PSC’s 2010 Windmill Siting Rules Will Likely Go into EffectMarch 8, 2012
On March 7th, the Senate referred back to committee a bill that would have directed the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to craft new windmill siting standards. Although a bill could still come to the floor, if it does not pass both houses by the last day of the legislative session, March 15th, the PSC’s 2010 windmill siting rules will go into effect.
In Wisconsin, administrative rules can be overturned by the Legislature before the rule’s effective date if the Legislature passes a bill suspending the proposed rule in accordance with Wis. Stat. 227.26. SB 50 would have repealed the PSC’s 2010 windmill siting rules and directed the PSC to craft new rules.
Republicans control the Senate 17-16, so the bill could have passed on a party line vote. However, Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) voted with the Democrats and opposed suspending the 2010 rules.
The PSC’s 2010 windmill siting rules, authorized under 2009 Wisconsin Act 40, establish statewide criteria for the installation or use of a wind energy system with a nominal operating capacity of less than 100 megawatts, and set consistent local procedures for such systems.
The proposed rule establishes uniform standards about the construction and operation of wind energy systems in the state by specifying what political subdivisions can and cannot include ordinances regulating wind energy systems. It also specifies requirements for applications, political subdivision review of an application and decommissioning of a wind energy system. If a political subdivision chooses to regulate such systems, its ordinances may not be more restrictive than the PSC’s rules.
Additional information is available on the Great Lakes Legal Foundation’s Regulatory Watch website.
This post was authored by GLLF staff attorney Emily Kelchen.