[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Winneconne 5-19-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of the Town of Winneconne adopts this chapter to promote the effective and efficient use of wind energy conversion systems (WECS) and to regulate the placement of wind energy conversion systems so that the public health and safety will not be jeopardized.
The Town Board of the Town of Winneconne finds and declares that wind energy is an abundant, renewable and nonpolluting energy resource of the Town and that its conversion to electricity will reduce our dependence on nonrenewable energy sources and decrease the air and water pollution that results from the use of conventional energy sources.
The Town Board of the Town of Winneconne further finds and declares that:
Wind turbines that convert wind energy to electricity are currently available on a commercial basis from many manufacturers.
The generation of electricity from properly sited wind turbines can be cost effective, and in many cases existing power distribution systems can be used to transmit electricity from wind-generating stations to utilities or other users.
Regulation of the siting and installation of wind turbines is necessary for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of neighboring property owners and the general public.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- OVERSPEED CONTROL
- A mechanism used to limit the speed of blade rotation to below the design limits of the WECS.
- The plot of land where the WECS is to be placed. The site could be publicly or privately owned by an individual or a group of individuals controlling single or adjacent properties.
- SWEPT AREA
- The largest area of the WECS which extracts energy from the wind stream. In a conventional propeller-type WECS, there is a direct relationship between swept area and the rotor diameter.
- TOTAL HEIGHT
- The height of the tower and the furthest vertical extension of the WECS.
- WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM
- A machine that converts the kinetic energy in the wind into a usable form (commonly known as a "wind turbine" or "windmill.") The WECS includes all parts of the system except the tower and the transmission equipment; the turbine or WECS may be on a horizontal or vertical axis, rotor or propeller.
Wind energy conversion systems shall be permitted in only A-2 Agricultural zoning districts, subject to the following requirements:
Building permit application for a WECS. Building permit applications for a wind energy conversion system shall be accompanied by a plot plan drawn in sufficient detail to clearly describe the following.
Property lines and physical dimensions of the site.
Location, approximate dimensions and types of major existing structures and uses on site.
Location and elevation of the proposed WECS.
Location of all aboveground utility lines on site or within one radius of the total height of the WECS.
Location and size of structures and trees above 35 feet within a five-hundred-foot radius of the proposed WECS. For purposes of this requirement, electrical transmission and distribution lines, antennas and slender or open lattice towers are not considered structures.
Show the zoning designation of immediate and adjacent sites as set forth in Chapter 310, Zoning.
Include make, model, picture and manufacturer's specifications, including noise decibels.
General provisions. Installation of all wind energy conversion systems shall comply with the following requirements:
WECS size. This chapter covers those WECS whose swept area is 1,000 square feet or less. (For conventional propeller WECS, this would be approximately 35 feet or less in diameter.)
Compliance with Uniform Building Code.
Building permit applications shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the structural components of the wind energy conversion system, including support structures, tower, base and footings. Drawings and any necessary calculations shall be certified, in writing, by a Wisconsin State registered professional engineer that the system complies with the Wisconsin State Fire Prevention and Building Code. This certification would normally be supplied by the manufacturer.
Where the structural components or installation vary from the standard design or specification, the proposed modifications shall be certified by a Wisconsin State registered professional engineer for compliance with the seismic and structural design provisions of the Wisconsin State Fire Prevention and Building Code.
Compliance with National Electrical Code.
Building permit applications shall be accompanied by a line drawing identifying the electrical components of the wind system to be installed in sufficient detail to allow for a determination that the manner of installation conforms to the National Electrical Code. The application shall include a statement from a Wisconsin State registered professional engineer indicating that the electrical system conforms to good engineering practices and complies with the National Electrical Code. This certification would normally be supplied by the manufacturer. All equipment and materials shall be used or installed in accordance with such drawings and diagrams.
Where the electrical components of an installation vary from the standard design or specifications, the proposed modifications shall be reviewed and certified by a Wisconsin State registered professional engineer for compliance with the requirements of the National Electrical Code and good engineering practices.
Rotor safety. Each wind energy conversion system must be equipped with both manual and automatic controls to limit the rotational speed of the blade below the design limits of the rotor. The application must include a statement by a Wisconsin State registered professional engineer certifying that the rotor and overspeed controls have been designed and fabricated for the proposed use in accordance with good engineering practices. The engineer should also certify the structural compatibility of possible towers with available rotors. This certification would normally be supplied by the manufacturer and include the distance and trajectory of the thrown blade from an exploding turbine or propeller according to the loss of blade theory.
