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Wind Energy Facilities


This page is part of a series of webpages on alternative Energy Resources. It provides an overview of the use of wind power to generate electricity. Some of the issues related to wind turbines are briefly addressed. Reference sources are provided that discuss siting and zoning issues.

Construction of major energy facilities in Washington State after July 1977 requires state certification as outlined in Chapter 80.50 RCW - Energy Facilities - Site Locations. The evaluation and oversight of large energy facilities is carried out by the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). Applicants may choose to use the EFSEC process for energy facilities that exclusively use alternative energy resources regardless of generating capacity.

Under RCW 80.50.110(2), the state preempts the regulation and certification of the location, construction, and operational conditions of certification of the energy facilities included under RCW 80.50.060.


Overview of Wind Energy

  • Learn About Wind Power and Explore the Issues, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
  • Wind, U.S. Department of Energy - Provides sections on information resources, programs and initiatives, using wind energy
  • Wind Energy Guide for County Commissioners, U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, DOE/GO-102006-2370, 2006. This project is designed to provide county commissioners, planners, and other local county government officials with a practical overview of information required to successfully implement commercial wind energy projects in their county.
  • Wind Powering America - Wind Powering America is a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Program designed to educate, engage, and enable critical stakeholders to make informed decisions about how wind energy contributes to the U.S. electricity supply

Washington State

Issues Related to Use of Wind Energy Facilities

Habitat Preservation

  • Wind Energy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
  • Wind Power, Energy Development Technical Assistance, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Wind Power Siting, Incentives and Wildlife Guidelines in the United States, Jodi Stempler, Inc, funded by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, October 2007 - The report is intended to provide baseline information about these issues as state and federal natural resource managers assess ways to proactively address concerns about the impacts to wildlife from wind development.

Noise Issues

Information Resources on Land Use Planning and Zoning

Regulations for Wind energy generating facilities are typically included in accessory (for residential use), special, or conditional use provisions.

Wind Energy Organizations

  • American Wind Energy Association - A national trade association representing wind power project developers, equipment suppliers, services providers, parts manufacturers, utilities, researchers, and others involved in the wind industry
  • National Wind Coordinating Collaborative - Provides a neutral forum for a wide range of stakeholders to pursue the shared objective of developing environmentally, economically, and politically sustainable commercial markets for wind power in the United States
  • Windustry - Promotes progressive renewable energy solutions and empowers communities to develop and own wind energy as an environmentally sustainable asset. Through member supported outreach, education and advocacy we work to remove the barriers to broad community ownership of wind energy.

Last Modified: February 08, 2016