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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gone with the Wind: Bill Would Eliminate Local Control over Wind Turbines

The U.S. Department of Energy indicates that wind turbines produced over 3,500 megawatts of energy in Illinois last year.  Ten years ago, Illinois produced only 50 megawatts.  The recent increased popularity of wind energy – the state’s output has increased 70 fold in the last decade – has caused regulators in Springfield to take notice.  Senator John Sullivan has proposed a bill that seeks to fundamentally alter how wind turbines are regulated.  Currently, many county zoning codes specify where wind turbines can be located.  Senate Bill 3263 would eliminate local control over siting decisions and transfer it to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  SB 3263 would also require turbine developers to fund decommissioning old turbines and comply with several other precautionary measures, but the biggest change (by far) is the loss of local authority to determine where wind turbines may locate.  The bill is currently in committee, but may move forward this year.  Local officials, administrators and zoning practitioners should stay tuned.

Post Authored by Greg Jones, Ancel Glink


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