Wyoming bill would create new hurdles for wind and solar projects, protect mineral resources - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming bill would create new hurdles for wind and solar projects, protect mineral resources

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CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Legislature will consider a bill that would create new regulations for wind and solar farm projects in the state.

The bill would modify existing permitting rules for such projects.

“The facility will not prevent or make uneconomic the development of a mineral resource in Wyoming,” one proposed regulation in the bill reads.

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If proposed facilities are determined to prevent or impact such mineral resource development, the bill would not allow a permit to be issued.

“Brownfield sites” refer to sites which have been “previously used for an industrial, commercial or other use that may have impacted the property for some uses or made the property an unlikely candidate for restoration.”

“If a facility generating electricity from solar power and associated solar collector systems, the facility on a brownfield site…will not be located within one hundred (100) feet of occupied structures if the height of any component of the facility exceeds ten (10) feet from the surface of the ground,” the proposed legislation states.

County commissioner boards would be prevented from issuing permits for wind facilities if:

  • the base of any proposed tower would be located adjacent to any property or facility within a distance equal to 110% of the maximum height of the tower, unless all adjacent property owners waive this in writing
  • the base of any proposed tower would be located adjacent to any public right-of-way within a distance equal to 110% of the maximum height of the tower
  • the base of any proposed tower would be located adjacent to any public right-of-way within a distance equal to 110% of the maximum height of the tower
  • any proposed tower or structure would be constructed “at a distance of less than five and one‑half (5.5) times the maximum height of the tower, but in no event less than one thousand (1,000) feet from any platted subdivision” unless all property owners waive this in writing
  • any proposed tower or structure would be constructed “at a distance of less than five and one‑half (5.5) times the maximum height of the tower, but in no event less than one thousand (1,000) feet from a residential structure or dwelling” unless all property owners waive this in writing
  • if any proposed tower base would be located less than a half-mile from any city or town

County commissioner boards would be prevented from issuing permits for solar facilities if:

  • the facility would be located within 2,000 feet of any occupied structure or residence unless all property owners waive this in writing (for facilities to be built on undeveloped land)
  • the facility would be located within 2,000 feet of “any boundary of an area of likely future development if on undeveloped land”
  • the facility would be located within 100 feet of any occupied structure or public right-of-way if on a brownfield site, unless no component of the facility exceeds 10 feet off the ground
  • the facility would be located on undeveloped land within 200 feet of any right-of-way
  • if the facility would be located on open land less than a half-mile from any public right-of-way

Solar permits could also not be issued unless “a determination of no hazard from the federal aviation administration and documentation from the federal military aviation and installation assurance siting clearinghouse that resolves any potential adverse impact on military operations and readiness and that commits to implement required mitigation measures” is obtained.

Wind facilities would not be allowed to be located within two miles of any defense missile launch or control facility or active missile complex unless the military commander waives this in writing.

The rules would go into effect on July 1, 2020 if the bill becomes law.

The bill is sponsored by the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Interim Committee.

This article discusses the impact of wind turbines on bird populations when compared with other man-made structures such as the glass windows of buildings.