October 28, 2006

County ordinances establishing setbacks and noise limits for industrial wind turbines

Here a a couple of good regulations for large wind turbines, excerpted from the noted county ordinances.

Shawano County (Wisc.) Wind Energy Conversion System Ordinance

5.5.4. Noise Standard: The noise due to WECU [wind energy conversion unit] operations shall not be greater than 5 dBA above the established background noise level for more than five 5 minutes out of any one hour time period as measured per Appendix A.
5.5.5. Low Frequency Noise or Infrasound Noise: No low frequency noise or infrasound noise from wind turbine operations shall be created which causes the noise level both within the project boundary and a one-mile radius beyond the project boundary to exceed the following limits ...
5.5.6. Pure Tone Penalty: In the event audible noise due to wind turbine operations contains a steady pure tone, such as a whine, screech, or hum, the standards for Audible Noise shall be reduced by five (5) dB(A). ...
5.5.9. Operations -- Low Frequency Noise: A WECU that emits impulsive sound below 20 Hz that adversely affects the habitability or use of any existing dwelling unit, hospital, school, library, nursing home, or other sensitive noise receptor shall be deemed unsafe and must be shut down immediately.

Otsego County (Mich.) Zoning Ordinance Concerning Wind Turbine Generators and Anemometer Towers

18.5.3. Setbacks. Each proposed wind turbine generator or anemometer tower shall meet the following applicable setback requirements: Each wind turbine generator shall be set back from any adjoining lot line a distance equal to 2,600 feet. The Planning Commission may reduce this setback to no less than 2,100 feet. The amount of setback relief approved by the Planning Commission will be based on data provided by the applicant and prepared and certified by a registered Professional Engineer licensed in the State of Michigan, who is practicing in his or her area of competency. Such data shall be subject to review by the County's independent, recognized expert. In addition to the above, a wind turbine generator shall, in all cases, be setback from a public or private road right-of-way or easement a minimum distance equal to six times the height of the wind turbine generator tower as defined in this Ordinance. For any newly proposed wind turbine generator or anemometer tower, a "wind access buffer" equal to a minimum of five (5) rotor diameters shall be observed from any existing off-site wind turbine generator tower. Sensitive environmental areas shall have a setback of between 2 to 5 miles and shall be determined by the Otsego County Planning Commission and the Department of Natural Resources. Scenic areas, including parks, highways, recreational areas, and others as determined by the County and Townships, shall have a setback of not less than 1 mile.
18.5.4. Maximum Height. Then maximum wind turbine generator or anemometer tower height from the base to the tip of the blade at its highest point shall not exceed 200 feet. The Planning Commission may approve an increased height for a wind turbine generator tower, not to exceed 260 feet from the base to the tip of the blade, if all of the following conditions are met: The increased height will result in the preservation of a substantial stand of trees, existing land forms or structures that would otherwise be removed to increase wind velocity. The increased height will not result in increased intensity on lighting of the tower due to FAA requirements.
wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines