CHAPTER 216F. WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEMS
Subdivision 1. Scope.
As used in this chapter, the terms defined in section
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.
History: 1995 c 203 s 1
216F.011 SIZE DETERMINATION.
(a) The total size of a combination of wind energy conversion systems for the purpose
of determining what jurisdiction has siting authority under this chapter must be determined
according to this section. The nameplate capacity of one wind energy conversion system must be
combined with the nameplate capacity of any other wind energy conversion system that:
(1) is located within five miles of the wind energy conversion system;
(2) is constructed within the same 12-month period as the wind energy conversion system;
(3) exhibits characteristics of being a single development, including, but not limited to,
ownership structure, an umbrella sales arrangement, shared interconnection, revenue sharing
arrangements, and common debt or equity financing.
(b) The commissioner shall provide forms and assistance for project developers to make a
request for a size determination. Upon written request of a project developer, the commissioner of
commerce shall provide a written size determination within 30 days of receipt of the request and
of any information requested by the commissioner. In the case of a dispute, the chair of the Public
Utilities Commission shall make the final size determination.
(c) An application to a county for a permit under this chapter for a wind energy conversion
system is not complete without a size determination made under this section.
History: 2007 c 136 art 4 s 12
216F.03 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
History: 1995 c 203 s 3
216F.04 SITE PERMIT.
(a) No person may construct an LWECS without a site permit issued by the Public Utilities
(b) Any person seeking to construct an LWECS shall submit an application to the
commission for a site permit in accordance with this chapter and any rules adopted by the
commission. The permitted site need not be contiguous land.
(c) The commission 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 commission. The
commission may extend this deadline for cause.
(d) The commission may place conditions in a permit and may deny, modify, suspend,
or revoke a permit.
History: 1995 c 203 s 4; 2005 c 97 art 3 s 19
The commission shall adopt rules governing the consideration of an application for a site
permit for an LWECS that address the following:
(1) criteria that the commission shall use to designate LWECS sites, which must include the
impact of LWECS on humans and the environment;
(2) procedures that the commission will follow in acting on an application for an 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 commission in acting on a
permit application and carrying out the requirements of this chapter.
History: 1995 c 203 s 5; 2005 c 97 art 3 s 19
216F.06 MODEL ORDINANCE.
The commission 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.
History: 1995 c 203 s 6; 2005 c 97 art 3 s 19
A permit under this chapter 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.
History: 1995 c 203 s 7
216F.08 PERMIT AUTHORITY; ASSUMPTION BY COUNTIES.
(a) A county board may, by resolution and upon written notice to the Public Utilities
Commission, assume responsibility for processing applications for permits required under this
chapter for LWECS with a combined nameplate capacity of less than 25,000 kilowatts. The
responsibility for permit application processing, if assumed by a county, may be delegated by the
county board to an appropriate county officer or employee. Processing by a county shall be done
in accordance with procedures and processes established under chapter 394.
(b) A county board that exercises its option under paragraph (a) may issue, deny, modify,
impose conditions upon, or revoke permits pursuant to this section. The action of the county board
about a permit application is final, subject to appeal as provided in section
(c) The commission shall, by order, establish general permit standards, including appropriate
property line set-backs, governing site permits for LWECS under this section. The order must
consider existing and historic commission standards for wind permits issued by the commission.
The general permit standards shall apply to permits issued by counties and to permits issued by
the commission for LWECS with a combined nameplate capacity of less than 25,000 kilowatts.
The commission or a county may grant a variance from a general permit standard if the variance
is found to be in the public interest.
(d) The commission and the commissioner of commerce shall provide technical assistance to
a county with respect to the processing of LWECS site permit applications.
History: 2007 c 136 art 4 s 13
216F.081 APPLICATION OF COUNTY STANDARDS.
A county may adopt by ordinance standards for LWECS that are more stringent than
standards in commission rules or in the commission's permit standards. The commission, in
considering a permit application for LWECS in a county that has adopted more stringent
standards, shall consider and apply those more stringent standards, unless the commission finds
good cause not to apply the standards.
History: 2007 c 136 art 4 s 14