PLAN 6010: Wind Turbine Ordinance Study
Wind Turbine Ordinance Study
4 week project
Wind is the fastest growing source of renewable energy in the US. The federal government along with state governors and legislatures, frequently joined by organized environmental as well as industry groups, have supported development of wind energy sources. Good things however frequently raise issues when it gets down to siting and design details like the visual impact on a ridgeline or the controversial issue of potential bird and bat kills. More localized neighbor-to-neighbor issues crop up when residential scale turbines are proposed. Concerns include potential noise impacts and shadow flicker on neighboring residences or tower falls in high winds. These are all new issues facing many local governments.
The first PLAN 6010 Planning Process and Practice class project challenged first-year graduate planning students to assume the role of planning staff members gathering information to conduct a study session on potential wind turbine ordinances. Teams selected a locality to represent, gathered information on harnessing wind energy at various scales within the region, and identified potential issues and opportunities with siting wind turbines throughout the area. Teams offered a range of possible approaches in a final presentation to three members of the community representing a local Planning Commission. The images above were taken from one team’s presentation based on Rochester, New York.
The project exposed students to the context of policy issues, to systematic planning analysis, and to presenting convincing arguments, evidence, and recommendations – key skills for professional planners.