Small Wind Innovation Zone Designation for Parts of Linn County

May 23, 2012

Benefits for property owners: Clean, renewable and efficient energy

Unincorporated Linn County was recently designated a Small Wind Innovation Zone by the Iowa Utilities Board on May 10, 2012.

The designation allows owners of small wind energy conversion systems (100kW or less) to take advantage of an expedited local approval process and a streamlined interconnection agreement with rate regulated electrical utility providers. The streamlined interconnection agreement makes it easier for homeowners with a small wind turbine to connect to the grid and take advantage of existing programs that may be offered by their utility providers to reduce their monthly energy costs.

“The streamlined local approval process is the main benefit of the program,” said Bill Micheel, a Planner with Linn County Planning & Development. “The whole impetus behind the small wind innovation zone legislation is to make it as easy as possible to promote greater use of Iowa’s abundant wind and its potential to be transformed into clean and renewable electrical energy.”

To obtain the designation, Linn County amended the zoning standards in its Unified Development Code to conform to the model ordinance published by the Iowa Utilities Board. The Linn County Planning & Development Department received input on the ordinance amendments from the Iowa Wind Energy Association, utility providers and wind energy companies.