Wind power in Connecticut

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Wind turbine alongside Pearl Harbor Bridge in New Haven

The U.S. state of Connecticut has vast wind energy resources onshore as well as offshore although Connecticut is the only state in the United States to block the construction of utility scale wind turbines. Connecticut maintains a Renewable portfolio standard that requires 21% of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.[1]


Connecticut remains the only state in the United States to disallow the construction of utility-scale wind turbines. The state's two and a half year old ban on wind power was enacted in 2011, ostensibly to provide time for the Siting Council to enact regulations governing the siting of wind turbines in the state. Those regulations were written in 2012 to address health and safety issues related to wind power, such as maximum noise levels and distances from neighboring properties, but the legislative committee tasked with approving state agency regulations has repeatedly refused to approve the regulations. On November 26, 2013 the Connecticut General Assembly's Regulation Review Committee, for the fourth time since 2012, blocked the Connecticut Siting Council's Regulations that would have ended the state's ban on new wind power projects. The committee, led by co-chairman State Representative Selim Noujaim, forced the Siting Council to withdraw its proposal.[2] This ban stands in stark contrast to Connecticut’s renewable energy laws requiring utilities to purchase 27% clean electricity (23% renewable) by the year 2020.[3]

Concerns about the development of regulations were documented at the CT Siting Council’s public forum on October 13, 2011 and its public hearing on July 24, 2012,[4][5][6]

In its second draft of wind regulations, the CT Siting Council increased the setback distance from 1.1 times to 1.5 times the height of an industrial wind turbine from property lines. Drafts 1, 2 and 3 were each rejected without prejudice by the Regulations Review Committee. The CT Siting Council submitted the third rejected draft again, unchanged, for a vote of the Regulations Review Committee on November 26, 2013. During that meeting, the CT Siting Council decided to withdraw the previously rejected third draft instead of putting it to another vote.[7]

The fourth draft was set for a vote at the April 22, 2014 meeting of the Regulations Review Committee. Changes in this draft include a financial assurance for decommissioning and requiring a 3/4 vote (rather than a simple majority) of the CT Siting Council for it to waive minimum setback distances and maximum shadow flicker on occupied structures. The CT Siting Council did not increase the setback distance.[citation needed]


Connecticut wind resources at 50m

Estimates by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicate that Connecticut has potential to install 26.5 MW, of onshore wind power using 80 meter high wind turbines.[8][9]

Installed capacity[edit]

United States installed wind power capacity animation 561px.gif

Connecticut currently has three large scale wind turbines:

A Northwind 100 located in New Haven at Phoenix Press. The turbine, rated at 100 kW, is highly visible from Interstate 95 on the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge.[10]

The two GE 2.5 megawatt turbines at Colebrook, which went online on October 16, 2015.[11]


Connecticut Wind Colebrook Project[edit]

Wind Colebrook is a permitted wind farm in Colebrook, Connecticut, developed by BNE Energy, with an expected capacity of 9.6 MW using 3 GE 1.6 MW wind turbines at Wind Colebrook North and 3 identical wind turbines at Wind Colebrook South.[12] Wind Colebrook won a legal battle with their opponent, Fair Wind CT, in Connecticut Superior Court in October 2012, as a judge said that the six turbines would not unduly hurt the environment or harm the neighbors. The two rulings this week by Judge Henry Cohn, for two separate proposals of three turbines each, leaves BNE Energy Inc. closer to building the 9.6 MW project in Colebrook. The project is currently halted due to the ban on wind farms in Connecticut[13]

On February 21, 2014 the CT Supreme Court heard oral arguments in FairWindCT’s appeal against the CT Siting Council and BNE Energy for the approvals of Wind Colebrook South and Wind Colebrook North.[14] A decision is expected sometime in 2014.

Wind Colebrook North did not receive the required approval from the U.S. Army Corps.[15] This agency agreed with the CT State Historic Preservation Office that the industrial turbines would have an adverse effect on Rock Hall, an estate designed by Addison Mizner and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[16]

Connecticut Wind Prospect Project[edit]

Wind Prospect is cancelled wind generation project, developed by BNE Energy, with an expected capacity of 3.2 MW utilizing 2 GE 1.6 MW wind turbines in Prospect, Connecticut.[17] The site is high on a ridge adjacent to and overlooking the New Naugatuck Reservoir. The predicted wind speeds and physical characteristics of the site are favorable for wind generation due to its elevation, orientation and topographical characteristics. The site is located within one hundred yards from the electrical grid. Wind Prospect would meet the annual electric power needs of approximately 25% of the Town’s residential electric users on average over the course of the year, and nearly 85% of the Town’s residential electric needs when the turbines are operating at full capacity. Wind Prospect would offset approximately 8 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year relative to conventional electricity generation. That’s equivalent to the estimated annual emissions produced by 1,154 cars or consuming more than 14,046 barrels of oil.[18]

Wind Prospect was denied by the CT Siting Council on May 12, 2011, which found ”the visual effects...are in conflict with the policies of the State concerning such effects and are a sufficient reason to deny the petition.”[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (2019). "Connecticut Renewable Portfolio Standards Overview". State of Connecticut. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "Connecticut Legislature's Regulation Review Committee Extends Wind Power Ban". Environment Connecticut. November 26, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Brad Kane (November 26, 2013). "CT extends wind ban until at least February". Hartford Business Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  4. ^ "Wind Regulations Afternoon Transcript" (PDF). CT Siting Council. July 24, 2012.
  5. ^ "Wind Regulations Evening Transcript" (PDF). CT Siting Council. July 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "CT Siting Council adoption of regulations for the siting of wind projects pursuant to Public Act 11-245". CT Siting Council.
  7. ^ "Regulations Review Committee November 26th Meeting". Connecticut Network. November 26, 2013.
  8. ^ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2010-02-04). "State wind energy potential (2010)". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  9. ^ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2010-02-04). "Connecticut 80-Meter Wind Map and Wind Resource Potential". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  10. ^ Phoenix Press (2013). "Phoenix Press Wind Turbine". Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "CT's first commercial wind farm takes off".
  12. ^ "Wind Colebrook (South and North)". U.S. Department of Energy. July 2, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Dan Haar (October 3, 2012). "Colebrook Wind Farm Opponents Lose, In a Flawed System". Hartford Courant. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  14. ^ "Supreme Court Oral Arguments in FairWindCT Inc., et al. v. CT Siting Council & BNE Energy Inc". Connecticut Network. November 26, 2013.
  15. ^ "Department of the Army Determination Letter" (PDF). Department of the Army. October 26, 2012.
  16. ^ "Proposed Wind Energy Facility Wind Colebrook North" (PDF). Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office. May 19, 2011.
  17. ^ "Connecticut Wind Prospect Project". BNE Energy inc. 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  18. ^ Janice Podsada (May 12, 2011). "Connecticut Siting Council Rejects Prospect Wind Farm". Hartford Courant. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  19. ^ "Petition No. 980 - BNE Energy" (PDF). CT Siting Council. May 16, 2011.

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