Wind Energy Development – Cities Weigh In

27 Oct

Many cities have not yet even considered the possibility that a homeowner may wish to generate wind energy on his or her own property, so those cities certainly haven’t implemented codes or ordinances directly on point.  However, that tide is shifting, as more cities begin to not only anticipate, but regulate how/where a homeowner may implement a wind turbine on his or her own property.

Clearly, commercial-scale turbines have an inherent cost and complexity that serves as an impediment to someone in a residential neighborhood having any intention of implement one in her own backyard.  However, as technologies and products expand, and as individual homeowners become increasingly interested in producing some of their own energy to offset what is taken from “the grid”, home-scale wind turbines will be considered.  Consequently, cities and municipalities would be wise to consider whether they will implement ordinances, restrictions, and proactive policies in advance of the first request, or whether they will instead react when called upon.

As identified in a recent Star Tribune article, even inner-ring suburbs such as St. Louis Park (which one would not ordinarily link to wind energy development) have begun to consider and prepare their city ordinances for addressing how wind turbines will be allowed or disallowed.  (St. Louis Park Drafting Rules for Wind Turbines, October 13, 2009 by Mary Jane Smetanka).  View the full article here. Homeowners who are looking into options for generating their own energy using “green” or renewable technologies on-site would be well advised to investigate applicable zoning and ordinances prior to investing much time or money.  Similarly, proactive cities and municipalities would do well by preparing for this progressive and evolutionary trend.

Link to Star Tribune article:

This blog entry is written by Brad Boyd, Shareholder at Thomsen & Nybeck, P.A. Brad’s practice focuses primarily in Real Estate, Real Estate Brokerage, Business and Corporate law, and Wind Energy Law.  Brad works regularly with real estate buyers, sellers, and investors, real estate brokerages and agents, landowners, and small businesses.  He provides legal advice, guidance, and representation related to risk management in a wide variety of real estate and business law matters.


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