Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 203-S.F.No. 1076 
                  An act relating to energy; exempting wind energy 
                  conversion systems siting from the power plant siting 
                  act; authorizing rulemaking; proposing coding for new 
                  law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 116C. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
                    SITING OF WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEMS
           Section 1.  [116C.691] [DEFINITIONS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [SCOPE.] As used in sections 116C.691 to 
        116C.697, the terms defined in section 116C.52 and this section 
        have the meanings given them, unless otherwise provided or 
        indicated by the context or by this section. 
           Subd. 2.  [LARGE WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM OR 
        LWECS.] "Large wind energy conversion system" or "LWECS" means 
        any combination of WECS with a combined nameplate capacity of 
        5,000 kilowatts or more. 
           Subd. 3.  [SMALL WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM OR 
        SWECS.] "Small wind energy conversion system" or "SWECS" means 
        any combination of WECS with a combined nameplate capacity of 
        less than 5,000 kilowatts. 
           Subd. 4.  [WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEM OR WECS.] "Wind 
        energy conversion system" or "WECS" means any device such as a 
        wind charger, windmill, or wind turbine and associated 
        facilities that converts wind energy to electrical energy. 
           Sec. 2.  [116C.692] [EXEMPTIONS.] 
           (a) The requirements of sections 116C.51 to 116C.69 do not 
        apply to the siting of LWECS, except for sections 116C.52; 
        116C.57, subdivision 4; 116C.59; 116C.62; 116C.63; 116C.645; 
        116C.65; 116C.68; and 116C.69, subdivision 3, which do apply. 
           (b) Any person may construct an SWECS without complying 
        with sections 116C.51 to 116C.69 and 116C.691 to 116C.697. 
           (c) Nothing in sections 116C.691 to 116C.697 shall preclude 
        a local governmental unit from establishing requirements for the 
        siting and construction of SWECS. 
           Sec. 3.  [116C.693] [SITING OF LWECS.] 
           The legislature declares it to be the policy of the state 
        to site LWECS in an orderly manner compatible with environmental 
        preservation, sustainable development, and the efficient use of 
        resources. 
           Sec. 4.  [116C.694] [SITE PERMIT.] 
           (a) No person may construct an LWECS without a site permit 
        issued by the environmental quality board.  
           (b) Any person seeking to construct an LWECS shall submit 
        an application to the board for a site permit in accordance with 
        sections 116C.691 to 116C.697 and any rules adopted by the 
        board.  The permitted site need not be contiguous land.  
           (c) The board shall make a final decision on an application 
        for a site permit for an LWECS within 180 days after acceptance 
        of a complete application by the chair of the board.  The board 
        may extend this deadline for cause.  
           (d) The board may place conditions in a permit and may 
        deny, modify, suspend, or revoke a permit. 
           Sec. 5. [116C.695] [RULES.] 
           The board shall adopt rules governing the consideration of 
        an application for a site permit for an LWECS that address the 
        following:  
           (1) criteria that the board shall use to designate LWECS 
        sites, which must include the impact of LWECS on humans and the 
        environment; 
           (2) procedures that the board will follow in acting on an 
        application for a LWECS; 
           (3) procedures for notification to the public of the 
        application and for the conduct of a public information meeting 
        and a public hearing on the proposed LWECS; 
           (4) requirements for environmental review of the LWECS; 
           (5) conditions in the site permit for turbine type and 
        designs; site layout and construction; and operation and 
        maintenance of the LWECS, including the requirement to restore, 
        to the extent possible, the area affected by construction of the 
        LWECS to the natural conditions that existed immediately before 
        construction of the LWECS; 
           (6) revocation or suspension of a site permit when 
        violations of the permit or other requirements occur; and 
           (7) payment of fees for the necessary and reasonable costs 
        of the board in acting on a permit application and carrying out 
        the requirements of sections 116C.691 to 116C.697.  
           Sec. 6.  [116C.696] [MODEL ORDINANCE.] 
           The board may assist local governmental units in adopting 
        ordinances and other requirements to regulate the siting, 
        construction, and operation of SWECS, including the development 
        of a model ordinance. 
           Sec. 7.  [116C.697] [PREEMPTION.] 
           A permit under sections 116C.691 to 116C.697 is the only 
        site approval required for the location of an LWECS.  The site 
        permit supersedes and preempts all zoning, building, or land use 
        rules, regulations, or ordinances adopted by regional, county, 
        local, and special purpose governments. 
           Presented to the governor May 22, 1995 
           Signed by the governor May 22, 1995, 7:15 p.m.