Guy wires. Anchor points for guy wires for the WECS tower shall be located within property lines and not on or across any aboveground electric transmission or distribution line. The point of ground attachment for the guy wires shall be enclosed by a fence six feet high.
Noise. The WECS shall meet the requirements of any existing noise ordinance of the Town of Winneconne.
Electromagnetic interference. No WECS shall be installed in any location along the major axis of an existing microwave communications link where the operation of the WECS is likely to produce an unacceptable level of electromagnetic interference, unless the applicant provides sufficient evidence satisfactory to the Zoning Administrator indicating the degree of expected interference and the possible side effect on the microwave communication link. If has been demonstrated to the Town Zoning Administrator that a wind energy conversion system is causing harmful interference, the operator shall promptly mitigate the harmful interference.
Signs. At least one sign shall be posted at the base of the tower warning of electrical shock or high voltage.
Height. The minimum height of the lowest part of the WECS shall be 30 feet above the highest existing major structure or tree within a two-hundred-fifty-foot radius. For purposes of this requirement, electrical transmission and distribution lines, antennas and slender or open-lattice towers are not considered structures. WECS shall be located or installed in compliance with the guidelines of the Federal Aviation Regulations with regard to airport approach zones.
The minimum lot size required for the erection, construction or placement of a WECS on a property shall be five acres.
Except as provided for under § 300-4B(6), the WECS shall be set back from any property line, aboveground utility line or other WECS a distance greater than either its overall height, including blades, or the minimum yard requirement, whichever is greater.
In the case of cluster development, a WECS shall be erected within the common open space area and shall be set back from all residences a distance greater than Subsection B(13)(a) above.
Contiguous property owners may construct a WECS for use in common, provided that the required setback is maintained relative to the property lines of nonparticipant owners.
Utility notification (for those WECS which will be interconnected to a utility grid). No wind turbine shall be installed until evidence has been given that the utility company has been notified, in writing.
Abatement. If a wind energy conversion system or systems are not maintained in operational condition for a period of one year or poses a potential safety hazard, the owner or operator shall take expeditious action to remedy the situation. The Town of Winneconne reserves the authority to abate any hazardous situation and to pass the cost of such abatement on to the owner or operator of the system. If the Town of Winneconne determines that the WECS has been abandoned and poses a safety hazard, the system shall be removed within 45 days of written notice to the owner or operator of the system.
Liability insurance. The applicant, owner, lessee or assignee shall maintain a current insurance policy which will cover installation and operation of the wind energy conversion system at all times. Said policy shall provide a minimum of $300,000 of property and personal liability coverage.
Lighting of tower. Lighting of the tower for aircraft and helicopter will conform to FAA standards for wattage and color.
Environmental impact. The project must be viewed for visual pollution and the Town may require an environmental impact statement.
Installation. Installation of wind energy conversion systems shall require the granting of a special permit.
Application. Every application for a special permit shall be made, in writing, to the Plan Commission in accordance with the requirements by the Town, shall be accompanied by a filing fee as set forth in the Town's Schedule of Fees and shall include the following information:
Name and address of the applicant.
Evidence that the applicant is the owner of the premises involved or that the applicant has written permission of the owner to make such an application.
A plot plan and development plan drawn in sufficient detail to clearly describe:
Property line and physical dimensions of the proposed site;
Location, approximate dimensions and types of major existing structures and uses of the site;
Location and elevation of the proposed WECS;
Location of all aboveground utility lines and other WECS on site or within one radius of the total height of the proposed WECS, including the furthest vertical extension of the rotor assembly;
Location and size of structures or trees above 35 feet within a five-hundred-foot radius of the proposed WECS. For purposes of this requirement, electrical transmission and distribution lines, antennas and slender or open-lattice towers are not considered structures;
Where applicable, the location of all transmission facilities proposed for installation; and
Where applicable, the location of all road and other service structures proposed as part of the installation.
The Building Inspector or his designee shall have the right at any reasonable time to enter, in the company of the owner or his agent, the premises on which a WECS has been constructed to inspect all parts of said wind energy conversion system installation and require that repairs or alterations be made, if in his judgment, there exists a deficiency in the operation or in the structural stability of the system. If necessary the Building Inspector or his designee may order the system secured or otherwise cease its operation. It shall not be required that the owner or his agent be present in the event of an emergency situation involving danger to life, limb or property.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of not more than $250, imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.