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Wind Siting

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Docket 1-AC-231 Major Documents

Wind Siting Council

Wind Siting Meeting Schedule (April through August 2010) and documents

Wind Siting Council Meeting Schedule (pdf)

Draft Rules on PSC website (5-14-10)

Straw Proposal Framework 1- Areas of General Consensus (6-9-10)

Straw Proposal Revision 2- Areas of General Consensus (7-14-10)

Straw Proposal Revision 3- Areas of General Consensus (7-19-10)

Wind Siting Council Final Recommendations and Report (8-9-10)

Public Service Commission

Draft Wind Siting Rules were issued by PSC Staff (PSC REF#:136722 dated August 17, 2010)

Red-lined version (PSC REF#:136723 dated August 17, 2010)

Final Wind Siting Rules were issued by the PSC (dated August 31, 2010)

In addition, Commissioner Azar's has sent a letter of concurrence to the legislative leaders (including her explanation of her "safety net" proposal.

Legislative Documents

Senate on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail - Wind Siting Rules Hearing (Oct. 13, 2010)

Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail sent rules back to PSCW (Oct. 29, 2010)
Comm. Chair Sen. Jeff Phale letterreply from PSCWletter from comm. member Sen. Jon Erpenbach (Nov. 30, 2010), PSCW response to Sen. Erpenbach.

December 9, 2010 open meeting includes PSCW memo detailing revisions to Wind Siting Rules and recording of discussion and vote on rule revisions.


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Development of PSC 128

Act 40 Wind Siting Rules

General requirement for rules

Under Wis. Stat. § 196.378(4g)(b), the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (Commission) shall, with the advice of the Wind Siting Council promulgate rules that specify the restrictions that a political subdivision (a city, village, town or county) may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system consistent with the conditions specified in Wis. Stat. § 66.0401(1m) (a) to (c).

Wisconsin Stat. § 66.0401(1m) reads:

66.0401(1m) Authority to restrict systems limited. No political subdivision may place any restriction, either directly or in effect, on the installation or use of a wind energy system that is more restrictive than the rules promulgated by the commission under s. 196.378 (4g) (b). No political subdivision may place any restriction, either directly or in effect, on the installation or use of a solar energy system, as defined in s. 13.48 (2) (h) 1. g., or a wind energy system, unless the restriction satisfies one of the following conditions:

    (a) Serves to preserve or protect the public health or safety.

    (b) Does not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency.

    (c) Allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency.

Specific provisions that shall be included in the rules

The subject matter of the rules promulgated by the Commission shall include all of the following:

Wind Siting Council

2009 Wisconsin Act 40 (Act 40) requires the PSC to promulgate a variety of rules that specify the conditions a city, village, town, or county (political subdivision) may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system. If a political subdivision chooses to regulate such systems, its ordinances may not be more restrictive than the PSC’s rules. The PSC will also consider the restrictions specified in these rules when determining whether to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a wind energy system over 100 megawatts.

Wisconsin’s Wind Siting Council is an advisory body created by 2009 Wisconsin Act 40 (Act 40). Act 40 directs the PSC to develop administrative rules that specify the restrictions that may be imposed on the installation or use of wind energy systems. The new law also required the PSC to appoint a Wind Siting Council that will advise the PSC as it develops uniform wind siting standards for Wisconsin.

The following people were appointed to serve on Wisconsin’s Wind Siting Council:

Dan Ebert, WPPI Energy
David Gilles, Godfrey & Kahn
Tom Green, Wind Capital Group
Jennifer Heinzen, Lakeshore Technical College
Andy Hesselbach, We Energies
George Krause Jr., Choice Residential LLC
Lloyd Lueschow, Green County
Jevon McFadden, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health
Tom Meyer, Restaino & Associates
Bill Rakocy, Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, LLC
Dwight Sattler, Landowner
Ryan Schryver, Clean Wisconsin
Michael Vickerman, RENEW Wisconsin
Larry Wunsch, Landowner
Doug Zweizig, Union Township

The Wind Siting Council Final Report.The final recommendation (pages 37-42) are supported by 11 of the 15 Council members. Four Council members submitted a minority report (pages 45-61).

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Press Release Announcing Wind Siting Council Recommendations

The important documents that the Council considered were:

McFadden - Wind Turbines: A Brief Health Overview
Cowen - Wind Turbine Generator Noise Issues (PSC REF#:132583)
Hesselbach - Setback and Siting Analysis, a Case Study: Glacier Hills Wind Park (PSC REF#:132584)
Kielisch - Wind Turbines and Property Value (PSC REF#:133062)

Read the origonal PROPOSED RULE CHAPTER PSC 128 (May 14, 2010) WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS

Subchapter I General
Subchapter II Developer Requirements
Subchapter III Political Subdivision Procedure
Subchapter IV Commission Procedure

Wind Siting Rulemaking

Comments on the proposed rules were accepted until July 7, 2010. The comments are considered when PSC staff is drafting the rules.

