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United States

Massachusetts votes to create wind energy boards

US: Both houses of the Massachusetts legislature have passed legislation to streamline permitting for land-based wind farms.

Massachusetts legislature passes wind energy proposals
Massachusetts legislature passes wind energy proposals
The state House of Representatives has voted 101-52 in favour of House Bill 4687, which would require municipalities in areas of significant wind resources to establish wind energy permitting boards.

The state senate passed its own version of the bill in February.

The Senate must now approve amendments made by the House, or form a conference committee to work out a unified bill.

The permitting boards would comprise zoning, planning and conservation officials, in an attempt to cut down on the number of permits wind developers must secure.

Developers of wind projects of at least 2MW would be able to use the streamlined system, provided they meet siting standards to be created by the state energy facilities siting board.

The Senate version said that local permitting boards proposed by the bills would have the authority to waive local regulations and policies, but the House version specifically prohibits giving the boards that power.

Massachusetts has 17MW of onshore wind, ranking 31st in the nation.

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