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Wind is an abundant renewable resource in much of the U.S. As wind power development expands, technologies are being developed and improved to increase efficiency and reduce impacts. A range of new turbines (wind energy conversion systems, or WECs) enable wind power to be harnessed in a much wider variety of settings than ever before, including in urban and suburban settings.
Many local governments that have never processed an application for a wind turbine permit may find themselves needing to review one in coming years. In fact, most of these communities are unprepared to review these permits and lack the standards to ensure safe installation in compatible locations. This can result in lengthy, costly public review processes that yield mixed results.
This issue of Zoning Practice gives an overview of the benefits and impacts of small wind energy systems and offers strategies to help local governments prepare development standards for their use.
About the Author
Erica Heller, AICP
Erica Heller, AICP is a dedicated problem solver and experienced project manager, with 20 years of experience leading strategic and land use planning projects. Her passion is helping communities thrive while navigating local and global economic, environmental, and social impacts of climate change. As Senior Planning Manager at Brendle Group, Erica partners with clients to plan and implement specific steps toward a more resilient and sustainable future.