Preventing problems is almost always much easier than solving them afterwards. Not surprisingly, it’s no different when dealing with industrial wind energy. Let’s start with first things first: an effective Plan of Action to seriously consider.
[Note: I am not an attorney, so nothing on this website should be misconstrued as giving legal advice. My counsel has always been, and continues to be, to consult with a competent attorney prior to making any legal decisions.]
When writing a local “wind ordinance” there are two main routes to take: Regulate turbines, or Prohibit them. These options are explained here. The specifics for how to go the regulatory route (the most common choice) are spelled out here. [BTW, everything in the section below is incorporated on this these two documents.]
Assuming you go the regulatory route, a proper wind law is all about assuring PROTECTIONS for local citizens, businesses and the environment. In our view, the five most important elements to address properly in a local industrial wind ordinance are: 1) Property Value Guarantee, 2) Setbacks, 3) Acoustical Regulations, 4) Environmental, and 5) Decommissioning.
—> Read this thorough wind study by the citizens of Bethany, NY, which itemizes numerous other areas of concern.
Is there an ideal existing wind law that you can simply copy and edit for your locale? YES: the national Model Local Wind Law.
The Carteret County (NC) wind law covers all five key areas very well.
So don’t reinvent the wheel: build on how these and some other local communities have dealt with wind developments. Other good examples where citizens came up with reasonable ordinances include: Newport (NC: Article 9) wind law, Montville (Maine), Sumner (Maine), Eddington (Maine), Sweetwater (Wyoming), Trempealeau County (Wisconsin), Madison (Idaho), and Jackson (Maine).
Articles about wind’s negative effect on residential property value, including our recommended Property Value Guarantee
Proposed Wind Turbine Siting Sound Limits (Kamperman & James)
A superior wind Noise Study by independent experts, followed by a one-page suggested ordinance.
A very detailed calculation of turbine decommissioning costs, done by a professional engineer.
Potential Turbine Leaseholders
Making the decision about signing a lease to host industrial wind turbines on your land often sounds like a no-brainer. You will be paid $5000± per year per turbine for doing almost nothing, right?
Wrong. There are extraordinary implications to singing these leases, which have been called some of the most restrictive, one-sided contracts anywhere.
For starters take some time and CAREFULLY read through this overview of the situation. It is addressed to Farmers, but it applies to almost any landowner.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of over forty legal and financial concerns that any potential leaseholder should carefully consider.
Benefits Blown Away is a detailed look into another aspect that wind salespeople won’t be explaining.
A lawyer writes: Wind Law and Negotiations from a Landowner’s Perspective.
The bottom line is that there is no free lunch! Wind salespeople are only soliciting landowners for the developer’s benefit. Keep in mind that there are ZERO net societal benefits for wind energy. Don’t be manipulated into making a decision you may regret for the rest of your life.
Taking legal action is generally advised to be a last step. This document is an outline of the best legal options to fight corruption and incompetence. (Remember that we are not attorneys so always consult with a lawyer for legal advice.) Below is a tiny sample of the dozens of court cases and legal decisions concerning wind energy:
Judge (2015) rules that a wind project needs a federal environmental assessment.
The Nevada Supreme Court (2013) determines that a turbine is a nuisance, devaluates property, etc.
The “Law of Nuisance” (may be applicable against wind developers).
Also see this about wind energy Nuisance suits.
Fox Island (Maine) files a 1983 Federal lawsuit [if done right this is a very powerful option]
Wisconsin citizens filed a 1983 Federal lawsuit against their town (and won)
NY citizens filed a Sherman Anti-trust claim against wind developers
Suggested possibility: a qui tam version of the Lincoln Law
Lawsuit (2105) claims county violated wind opponents’ due process
Farmer sues for livestock killed, property devaluation, and health effects
An important court case that rules that wind is not baseload power
See this good list of wind energy related lawsuits
A proposed code of ethics for industrial wind developers
A site to report government or wind energy malfeasance
A Barrage of Lawsuits Shuts Down Science Whistleblower Site. [Although the site was primarily about problems with medical science, the exact same issues are going on in the energy and environmental areas.]