Drafting effective legislation is hard. Drafting local legislation to regulate the development of wind and solar energy facilities is harder. Government officials and residents alike need to balance many competing interests when drafting a local law governing wind and solar energy siting. How much development is desirable? Where should wind turbines and solar panels be built? What scale of green energy development is consistent with existing community character and a town’s plan for development? Are there public safety considerations? How can a municipality protect itself against zombie turbines and zombie solar panels? These are important questions, and a good local law should address all of them. The answers are likely to be entirely specific to your town.
There are many template laws available online, but it is important to remember that local laws are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. When reviewing a template, policymakers should consider who drafted or is promoting the law, and what the person or entity’s interest is in providing such a template. For example, NYSERDA provides a template local solar law here. This template may be a great starting point for some towns, but all towns should keep in mind that NYSERDA has a vested interested in promoting wind and solar energy production in New York State.
On the other side of the spectrum, the laws here, here, and here are drafted or supported by people, towns, or entities who are, for whatever reason, opposed to large scale development of renewable energy in certain locations.
For inquiries about drafting wind and solar laws, or for siting large power plants pursuant to Article 10 of the New York State Public Service Law, please contact Benjamin E. Wisniewski. The Zoghlin Group represents individuals, public interest groups, and municipalities in Article 10 proceedings throughout New York State, and has experience helping both government and public parties tackle the challenging task of updating local energy laws.
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