Pennsylvania unveils model ordinance to help
wind energy developments
Hershey, PA— Governor Edward
G. Rendell unveiled a model ordinance that will help Pennsylvania’s
local governments decide how to direct the location and development
of wind turbines within municipal borders.
The model ordinance represents
the collaborative efforts of state and local governments with
the private sector. Participants included PSATS, the County Commissioners
Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania League of Cities
and Municipalities, environmental advocacy group PennFuture, and
wind energy development companies Community Energy, FPL Energy,
PPM Energy and Gamesa Corp.
Stakeholders began meeting last
fall to craft the model ordinance. The ordinance is designed as
a template that local governments can adjust to their specific
needs. Issues addressed in the model ordinance include visual
appearance of wind turbines and related infrastructure, sound
levels, shadow flicker, minimum property setbacks, interference
with communications devices, protection of public roads, liability
insurance, decommissioning and dispute resolution.
Public comment and involvement
are intended to be part of the local implementation of the ordinance.
Not only do wind farms produce
clean electricity, but they also can significantly reduce the
tax burden on residents living in host communities. Wind energy
also adds a promising dimension to farming and offers an economic
boost to agricultural communities. A wind farm can provide stable
income to farmers through reduced utility bills or land rentals.
Landowners can receive up to $4,000 annually per turbine and still
have more than 95 percent of their land available for farming.
Governor Rendell personally led
the campaign to land the Spanish wind- energy company Gamesa,
the second largest wind energy company in the world, beating out
many other vying states. With its United States headquarters and
four manufacturing centers now based in Pennsylvania, Gamesa represents
an $84 million investment in the state that will create as many
as 1,000 jobs over five years.
Pennsylvania currently is a leader
among eastern states with almost 153 megawatts of wind energy
installed. The state’s new Alternative Energy Portfolio
Standard promises to build substantially on this accomplishment.
The portfolio standard will make between 3,000 and 4,000 megawatts
of wind energy available to commonwealth energy users.
The state’s clean energy
law is one of the nation’s most progressive, ensuring that
18 percent of all energy generated comes from clean, efficient
sources by 2020. Benefits include $10 billion in increased output
for the commonwealth, $3 billion in additional earnings and as
many as 4,000 news jobs for residents with 15 years.