–Existing law requires certain facilities generating electricity from wind power to obtain a permit from every county in which the facility is located. This bill expands that requirement to include a facility with a rated power capacity of more than one-half (0.5) megawatt of electricity from solar power. The bill establishes the minimum standards that counties must apply when issuing permits for solar energy facilities. The bill also modifies standards for a permit granted for a wind energy facility.
–The bill exempts from the Solar Rights Act a solar collector that is part of a facility that has a rated power capacity of more than five hundred (500) kilowatts or would result in a surface disturbance equal to or greater than one hundred (100) acres.
–Under existing law, the Industrial Siting Council has jurisdiction over wind energy facilities, including their collector systems, that consist of thirty (30) or more wind turbines in all planned phases of the installation. This bill modifies that to twenty (20) or more wind turbines. The bill also expands the Industrial Siting Council’s jurisdiction over “facilities” to include any commercial facility generating electricity from solar power and associated solar collector systems if the facility has a rated power capacity of more than thirty (30) megawatts or would result in a surface disturbance equal to or greater than one hundred (100) acres or is expanded to where the facility would satisfy either of these requirements.
–Requires all facilities generating electricity from wind power, if they produce more than .5 megawatts of electricity, to obtain a permit from every county in which the facility is located. This legislation establishes the minimum standards that counties must apply when issuing the required permits.
–Exempts from the permit requirement wind energy facilities constructed or being constructed prior to July 1, 2010.
–Requires permit applications to include: certification of having given required notices, certification of compliance with all requirements established by this legislation together with all county regulations, written emergency management plans, waste management plans, proof of legal access and required road-use agreements, project plans, certifications regarding advertising, site reclamation/decommissioning plans and descriptions of any environmental, social or economic effects.
–Sets set-back standards from adjoining lands, cities, subdivisions, occupied structures and public roadways.
–Requires county rules for notice to mineral rights owners.
–Provides for hearings and public comment.
–Provides a process for referral by the county to the DEQ’s Industrial Siting Council. The Director of the DEQ has the authority to refuse any referral. Any referral made does not relieve a county from considering and permitting a facility.
–Provides penalties and for permit suspension/revocation.
–Requires the ISC to adopt new rules regarding the decommissioning and site reclamation of wind energy facilities and financial assurance requirements for permit holders.
–Provides conforming amendments in the event Senate File 66 (concerning changes to the Industrial Siting Act) is enacted into law.
–Expands the Industrial Siting Council’s (ISC’s) jurisdiction over “facilities” to include wind energy facilities, including their collector systems, which consist of 30 or more towers or which expand to include 30 or more towers. It also expands the ISC’s jurisdiction to include electric transmission lines over 160,000 volts.
–Requires the ISC to promulgate rules prescribing decommissioning and site reclamation standards for wind energy facilities and rules prescribing financial assurance requirements for wind energy facilities which will assure that a site is properly reclaimed and decommissioned.
–Requires rules mandating notice to the record owners of mineral rights.
–Requires permit applicants and permit waiver applicants to: 1) certify that local governments have been given notice of a proposed industrial facility at least 30 days prior to submitting an application, 2) submit a site reclamation and decommissioning plan to the ISC, which plan must be updated every 5 years, 3) submit information demonstrating their financial capability to construct, maintain, operate, decommission and reclaim a facility.
–Requires the disclosure of agricultural impacts, terrestrial and aquatic wildlife impacts and impacts upon threatened, endangered, rare, or other species identified in the state wildlife action plan.
–Expands the state agencies consulted in the permitting process.
–Allows “directly affected” land owners to be parties.
–Appropriates $355,754.00 to fund a new position within the DEQ.
–Provides a conforming section should HB 72, concerning county regulation of wind energy facilities, be enacted into law.
–Imposes an excise tax upon the privilege of producing electricity from wind resources.
–Tax of $1 per megawatt hour or portion thereof is imposed.
–Tax becomes effective 3 years after the turbine first produces electricity.
–Tax is distributed 60% to the counties where the generating facility is located; and 40% to the general fund.
This bill amends the existing tax exemption for equipment used to generate electricity from renewable resources by specifying that the exemption only applies to certain projects if:
–The developer is the landowner or has a specific agreement with the landowner. This provision is repealed effective December 31, 2011; or
–The projects has a net rating of not more than twenty-five kilowatts or is entirely for off-grid use. This provision is repealed effective June 30, 2012.
Wind Energy Task Force:
Final Report and Recommendations
Wind Energy Task Force:
The Governor set up this task force in 2009 to look at all aspects of wind energy regulation and taxation. The task force consisted of legislators, an industry representative and a county representative.