The PSC held hearings to take testimony from the public regarding the proposed rules in the Amnicon Falls Hearing Room at the Public Service Commission Building, 610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wisconsin, on June 30, 2010. Act 40 required that hearings regarding these rules also be held in Monroe County and a county other than Dane or Monroe, where developers have proposed wind energy systems. The PSC also held public hearings on these proposed rules at City Hall, Legislative Chambers, 160 West Macy Street in Fond du Lac on June 28, 2010, and Holiday Inn, 1017 East McCoy Boulevard in Tomah on June 29, 2010.

More information on the Wind Siting Council and the wind siting rulemaking pursuant to Act 40 can be found by visiting the Commission’s website and clicking on the Electronic Regulatory Filing System (ERF) at Type case numbers 1-AC-231 in the boxes provided on the ERF system.

STEP 3: Legislative Response

After the Wisconsin PSCW sent final wind siting rules to the standing Wisconsin legislative energy committees, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy and Rail held a public hearing on the draft rules on October 13, 2010.

As a follow-up, on October 20, the committee voted to send the rules back to the PSCW, requesting unspecified modifications due to what was described as inconsistencies with what the legislature intended in 2009 Wisconsin ACT 40.

On the Assembly side, the Committee on Energy and Utilities cancelled its scheduled public hearing and took no further action. Review legislative process on rulemaking...

PSCW Response & Revisions

Memorandum dated December 1, 2010 for PSCW Agenda on revisions to Wind Siting Rules.

The Commission modified the Wind Siting Rules and directed Commission staff to prepare documents consistent with its discussion for submission to the Legislature. If the legislative review period expires without further comment, or the Legislature approves the rules without change, the rules may be promulgated as final rules without further Commission action.

At its December 9, open meeting, the PSCW approved limited revisions (listen to recording of wind siting discussion and unanimous vote to approve revisions, MP3 format 9.6 MB) in three basic areas of the draft rules outlined in the December 1 Memo above, related to:

(1) technical, nonsubtantive
(2) specific agricultural interests cited by DATCP
    (WI Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection)
(3) two key landowner mitigation provisions

On December 9, 2010, revised rules were forwarded to the legislative committees with jurisdiction. The committees had 10 working days to take action. No action was taken, and as a result, by law the rules should have taken affect on the 1st day of the following month.

However, provisions that alter setbacks and other aspects of the rules developed in the PSC process have been separated into a bill (Special Session Assembly Bill 9). No hearings have yet been scheduled on this bill.

March 9, 2011 - Suspension of Siting Rule

The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) voted 6-2 on March 1st to suspend the wind siting rule.  The committee simultaneously considered a bill which would refer the matter back to the Public Service Commission, with a new rule coming back to the legislature within 6 months of the bill's passage.  Attached is the bill draft as introduced at the hearing.  There are no major changes to the draft at this point.  The bill must be introduced within 30 days of the JCRAR vote to suspend (April 8).  As a reminder, Commissioner Meyer's six year term is expiring and Governor Walker will soon announce his appointment of the new Commission chair. 

March 30, 2011 - Legislature asks PSC to create new set of guidelines

Wind Siting Rule, PSC 128:   The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) voted to introduce a bill (s.227.26 (2) (f) ) to support its suspension of the wind siting rule (the March 1 JCRAR vote suspended the rule temporarily).

This bill suspends PSC 128 and refers the matter back to the Public Service Commission, with a new rule coming back to the legislature within 6 months of the bill's passage.

As a result of the administrative reforms adopted by the Legislature earlier this year, any replacement rule to PSC 128 cannot take effect without Governor Walker's approval.

March 16, 2012 - Wind Siting Rules Take Effect in Wisconsin

Effective March 16, 2012, new wind energy systems in Wisconsin are subject to a statewide rule (PSC 128) promulgated by the Public Service Commission. PSC 128, which establishes standards for local government review of wind energy systems, was suspended by the Legislature on March 1st, 2011, the very day it was to have taken effect. From its effective date forward, local governments may not impose standards or restrictions on the placement and use of wind energy systems that are stricter than what is set forth in the siting rule. PSC 128 became operative when the Wisconsin Legislature adjourned without taking any final action on bills to repeal the rule outright.  See

The contents of PSC 128 have not changed at all since the agency finalized the rule back in December 2010.  A rule once suspended cannot be suspended again by a future Legislature. The rule is available for public inspection at

A future Legislature may repeal an agency rule, either in whole are in part. However, such an undertaking would be considerably more challenging than a rule suspension, which requires only a simple majority vote of the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules. The next legislative session will convene in January 2013.