NOTE: THIS MODEL ORDINANCE IS NO LONGER IN PLACE. THE INFORMATION BELOW IS FOR HISTORICAL PURPOSES ONLY.
In 2009, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) created a model ordinance for siting wind energy systems. This nine-page model, developed in cooperation with multiple stakeholders, is designed for use by local governments. It includes separate provisions for small wind turbines (defined as those less than 75 feet high and used primarily for on-site electricity consumption) and for larger wind energy systems.
With respect to small wind turbines, the model ordinance addresses setbacks, access, lighting, noise, appearance, code compliance, utility notification, abandonment, and the permitting process. For larger wind-energy systems, the model ordinance addresses mitigation measures, setbacks, electromagnetic interference, lighting, spacing, footprint minimalization, the placement of lines and cables, height, tower color and design, noise, permitting, decommissioning, and pre-construction filing.
The model ordinance specifies that all wind energy systems must meet or exceed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and South Dakota statutory requirements, as well as the requirements of any other state or federal agency authorized to regulate wind energy facilities.
South Dakota has also established a law that applies to "small wind energy systems," defined as small systems of one or more wind turbines less than 75 feet in height. For these systems, each turbine tower must be set back at least 1.1 times the height of the tower from any surrounding property line. However, if the owner of the tower obtains a written agreement from an adjacent land owner allowing the placement of the tower closer to the property line, the tower may be placed closer to the property line shared with that adjacent land owner.