The city of Brandon, S.D. is keeping homeowner Charlie Cross from erecting a small wind turbine in his backyard, according to an article in the Argus Leader.
The city allows conditional-use permits for wind turbines for industry, but doesn't allow them in residential areas. So, Cross is working with Robert Westall of Cleaner, Greener Energies in Sioux Falls to present a sample small-wind ordinance to Brandon's planning and zoning commission to try to get residents the right to erect turbines at their homes after obtaining a conditional-use permit.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Steve Kolbeck estimates that only a few dozen cities in the state have small-wind ordinances. Hoping to boost that number, the commission last year introduced the Small Renewable Energy Initiative to make it easier for energy consumers to become producers.
Cross already has a 4,200-watt photovoltaic solar system on his roof and a geothermal pump in the basement, and he's begun using natural gas to power appliances. The initial cost of the improvements were pricey, such as his rooftop photovoltaic system, which was about $36,000 minus 30 percent from a federal tax credit. However, he said it pays off in the end.