Tomorrow morning a Substitute House Bill 190 will be introduced in the House Public Utilities Committee to establish a designated geographic area or “Wind Corridor” where turbine setbacks could be dramatically changed. The substitute bill seems to remove local elected officials from the decision-making and empower the OPSB to destroy any county within the corridor. Sub HB 190 would also create a new classification of “”Large wind farm”: an electric generating plant that consists of wind turbines and associated facilities with a single interconnection to the electrical grid that is designed for, or capable of, operation at an aggregate capacity of 50 MW or more.
While we have not had an opportunity to fully understand what the bill intends, it appears that any project which has been approved by the OPSB can now be amended without requiring the current property line setbacks to be used. Language in the bill also seems to indicate that if a wind developer has paid a fee to the grid operator to commence the study of grid interconnection, even though a filing with the OPSB may not have occurred, the following setback would apply:
(B) The minimum setback for a wind turbine described in division (A) of this section shall be equal to a horizontal distance, from the turbine’s base to the property line of the wind farm property, equal to one and one-tenth times the total height of the turbine structure as measured from its base to the tip of its highest blade and be at least one thousand one hundred twenty-five feet in horizontal distance from the tip of the turbine’s nearest blade at ninety degrees to the exterior of the nearest, habitable, residential structure, if any, located on adjacent property at the time of the certification application.