By KYLE HENCE/ecoRI News staff
The broad area in red is where turbines of any size or type would be prohibited by the proposed Newport Planning Board ordinance. The proposed wind turbine ban would extend across 80 percent of the city, as reflected in the broad swath of red. NEWPORT — Less than a week after the Department of the Interior opened the Rhode Island coast to offshore wind energy development, local officials held a public workshop on a smaller-scale wind energy ordinance the city’s own Energy & Environment Commission found highly restrictive. The proposed ordinance would implement an outright ban on turbines, regardless of design or size, across about 80 percent of the city.
Drafted by the Planning Board during the past year, the ordinance details requirements for property owners planning installation of small-scale wind turbines that cover height, decibel limits and safety. Board Chairman James Dring and Planning & Development staffer Andrew DeIonno, who joined City Council members and other local officials around a table in council chambers at City Hall on Dec. 5, prepared the ordinance.
Rhode Island as a whole has staked a national leadership position with its Ocean SAMP to carefully develop commercial offshore wind energy potential off the mainland and Block Island. However, the city and town council members on Aquidneck Island have yet to follow suit with a more distributed approach available through the use of much smaller commercial- and residential-scale wind turbines.