3 Jul 2008

Businesses in CNMI eye wind energy

11:13 am on 3 July 2008

Scores of small businesses in the Commonwealth are eyeing wind energy as a potential solution to cut rising electricity costs.

Zoning officials are poised to present a series of new regulations shortly to assist struggling businesses, as there has been a surge in applications seeking clearance to install wind turbines.

However, local regulations for erecting wind turbines now only address those used to generate power for sale to consumers.

In response, zoning administrator Steve Tilley has drafted a rule he will present to the CNMI Zoning Board on July 10 to regulate the installation of small wind turbines designed to power individual buildings.

It will include equipment standards for the turbines, height limits, noise reduction requirements, rules for where owners can put them up, and safety criteria.

The draft regulation is a major step forward for alternative energy in the CNMI after Governor Benigno Fitial signed legislation last year, granting consumers the power to the install home-based energy systems like solar panels and wind turbines.