County Wind Ordinance Standards

August 11, 2023


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 this legislation 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 legislation:

  • Public Notice
  • Tower Height
  • Setback
  • Noise Level
  • Visual Effects
  • Turbine Approval
  • Tower Drawings
  • Line Drawings
  • Engineering Analysis

Additionally, counties may impose conditions on other factors, which include, but are not limited to, view protection, aesthetics, aviation, and design safety requirements.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: California
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Wind (All)
  • Wind (Small)


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


Name: James Lee
Organization: California Energy Commission
Address: 1516 Ninth Street, MS-45
Sacramento CA 95814-5512
Phone: (916) 653-1195

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.