County Wind Ordinance Standards (California)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Rules Regulations Policies Program

Place California

Name County Wind Ordinance Standards
Incentive Type Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Applicable Sector Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, Local Government, Residential
Eligible Technologies Wind
Active Incentive Yes

Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs

Date added to DSIRE 2009-10-14
Last DSIRE Review 2012-10-01

References DSIRE[1]


Assembly Bill 45 of 2009 authorized counties to adopt ordinances to provide for the installation of small wind systems (50 kW or smaller) outside urbanized areas but within the county's jurisdiction. The bill also addressed specific aspects of a typical wind ordinance and established the limiting factors by which a county's wind ordinance can be no more restrictive. Counties may freely make more lenient ordinances, but AB 45 was designed to establish maximum restrictions a county may impose if they choose to develop a small wind ordinance. These provisions apply only to county ordinances developed after January 1, 2011. Maximum restrictions in the following categories are specifically included in the bill:

  • Tower height
  • Acreage of land parcel
  • Setbacks
  • Public notice
  • Noise level
  • Visual effects
  • Type of turbine used
  • Tower drawings and line drawings
  • Engineering analysis

These standards remain in effect until January 1, 2017. By January 1, 2016 the California Energy Commission (CEC) is required to prepare a report for various committees of the General Assembly detailing the number of local wind ordinances adopted after January 1, 2011; the number of applications to install wind turbines that were received and approved by those counties; and the tower heights, parcel sizes and the generating capacities of the wind turbines. The committees will consider these facts and any recommendations offered by the CEC to determine if these ordinance guidelines should be continued, modified or terminated.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name James Lee
Department California Energy Commission

Address 1516 Ninth Street, MS-45

Place Sacramento, California
Zip/Postal Code 95814-5512
Phone (916) 653-1195
Phone 2 (800) 555-7794


Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: CA Government Code § 65893, et seq.
Date Effective 2010-01-01
Date Enacted 2009-10-11
Expiration Date 2017-01-01

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"