Theses Master's

Zoning for Wind Energy in New York City

Li, Livie

It is well recognized that the role of zoning is essential in planning for wind energy. Wind energy zoning is not regulated at the federal level. The responsibility of regulating wind energy projects falls on states and cities, except on federal lands or when special laws apply (e.g. Federal Aviation Regulations). As more local governments explore their roles and responsibilities in climate change adaptation and mitigation, policies and zoning regulations related to distributed wind energy systems are constantly being added or updated. There is little consistency throughout the United States in regards to wind energy zoning. Local or state (or sometimes both) authorities can regulate wind energy facilities (Redburn, 2017). New York State's law, Chapter 388 of the Laws of 2011 that enacted Article 10 of the Public Service Law defines a major electric generating facility as facilities of 25 megawatts or more. The installation and modification of such facilities require environmental and public health impact analyses, a utility security plan, and advising interested parties and members of the public (Chapter 388 of the Laws of 2011). Facilities with capacity under 25 megawatts are not subjected to the requirement. This study does research on small-scale distributed wind energy conversion systems, as defined by the New York City Zoning Resolution (2018). Concerns related to visual impacts, sound, safety, and threats to wildlife are raised whenever there are wind energy facilities siting projects. The goal of the study is to analyze the regulations on which the amendment relies, identify if and how the zoning text addresses public concerns, challenges it encountered, and potential improvements.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Woodward, Douglas
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2019