Madison changes would push solar, wind power

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: General |

From a story by Karen Rivedal in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Madison officials want to streamline city ordinances with an eye toward encouraging more people to use solar and wind power as a cleaner, greener energy source.

“The point is to make it easier to do small-scale solar and wind power in the city of Madison,” said proposal author Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, 12th District.

“The big picture is that we have a really exciting opportunity to get more renewable energy generation happening here,” she said. “That’s in line with our goal as a city to reduce our carbon footprint, and it’s going to help people on their energy bills as well.”

The six-page measure, now in several city committees, would amend many sections of the ordinance code and make a variety of technical changes to rules governing the permitting and installation of renewable energy systems. Many of the changes would ensure provisions are in line with current technologies and in keeping with state law, officials said.

But beyond the fine print and housekeeping, the measure as a whole would encourage increased use of wind and solar power by expressly making those systems a “permitted use” that is considered to be “in the public interest.”

That makes things easier in two ways, Rhodes-Conway said. First, permitted uses don’t require a trip to the Plan Commission or City Council for approval — just a permit from staff members in the planning department with payment of a fee.

And secondly, saying something is “in the public interest” means it applies to everyone, superceding any covenants for homeowners or condominium owners that may try to bar installation of such systems. . . .


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