Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has signed a bill into law that will require the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to promulgate rules establishing common standards for political subdivisions to regulate the construction and operation of wind energy systems.  The legislation seeks to address the patchwork regulatory framework created by local jurisdictions’ development of their own siting regulations, and to address the concerns of developers who have been hesitant to develop wind energy systems in the state.

Previously, a municipality was prohibited from placing any restriction on the installation of a wind energy system unless the restriction satisfies certain conditions, including protection of public health or safety.  The new law allows limited and generally uniform regulation of wind energy systems, and specifies that a municipality (i) may not regulate wind energy systems unless it adopts an ordinance that is no more restrictive that the PSC rules, and (ii) may not impose any restriction on a wind energy system that is more restrictive than the PSC rules.