We believe that developing renewable wind energy brings real benefits to rural communities across the nation. To ensure these benefits aren’t realized at the expense of landowners and community members, wind energy projects must address the challenges presented by the construction process.
The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a report entitled Respect and Restore: Reassessing Local Wind Energy Standards, that examines issues being overlooked in county and township wind energy ordinances.
Ordinances often require developers of wind energy projects to limit noise and shadow flicker that impacts local residents as well as establish setback distances from neighboring residences. But they often leave out requirements for access roads, post-construction restoration, or ensuring public roads are repaired after a project is complete.
All of these issues are commonly mentioned by stakeholders, but are rarely addressed through local regulation. In fact, most restoration requirements focus solely on the decommissioning of projects at the end of their life, providing very few guidelines for prior restoration or local infrastructure and adjacent land and property that may be needed.
Respect and Restore describes different typical elements in the construction process of wind farms, and lays out potential problems landowners and communities might face. Additionally the report reviews county regulations for commercial wind energy systems. Finally, the report provides recommendations for future development of wind energy systems.
Photos courtesy of RAL.