October 1, 2009 By News Report
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle today signed into law Senate Bill 185, which requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish uniform standards regulating the construction and operation of wind energy systems. It also allows proposed wind energy systems that are one megawatt or larger to appeal decisions by local authorities with the PSC. According to the bill, "the PSC's rules must specify the restrictions a political subdivision may impose on the installation or use of such a system, and may include subjects such as visual appearance, setback distances, decommissioning, shadow flicker, electrical connections to the power grid, and interference with radio, telephone, or television signals. If a political subdivision chooses to regulate such systems, its ordinances may not be more restrictive than the PSC rules." A number of online videos posted by Wisconsin residents document the negative effects of turbine noise and shadow fllicker -- the flicker of light and shadow created by the turbine blades -- when wind turbines are located too close to homes.