CCCL Publishes Draft Wind Siting Ordinance

by Cullen Howe & Danielle Sugarman

Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law (CCCL) has prepared a first draft of a model municipal wind siting ordinance (PDF).  The model ordinance presents a framework for the adoption, implementation and enforcement of standards to promote effective and efficient use of wind energy resources.  We began by analyzing existing wind siting ordinances from various New York municipalities, as well as those from other municipalities in other states, identifying their common features, and seeing what types of requirements have been widely adopted.

The model ordinance regulates all new commercial wind energy facilities, as well as those facilities which begin operating or are modified after the effective date of the ordinance.  The ordinance includes provisions concerning permits, approvals, operation and oversight of wind energy facilities, and allows for flexibility in adoption within each municipality by including a number of optional “add-ons.”  The draft is annotated with a legal commentary that clarifies areas of potential ambiguity and discusses the benefits and drawbacks of the optional add-ons.

We are currently soliciting comments on this draft from lawyers, planners, architects, engineers, municipal officials, and others on how to improve it.  If there is sufficient interest, we may also convene one or more meetings or calls to discuss the model ordinance.  Comments should be sent to Danielle Sugarman at   The municipal wind siting ordinance accompanies the Center’s model green building ordinance, both of which can be found at

+ posts

Associate Director and Fellow, Center for Climate Change Law