September 25, 2013

CT extends ban on wind turbines

Former State Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect, was a key player in the passage of a a moratorium on commercial wind projects until the state better regulates the industry.

The Connecticut legislature extended the two-year ban on wind turbines, striking down regulations that would have allowed for the construction of the renewable energy projects.

The legislature's Regulation Review Committee on Tuesday voted 10-3 to reject the proposed wind regulations by the Connecticut Siting Council. The members were concerned about who would dismantle the structures if the owners ever went out of business.

This is the third rejections of the proposed regulations since the state placed a moratorium on wind turbine development in 2011. It also marks the first rejection since June, when the legislature passed a comprehensive energy strategy designed to make it easier for the wind regulations to be approved by taking out certain provisions related to size of the turbines.

The ban stems from a fight between residents of Colebrook and Prospect and West Hartford renewable energy developer BNE Energy. The Colebrook turbines were approved by the Siting Council, but the fallout from the fight led the legislature to pass the moratorium until wind-specific regulations were approved.

Because of the latest rejection, potential Connecticut wind turbine developers will unlikely be able to take advantage of a federal production tax credit set to expire at the end of the year.

In the meantime, Connecticut on Monday announced a 15-year contract to buy 250 megawatts of wind power from a development in Maine.

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