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Information Guide: Wind Energy Ordinances

When county or city elected officials are approached about a wind energy farm, what are the first steps in creating an ordinance? What kinds of things need to be considered?

“Wind Energy Ordinances,” an information guide by the Center for Rural Affairs, may help.

Released today, the guide contains recommendations for new zoning regulations or ordinances, common application requirements, and key definitions for wind energy. The information was gathered by reviewing county ordinances from different states across the country.

“Wind ordinances on the city, county, and state levels may be hard to understand, whether you are an expert or just becoming familiar with the industry,” said Lu Nelsen, policy program associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “This guide is useful for people with all levels of wind energy knowledge.”

The publication also includes common requirements for siting, construction, and operation, as well as sample maps demonstrating various setback requirements.

“Wind turbines are multiplying across the U.S., and most are installed in rural areas overlooking crops, cattle, timber, and lakes,” Nelsen said. “Rural communities have experienced several benefits from the development of wind energy, but the growth of the industry has also presented a challenge in the form of local regulations that may be insufficient or out of date.”

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