Distributed Wind Energy Zoning and Permitting: A Toolkit for Local Governments Now Available

Nov. 13, 2017

The Clean Energy States Alliance, a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy, has published a free toolkit to help local governments and planning agencies facilitate the efficient and appropriate development of distributed wind in their communities. Distributed Wind Energy Zoning and Permitting: A Toolkit for Local Governments, covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to distributed wind
  • Benefits and challenges of distributed wind
  • Zoning and permitting considerations, including aesthetics, safety, sound, wildlife, and turbine certification
  • How to permit a project that maintains the character of a community
  • Case studies and best practices.

The toolkit also includes a model zoning ordinance that can serve as a template for permitting distributed wind projects. Examples of distributed-wind-friendly ordinances and zoning regulations from across the Northeast are interspersed throughout the document. Town officials and zoning authorities tasked with permitting small and medium-sized wind turbines may find this guide useful as they develop a process to review distributed wind projects in their jurisdictions. The toolkit focuses on states in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, but the information provided should be relevant to many communities across the country.