Cheyenne – Legislation to regulate and encourage solar and wind energy facilities in Wyoming was signed into law yesterday, ensuring local communities have a voice in the approval process and that military operations are not adversely impacted.
“Be it coal, oil, gas, uranium, wind or solar – when it comes to energy, Wyoming has it all,” said Senator Bill Landen (SD-27), Chair of the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Interim Committee, which sponsored the legislation. “That’s why it’s essential we have a regulatory framework in place that encourages the responsible development of renewable energy, alongside minerals, while ensuring local communities have a voice in the process.”
“Large scale wind and solar projects have the potential to positively impact communities across the state, creating jobs and bolstering local and state economies,” said Senator Tara Nethercott (SD-04). “At the same time, their scale and scope could also affect private property owners, neighboring businesses, ranchers, wildlife, among many other things. It’s critical that counties have the authority and resources they need to thoroughly vet projects and make certain they are a good fit for their communities.”
SF 36, Large scale solar and wind energy facilities, establishes a framework for large scale solar and wind projects to operate in Wyoming. The law requires permitting for solar energy facilities by local Boards of County Commissioners and puts in place a process for review of solar and wind facilities by the Industrial Siting Council. It also establishes minimum standards for solar and wind energy projects.
The legislation also includes key provisions to ensure solar and wind facilities do not adversely impact military operations. SF 36 prohibits vertical construction of wind turbines within two nautical miles of an active federal military missile launch or control facility without approval from the military installation commander, the federal aviation administration and the military aviation and installation assurance siting clearinghouse.
“Wind turbines and solar installations near launch and missile alert facilities can pose a significant risk to not only our men and women in uniform, but national security,” said Senator Brian Boner (SD-02). “In implementing a framework to regulate renewable energy facilities, it’s imperative we have protections and safe distance requirements in place for our military facilities.”
“This bill strikes the right balance between industry and our national security interests and I’m proud to see this visionary legislation come to fruition,” added Senator Nethercott.
SF 36 was sponsored by the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Interim Committee. It received unanimous approval in the Senate and overwhelming support in the House of Representatives.