Discussions and Adoption of Small Wind Energy Systems Ordinance

The new found popularity of wind energy has led to a small wind energy systems ordinance being proposed in many town and cities across the country. Not surprisingly, these ordinances are most often seen discussed in states where wind energy is being utilized broadly because of the topography of the land the and consistently winds common to those areas.

Discussions and adoption of a small wind systems ordinance can take some time. Like any local government laws there are pros and cons and public hearings. The ordinance proposal may be tabled month after month for more study or more input. This can be frustrating to business and homeowners anxious to add wind turbines to create energy that is environmentally responsible.

Natural Order

It's the natural order of people that there will always be some who are against change or skeptical of new technology. However, in the case of small wind energy systems ordinance it is not only a reluctance to try something new that leads to complaints.

Some see the tower housing a wind turbine as a graceful, if a bit stork-like, structure while others view it as an eyesore that ruins the landscape. There are also valid concerns about the noise produced by wind turbines. These are not totally silent in operation. There is a noise produced that is a quiet rumbling hum that some people seem to object to.

The noise problem is perhaps more perception than reality. The noise level of a wind turbine is far less than the noise on a residential street with cars driving by. There is no high pitched sound or loud band or freight train noise that some people seem to fear.

There are those who are sensitive to noise who find the constant low hum of wind turbines annoying. These same folks may find the noise of wind annoying as well. Complaints about the constant noise of winds across the Midwest plains can be found in historical texts about people who pioneered development of the wide open windy spaces. There were seldom neighbors closer than many miles away and no other sounds except the constant wind.

The noise factor has been exaggerated by some who are against the building of wind farms near towns or subdivisions. When a group opposes new development they will use any argument possible. Though a wind turbine or even a wind farm is not a significant source of bothersome noise, many who write a small wind energy systems ordinance include a decibel level as a limit for the wind turbine.

Noise Level

The noise level of wind farms has been reduced by improved technology. The blades turn slower than those of older turbine designs and results in less turbulence and less sound produced. The turbine itself it located far above ground level so any noise is widely dispersed. One often reported anomaly is that someone living very near a wind turbine is not bothered by any noise while someone living a mile away says the noise is a problem.

In several areas, a small wind energy systems ordinance has only been proposed after a wind turbine has been installed. Several such cases have ended up in court but as a rule the courts have allow the wind turbines to remain in operation.

In areas where a small wind energy systems ordinance has been proposed and enacted before wind farms were built, the ordinance seems to solve most problems of those in the community. The problem with enacting such local laws is the wide variety of what people think is "wrong" with wind turbines.

The "not in my backyard" syndrome is alive and well when it comes to wind energy. No one can argue the environmental value of converting wind to electricity but many people seem to think their back yard is as far as they can see. It is difficult to locate a wind farm that is out of sight of everyone who lives nearby.

Interest

The interest in wind energy is fuels by higher costs of producing electricity with fossil fuels, by the dangers posed to the environmental by mining and drilling for those fuels and by the awareness that at some point the reserves of coal and oil will become depleted.

The trend to developing a small wind energy systems ordinance in many towns and cities points out the contentious issues that surround wind power generation. Engineers and scientists are working to provide solutions to some of the most commonly heard complaints but the struggle seems to be between those who value green energy and those who want to protect property rights.

Summary

The growth of green energy from capturing the wind is somewhat hampered by the imposition of a small wind energy systems ordinance but the local laws and environmentalists are finding ways to work together.

An ordinance will focus on noise levels and on height restrictions and will often have setback standards to protect public interests. The most useful ordinances will have a permit process that can be easily navigated with clearly defined rules and regulations from the planning board.

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