In March 2011, the legislature suspended the Public Service Commission's wind siting rules for the uniform local regulation of wind power, Wis. Admin. Code chapter PSC 128. With the close of the 2011-2012 legislative session on March 15, 2012, those rules have now gone into effect.
March 21, 2012 – The Public Service Commission (PSC) promulgated rules implementing 2009 Wisconsin Act 40. The act limited local control over wind energy systems, and required the PSC to promulgate rules setting uniform statewide standards, including setback limits and noise emissions. The PSC issued the new rules in December 2010 (effective March 1, 2011.) In an unusual step, the Legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules suspended the rules later that month, on the ground that they “create an emergency relating to public health, safety, or welfare; are arbitrary and capricious; and impose an undue hardship on landowners and residents adjacent to wind turbine sites....” (PSC REF#: 145834).
Companion bills (2011 Wisconsin Assembly Bill 72 and Senate Bill 50) would have repealed the rules, but failed to pass. The rules are available at psc.wi.gov, document reference no.145834.
Editor’s Note: In the article “The Municipal Regulation of Wind Energy in Wisconsin” in the April 20, 2011, issue of InsideTrack, the author summarized the provisions of 2009 Wisconsin Act 40 limiting local control over wind energy systems. The article discussed draft PSC rules, and sketched out the current state/local scheme for regulating wind energy systems.
About the author
Edward S. Marion, U.W. 1974, now in private practice, was the general counsel and administrative law judge at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin from 1998 through 2008. He is a past chair of the State Bar’s Energy and Telecommunications Law Section.