Bureaucratic Windblock


Yesterday's Los Angeles Times ran a good story (Free registration required) on how Los Angeles County's regulations make setting up wind-powered turbines for home energy sometimes prohibitively expensive.
Among the places that permit small wind turbines, the county stands out as having some of the toughest rules, despite a 2001 state law to encourage windmills, according to alternative-energy firms.

Los Angeles County calls for special fencing, lights, bonding and studies that can add thousands of dollars and months of delay to the windmill approval process, manufacturers and dealers contend. In Kern County, by comparison, a homeowner needs only engineering plans, a few hundred dollars and a few days to get a wind system permit.

"Los Angeles County is the worst place in the entire country to try to put in a small wind system," said John Supp, sales director for Southwest Windpower of Flagstaff, Ariz., one of the nation's largest manufacturers of small wind turbines. "You have to jump through hoops of fire with a blindfold on and shell out lots and lots of money."