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Wind Ordinance Debate: The 1,000-foot Set-Back Standard (Are environmentalists underregulating themselves?)

By Tony Fleming -- January 23, 2012

Editor Note: Environmentalists like regulation except when it comes to ‘green’ energy. This post asks: what is the growing acceptance of  the thousand-foot voluntary ordinance based on?]

In Indiana and elsewhere, many counties are falling all over themselves to adopt the so-called “1,000-foot voluntary industry setback” between large wind turbines and residences.1 In some states, it has become part of “model” wind ordinances created by wind developers and energy agencies.

This buffer zone (who said these structures were environmental?) is starkly smaller than those mandated in several countries widely touted by industry proponents as wind “success” stories. In Denmark, for example, the setback is four times total turbine height (or about 2,000 feet for a large turbine), along with a built-in mechanism for compensating abutters for property-value losses.