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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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County Wind Ordinance Standards   

Last DSIRE Review: 10/01/2012
Program Overview:
State: California
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Wind
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Local Government, Agricultural
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Expiration Date:
CA Government Code ยง 65893, et seq.

Assembly Bill 45 of 2009 authorized counties to adopt ordinances to provide for the installation of small wind systems (50 kW or smaller) outside urbanized areas but within the county's jurisdiction. The bill also addressed specific aspects of a typical wind ordinance and established the limiting factors by which a county's wind ordinance can be no more restrictive. Counties may freely make more lenient ordinances, but AB 45 was designed to establish maximum restrictions a county may impose if they choose to develop a small wind ordinance. These provisions apply only to county ordinances developed after January 1, 2011. Maximum restrictions in the following categories are specifically included in the bill:

  • Tower height
  • Acreage of land parcel
  • Setbacks
  • Public notice
  • Noise level
  • Visual effects
  • Type of turbine used
  • Tower drawings and line drawings
  • Engineering analysis

These standards remain in effect until January 1, 2017. By January 1, 2016 the California Energy Commission (CEC) is required to prepare a report for various committees of the General Assembly detailing the number of local wind ordinances adopted after January 1, 2011; the number of applications to install wind turbines that were received and approved by those counties; and the tower heights, parcel sizes and the generating capacities of the wind turbines. The committees will consider these facts and any recommendations offered by the CEC to determine if these ordinance guidelines should be continued, modified or terminated.

  James Lee
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-45
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512
Phone: (916) 653-1195
Phone 2: (800) 555-7794
Fax: (916) 653-2543
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.