Wind Energy

New Rules for Wind Energy System Installations as of October 2008

Description Permit Required
1 Tower, < 100 Kilowatts and < 100 Feet Tall
Building Permit
1 Tower, 101-500 Kilowatts
Administrative Permit *
1 Tower, > 500 Kilowatts
Conditional Use Permit **
Any Tower > 100 Feet Tall
Administrative Permit
Multiple Towers, Combined Output < 100 Kilowatts
Administrative Permit
Multiple Towers, with > 100 Kilowatts Output
Conditional Use Permit **
* Allowed in the following zones: Rural, agricultural, rural forestry, commercial forestry, and heavy impact industrial
** Allowed in the following zones: Agricultural, rural forestry, commercial forestry, and heavy impact industrial
General Guidelines for Small Wind Energy Systems
These require regular building permits:
  • Height: Up to 100 feet tall
  • Output: Up to 100 kilowatt rated output
  • Safety: Blade tip must extend no lower than 15 feet from ground; tower cannot be climbable below 10 feet
  • Setbacks: 1.2 times tower height from property line
  • Sound: Audible sound no greater than 55 decibels
Note: Other requirements and restrictions exist. For more information on these new rules, call our Planning Office at 360-676-6907.

Ordinance #2008-043
The full text of Ordinance #2008-043 is available on the Whatcom County Council site.