Library from Michigan
A federal judge recently dealt a blow to big wind development in a Tuscola County township. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources sued Almer Township in U.S. District Court in February alleging that the township's Board of Trustees had systematically tried to prevent the development of a wind farm.
This important decision by US District Court Judge Thomas L. Ludington addresses two arguments proffered by the wind industry. The first relates to the industry's argument that noise standards for limiting turbine noise emissions that are based on Lmax are not reasonable. The second discusses the argument that restricitve ordinances, in this case an Lmax noise limit, are de facto exclusionay zoning. Judge Ludington takes both claims on and finds the wind company's arguments are without merit. A portion of the decision is provided below. The full decision can be downloaded from this page.
It could be the calm before the storm. News that property owners in Burlington and North Branch townships have signed easement agreements for wind energy development, recent developments have prompted Arcadia Township officials to begin considering a wind turbine ordinance of their own.
A costly legal war over wind turbines in northern Lapeer County is such a sure bet that an insurance agent told the Burnside Township Board of Trustees Monday he won’t run the risk of writing an insurance policy for the municipality. ...“Now I know why I’m here,” Lansky told the board, later adding “you guys are getting in deeper and deeper water, and I don’t know if you can bail yourselves out regardless of the decisions that you make.”
DTE Energy on Tuesday announced plans for a dramatic transformation of its power generation. $15B proposal would dramatically increase use of natural gas, wind power
The plans for wind turbines in Northeast Lapeer County are moving forward. Whether it was to simply learn or to express their opposition, a number of concerned residents came out to Monday evening's Burnside Township Board Meeting.
“The residents of Lapeer County and the state of Michigan are strapped with an agreement that was made between our former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Detroit Edison (DTE), and Consumers Power following a statewide vote of the people to allow for 10 percent of all energy produced in the state of Michigan to be generated to be generated with a renewable energy,” Roy said in his statement. “Unfortunately, people did not realize that even though we have enough energy it would have to be reduced to allow for the renewable 10 percent solar and wind.”
Since April, DTE Electric Company has recorded easements on 276 parcels of agricultural property in Branch County for the purpose of evaluation for wind farm developments. Atwell Engineering, as agents for DTE, has negotiated and recorded documents from 59 property owners mostly in Union, Sherwood and Matteson Townships.
Editor's note: Windaction has been informed by parties in Michigan that this mediation step was ordered and completed more than a month before this article was filed by the Associated Press. No agreement was reached in mediation. Almer Township contends that a permit was denied due to NextEra's failure to meet the requirements in law. A hearing before the court was held in September and the parties are awaiting a final decision by the judge.
NORTH BRANCH TWP. — North Branch Township resident Traci Martin did not expect to spend last week doing things like securing folding chairs and tables, finding a microphone and podium, and figuring out how she might feed as many as 500 people.
Some members of the Huron County Planning Commission are disappointed in a recent wind energy zoning report from Michigan State University Extension. ...Planner Ken Walker called the report "very one-sided." "This is not independent," he said. "To me, it's useless."
DTE Energy's Sigel wind energy facility experienced another blade failure. Other blades have failed in recent years at the same project. The Sigel project is comprised of 40 GE 1.6-100 towers and was placed in service in October 2012.
Another blade break in Michigan.
Although a wind turbine manufacturer has denied the Huron County Planning Commission's request for access to a safety manual, some planners still want specific information contained in the manual. Residents and planning officials are concerned that turbine manufacturer Vestas and Sempra Renewables, owner of the Apple Blossom wind park, are trying to hide something by not making the manual accessible.
Adam Greene, site supervisor for Deerfield, suggested that the Tribune reach out to Vestas. "I have no idea what's going on at this time," he said. ...Two blades in separate turbines similarly broke last October.
Another turbine failure has been reported at Michigan's Deerfield wind facility in Huron County. The Deerfield project includes a mix of Vestas V110 2MW and 2.2MW machines for a total installed capacity of 150 MW. Two blades on separate turbines broke in half in late 2016 when the project was in the process of being commissioned. There was “an anomaly in the manufacturing process that resulted in a cavity in the blade shell support structure where the blades broke,” Vestas told reNEWS. Fifty blades in the 72-turbine facility shared the same flaw. No information is available on the cause of this recent failure.
UPPER THUMB — Local counties, municipalities and school districts will be able to hold on to disputed wind turbine tax revenue following recent action by NextEra Energy Resources.
The three-member Michigan Public Service Commission unanimously issued a rule on a section of the state's new energy law that sets the phased-in requirement for alternative energy suppliers, who serve customers who buy power from a company other than the state's large electric utilities. Those customers include 200 school districts and thousands of businesses, which typically get cheaper rates in the program.
NEW HAVEN TWP. – On Monday, Sept. 11, New Haven Township hosted a presentation about wind energy by Kevon Martis of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, Inc. The Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to raising public awareness of the potential impacts from the construction of industrial wind turbines in the region. Martis is a volunteer, not a lobbyist.
Gearboxes had to be replaced because they were made of “not the best metal from overseas,” Buda said. Specifically, the metal came from China. The gearboxes were designed by General Electric, with some produced in the United States, and some produced in China, said Austin Osentoski, wind technician for DTE, who was also at the meeting.