Shifting Winds

Wind Farm Sitting Processes in New York, New Hampshire, and Maine
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1920-06
Friday, April 17, 2020

The Vermont State Legislature is currently considering changes to siting processes for grid-scale wind farms. This research paper aims to inform deliberations of the state legislature by providing an overview of the wind farm approval processes in the states of New York, New Hampshire, and Maine. The paper begins with a general overview regarding the wind farm approval process in the state of Vermont and presents the issues to be discussed. The paper also discusses the research design and provides justification for examining the states of New York, New Hampshire, and Maine. For each state, a general overview of the role that wind energy plays in meeting the electrical needs of the state is presented. In addition, an overview of the state’s general approval process for wind energy is given, along with the environmental regulations that affect the approval of new wind farms. Further discussion of the parties to the overall approval process is included for each state, including public-sector actors like regulatory agencies and commissions, advocacy groups that support the development of new wind farms, as well as private-sector firms that construct new wind farms. The paper closes with a general summary regarding overall findings and presents some policy options for the Vermont State Legislature to consider in its deliberations regarding the future of siting processes for grid-scale wind farms.