The Oregon Department of Energy (ODE), in an effort to help local and county governments, has drafted a model ordinance for siting energy projects that are not subject to state-level review. Although still a work in progress, the model ordinance’s concepts could serve the interests of cities and counties nationwide.
The most recent iteration of the Model Ordinance was released in July 2005. The ordinance is a guide for cities and counties in approaching the siting of certain wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and cogeneration projects. It also addresses siting of transmission lines and pipelines. The document is nicely formatted with side-by-side commentary and background information on each section of the proposed rules.
In Oregon, the Energy Facility Siting Council has responsibility for siting large energy projects. The Siting Council has no authority to regulate energy projects that fall below certain thresholds. For example, wind and solar energy projects below 105 MW and natural gas plants less than 25 MW fall to local jurisdiction.
There has been a steady trickle of inquiries about the Model Ordinance since an earlier version was put online three years ago, yet the ODE is still awaiting the day when a city or county actually goes through the formal process of adopting the ordinance. ODE’s John White noted, “We would love to work with a county and their land use planners on enacting the ordinance so that we can really learn what aspects of the ordinance work and what doesn’t.”
The Model Ordinance attempts to balance the public interest with the need for energy development by establishing a clear process at the local level that marries well with the established state-level process for larger energy projects.
The ODE doesn’t expect to make any significant changes to the Model Ordinance over the next 12 months but is interested in getting feedback on the language from cities and counties in Oregon and elsewhere around the country. Send your feedback by e-mail to ODE’s John White.
- Full Text of Oregon’s Model Ordinance For Energy Projects – Oregon Department of Energy, July 2005
- New Rules Project section on Local Planning for DistributedGeneration