by another person), and the designated municipal reviewing authority reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

Wind Facility Type 3: Has an aggregate capacity greater than or equal to 100 kW, does require a Department of Environmental Protection permit, and the designated municipal reviewing authority reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

The model ordinance provides guidance on the application process per type of wind energy facility (including timelines, and rules for setting public hearings, among others), and outlines the required documentation. In addition, it establishes general standards including safety setbacks, natural resource protection measures, building permit requirements, visual appearance standards, noise levels and mitigation (different per facility type), among others. It is interesting to note that the model wind ordinance does not permit building mounted wind turbines or turbines supported by guy wires (although it allows for exceptions on this last point).

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