The Wisconsin state Legislature passed Wisconsin Act 40 (Act 40) in 2009, requiring the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) to create rules that specify the most restrictive conditions that a political subdivision may impose on the installation or use of a wind energy system. In response to this, the PSC established a wind siting council, an advisory body comprised of a group of individuals representing a variety of interests within the wind industry.The wind siting council forwarded its recommendations to the PSC. The PSC published draft siting rules on May 14, 2010, called PSC Rule 128, which specifies requirements pertaining to setbacks for wind energy facilities, noise criteria, and the decommissioning of the wind energy projects.
Rule 128 was to take effect March 1, however in a special legislative session, Assembly Bill 9 was introduced. This bill made certain provisions of the rules separate from the PSC recommendations. Assembly Bill 9 includes requiring setbacks from non-participating properties of at least 1,800 feet and requiring the PSC to study the impacts of wind energy systems on property values.
As of March 1, Wisconsin’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted to suspend the implementation of the new rules. The primary arguments of the movements behind suspending the PSC Rule 128 appear to be focused on the rights of adjacent property owners whose properties were not included in wind projects.