Public Sector

The greatest challenge to small wind is not technical, but rather financial, political, and regulatory. Confusing, inconsistent or even absent permitting processes discourage the very people a forward-thinking community would want to enable: those with the motivation and resources to generate their own clean energy.

Small wind turbines and solar installations allow homeowners, farmers, small business owners, and public facilities to generate their own clean, safe, and reliable energy for on-site use. Though thousands of towns and counties already do, many have not yet included small wind and solar systems in their zoning codes to allow for the optimal production of electricity. The reason is often no more than a lack of familiarity with the technology, resulting in overabundant care to avoid setting a controversial precedent. This often renders the permitting process the single most daunting obstacle for would-be consumers and prevents the installation – and associated public benefits of renewable energy systems.

The good news is this is easy to fix. Making the permitting process affordable, streamlined, and accountable is in the best interest of the consumer, environment, and community – our goal on this page is to help explain why, and identifies best practices for local governments to balance the interests of property owners and the community.

Most of the information on this page deals with issues and common misconceptions regarding the permitting for wind as it is the more ‘visible’ of the two complementary technologies.




AWEA How and Why to Permit for Small Wind

The A-Z of small wind permitting, from what is a turbine to a model small wind ordinance.

AWEA Policies

12 page guide identifies policy tools that state and local governments can use to bring the private and public benefits of small wind
turbines to their communities.

DWEA Briefing Paper: Small Turbine Safety

1 page document concerns the safety of small wind turbines.

DWEA Briefing Paper: NIMBY’S

1 page document dealing with the most common distortions from the ‘Not In My Back Yard’ types.

DWEA Briefing Paper: Tower Height

1 page document on the single biggest regulatory barrier to small wind in the U.S. – tower height.

DWEA Briefing Paper: Acoustics / Sound / Noise

1 page document dealing with one of the biggest misconceptions regarding small wind turbines – sound.

DWEA Briefing Paper: Tower Setback

1 page dealing with withe the issue of ‘setback’, or how close a wind tower can be placed to property lines.

DWEA Briefing Paper: Property Values

1 page addressing the completely unsubstantiated opinion that a wind turbine decreases a property’s value

DWEA Briefing Paper: Birds / Avian Mortality

1 page regarding the issue of small wind turbines and bird/ bat deaths – in reality its not an issue at all.

DWEA Briefing Paper: Aesthetics and Visual Impacts

1 page addressing the issue of a small wind system on the landscape – an interesting perspective.


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