The Connecticut Legislature has signed off on new regulations governing the development and operation of wind power facilities. Among other things, the rules require developers to submit:
- a visual impact assessment that differs in scope based on the height of the turbines and overall size of the project (up to 10 miles from the project for facilities over 65 MW);
- a natural resource impact evaluation that calculates the expected number of bird and bat fatalities;
- a decommissioning plan that estimates the cost of decommissioning including salvage value and provides (an unspecified form of) financial assurance that decommissioning funds will be available;
- a noise impact assessment;
- a shadow flicker assessment; and
- evaluations of blade shear and ice throw.
However the wind power rules do not impose wind power-specific permitting standards for anything other than safety setbacks (1.5 - 2.5 times turbine height from project boundaries, depending on project size) and shadow flicker (fewer than 30 hours a year at occupied structures).
Sound limits are governed by the generally applicable Noise Control Regulations administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Those rules impose a nighttime limit of 45 dBA at residential structures and include a stringent penalty for “prominent discrete tones” that could be triggered by amplitude modulation associated with wind turbine noise.
The regulations will be administered by the Connecticut Siting Council, which has oversight on proposed energy infrastructure.