HURON COUNTY — 2017 may prove to be a turning point for wind energy development in Huron County.
After residents and officials spent several years debating whether or not wind turbines are good for the county, voters turned down additional development in Sherman, Sigel, Sand Beach, Lincoln, Dwight and Bloomfield townships in May.
The referendums for wind energy overlay zones proposed by NextEra Energy Resources and DTE Energy failed in county-zoned municipalities by a 2 to 1 margin.
A majority of the turbines from those two developments would have been in Sherman and Lincoln townships.
Both of those townships voted this year to take zoning back from the county by creating their own planning commissions.
Huron County ended the year with 472 turbines standing, and still has more of the structures than any county in the state.
There are no current wind development proposals in the county, and there is a moratorium on wind development.
It is not clear, however, whether we've seen the end of wind development in county-zoned municipalities.
Officials do not rule out that the state may someday mandate further wind energy production in the county, as Michigan heads for a required 15 percent renewable standard in coming years.