This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 26, 2005

Kansas, Vermont, and New Jersey Encourage Wind Power but Set Limits

Kansas, Vermont, and New Jersey have seen fit recently to note the benefits of wind power, but to limit its development in certain areas. Kansas is limiting wind plants on grasslands, Vermont is limiting wind plants on state lands, and New Jersey has placed a moratorium on offshore wind power development.

In Kansas, Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced in mid-January that she had adopted a set of recommendations for wind energy development while preserving the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills region. The key element of the plan is to defer to local control and decision- making and provide tools, best practices, and guidelines to assist local governments. The governor showed her support for wind power by calling on electric utilities to have at least 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity installed in Kansas by 2015, and asked utility regulators to examine the benefits this goal. The governor also asked the Kansas Energy Council to analyze the impact of requiring state facilities to draw on renewable energy for between 2.5 to 5 percent of their electricity. The governor called on the Kansas Energy Council to develop standards for locating wind power facilities and has requested $800,000 in state funds to help wind developers. See the governor's press release.

In Vermont, the Agency of Natural Resources concluded in December that large-scale wind plants should not be built on state-owned lands. Noting that Vermonters largely support the development of renewable energy resources, the new policy still encourages small-scale wind installations on state lands when appropriate. See the Vermont Wind Policy Web site.

In New Jersey, Acting Governor Richard Codey noted the benefits of wind power and the state's commitment to renewable energy while placing a 15-month freeze on the funding and permitting of wind projects offshore of the state's coast, due to concerns about protecting the marine and coastal environment. In late December, the acting governor appointed a blue-ribbon panel to study the appropriateness of offshore wind power installations near the Jersey Shore; their report is due in March 2006. See the acting governor's press release.

Currently, the only company publicly planning to build wind power facilities near the Jersey Shore is Winergy, LLC. However, Winergy's planned facilities—called Asbury Park, Great Egg, and Five Fathom Bank—are all located in federal waters at least 3.5 miles off the coast. The projects have seen little progress since Winergy announced them in October 2002. See the Winergy Web site.

Features