A letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Gerald Flakas:

A July 3 editorial asked for opinions on rules governing wind turbines in Wisconsin. By Wisconsin statute, no county, city, town or village may place any restriction on the installation or use of a solar or wind energy system unless the restriction serves to protect public health and safety, does not significantly increase the cost of the system or decrease its efficiency or allows for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency.

This means that perceived aesthetics or property value impact cannot be used to prevent people from installing wind turbines on their property. The details on what constitutes “public health and safety” are subject to debate. The state Legislature will be considering a uniform wind energy system siting bill (AB256/SB185) this fall to resolve this question statewide.

The final resolution of these bills should be incorporated into any local ordinances or restrictions, so it might be wise for local units of government to wait for the outcome of these bills before proceeding with regulations restricting solar and wind energy installations.

Gerald K. Flakas