EAGLE HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Miscommunications may have helped to widen a potentially irreparable rift this week between Keweenaw County officials and Lowell, Mich.-based Mackinaw Power, LLC.
The county has been in contract negotiations with the power company regarding possible wind turbine use on the north face of Mt. Horace Greeley in Eagle Harbor Township.
The Madison Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to impose a six-month moratorium on the construction of any wind turbines in the township.
The movie (WINDFALL), which presents no views or facts either supporting or contradicting the claims made by the worried residents it interviews, clearly influenced the opinions of many in attendance, including Beulah resident Alice Mummey. Ms. Mummey says she is sympathetic to environmental causes ...But she said the movie gave her pause when it comes to building a wind farm in her own county.
The board approved the resolution, 4-3, with commissioners Richard Schmidt, Ervin Kowalski, Glenn Lottie and Carl Rutske voting yes and Jim Krolczyk, Duane Anderson and Ken Hilliard voting no.
Kaminiski said the county board does not control zoning in Manistee County, and it is instead ruled by the individual township governments.
Lots of questions, but not all of the answers were presented as supporters and opponents filled the Shelby High School Auditorium Monday night to learn more about a proposed 1,000 megawatt wind farm in Lake Michigan. ...Developers didn't have answers to many of the questions presented, saying that information will become available as more studies and research are completed.
Consumer's Energy hopes to build a wind farm just south of the Mason County Airport, made up of 56 turbines.
Nearly 75% of them exceed the height requirements because they are so close to the airport.
Mason County commissioners will continue to research the controversial proposal that would result in large wind turbines in Lake Michigan.
The commissioners at a meeting Tuesday, directed county board Chairman Michael Schneider to establish a committee to look into the issue.
The Mason County Board of Commissioners has overwhelmingly rejected the idea of putting up to 100 wind turbines off its shores in Lake Michigan.
The county board Tuesday voted 9-1 against a resolution from Scandia Wind Offshore asking the community to accept the view of the turbines 4 miles off the coast at the Mason-Oceana county line near Pentwater.
The Mason County Board of Commissioners concluded Tuesday that a decision on a proposed offshore wind farm in Lake Michigan should be made after a joint meeting with the Oceana County Board.
Chairman Michael Schneider reminded fellow board members that this is the first written and signed proposal they've had from Minnesota-based Scandia Wind LLC and Havgul Clean Energy AS of Norway.
A wind farm 4 miles offshore from Pentwater would threaten the tourism industry and erode the lakeshore tax base, an opposition group told the Mason County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioners are being asked to give the go-ahead to Scandia Wind Offshore to begin extensive studies for an 1,100 mega watt West Michigan wind development, including 50-100 large turbines in Lake Michigan along Mason and Oceana counties.
But opponents - many of them landowners in the two townships not compensated by the Consumers land leases - chastised planning commissioners for making a decision to satisfy the public utility. One critic said Lake Winds in the two southern townships will "drastically alter the future of Mason County."
Oceana County still has a vote, but as far as Mason County commissioners are concerned, Scandia Wind's proposal for 50 to 100 wind turbines in Lake Michigan is a dead issue. ...The developer actually withdrew its proposal - submitting a letter just prior to the meeting. It stated the representatives recognized "a resolution of this nature is premature" as the state works on its permit process.
The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs will continue to suffer harm, including physical injury, emotional distress and loss of property value if they continue to be exposed to the wind farm's operation.
The $250 million Lake Winds Energy Park development generates 100.8 megawatts of electricity. Its Vestas turbines are 312 feet high at the hub, with rotor blades having a 328-foot diameter.
The Wiltzer family claims to have suffered from numerous issues as a result of the wind turbine's construction, including sleep disturbance, dizziness, stress, fatigue, weight loss, headaches, motion disturbance, and so on.
According to the suit, the members of the family live in a cottage in order to avoid the health effects of living near the wind turbine.
Construction crews will have to assess the damage to a wind turbine that caught fire in Missaukee County.
Planning commissioners questioned whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will hold fast to its recommendation that wind developments not be constructed within 3 miles of the shoreline.
Wagner said the USFWS thinks 3 miles is a good standard, but it's willing to accept a location closer to the shoreline if data proves it won't cause harm.
Township Clerk Stephanie VanSickle said that township officials will not have to have any direct votes on the wind farm project. However, the township will make modifications to its zoning ordinance to take care of land use issues created by the large turbine towers.
VanSickle said that township officials have not received much negative reaction to the wind project since it publicly surfaced last month.
"The debate had been going on for a long time and a decision had to be made," said Dave Schabel, Merritt Township supervisor. "I think the commission made the best decision that they could."
Mary Wells, spokesperson for NexEra, said that officials were surprised and very disappointed by the decision.
"This was the toughest decision they had to make, and hopefully there won't be anymore like this," Schabel said. "It's heavy pressure, does everyone agree with it, no, but they did the best they could." ..."They studied it thoroughy," said John McQuillan, Merritt Township attorney. "That's why the Planning Commission is appointed to make this decision."
Lawmakers may be close to finishing up a state energy plan, but that's not stopping critics from going after details of a requirement in the bills to use more renewable energy.
Although making Michigan less reliant on traditional sources of electricity is seen as a laudable goal, the timeline and price tag of the new renewable requirements are causing disagreements.
Critics say the bipartisan plan being negotiated is "unforgivably expensive." They say they wonder why customers would be charged more up front before seeing extra green power. ..."Too little information on the cost of these bills is being made available to lawmakers," he said.