BEAVER TWP, MI -- Beaver Township officials are setting the table for a potential wind farm project.
For the past several months, officials from the rural Bay County township have been drafting an ordinance to regulate wind turbines. There have been talks about a proposed DTE wind farm locating in the township, but nothing has been approved at this time.
Beaver Township Supervisor Steve Gray called the proposed ordinance "strong" and said it will protect the township.
"We had no ordinance whatsoever before, which would have allowed them to come in and do whatever they wanted," Gray said.
The ordinance will be voted on by township trustees at a May 14 meeting.
DTE Energy is exploring the possibility of developing a wind farm in Bay County.
There are no wind turbines currently installed in Beaver Township. Gray said DTE is scouting different municipalities for their next wind farm to see which ordinances would best suit their needs.
In the last 16 years, more than 20 wind farms, sometimes called wind parks, have been developed in rural communities in the Thumb and across the state and there are plans to build more.
These utility-scale wind farms are concentrated in the tip of the Thumb in Huron County, plus Tuscola, Sanilac, Saginaw, Bay, Gratiot and Isabella counties. A few more are located on the west side of the state and in the northern Lower and Upper peninsulas.
Last year, voters in some Michigan communities rejected proposals that would have allowed wind farms.
Residents in the past expressed concerns about the effect the turbines will have on property value and wildlife as well as proximity to neighboring property lines and nearby houses, the potential effect on property values, aesthetics, physical safety and potential conflicts of interest by local government officials approving the developments.