Library from Michigan
HURON COUNTY — Huron County voters said “no” to more wind development Tuesday.
Governor Snyder’s new 15% Renewable Energy Mandate gets frosty reception in Michigan’s wind capitol: Huron County
The world’s biggest wind-turbine company has filed lawsuits against five rural governments because they stand between it and millions in tax subsidies.
When will it end? In doing some checking, I found my property tax has almost doubled in 10 years. We all know the national debt has doubled in eight years. When my license for the car came, the cost had gone from $120 to $193. Has your income kept up with this kind of increase? I know mine has not.
BAD AXE — It is no surprise that both sides of the community have been vocal when expressing their opinion of the ongoing wind turbine development, but with less than a week until the May 2 referendum elections, the heat has been turned up a notch.
“NextEra may produce wind energy, but its real business is subsidy mining,” said Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an expert on the energy sector. “Renewables need subsidies because they aren’t economic in the free market. By subsidizing renewables, the wholesale power markets across the country are getting more and more distorted."
“If they do vote yes, and allow us to continue the development that’s been approved by the (Huron County Board of Commissioners), this is the last wind farm that DTE Energy will seek approval for and development here in the county,” said Trevor F. Lauer, president and chief operating officer of DTE Electric.
Denise Rice is the treasurer of Huron County Wind Resistance, which is raising money for awareness of its core issue: “Enough is enough,” Rice said of the 473 turbines throughout the county. “You can argue all kinds of points, but that sums it up.”
The suit seeks to restrain Talaski and Zbytowski actions as planning commission members until the court takes action. Visiting Circuit Judge Kenneth Schmidt decided Talaski and Zbytowski could remain on the board with stipulation of a moratorium that no decision on wind energy development be made until Tuscola County Circuit Judge Amy Grace Gierhart can preside.
Last December, one of the turbines at the Stoney Corners wind facility burst into flames and was completely destroyed. Black smoke darkened the sky and heavy winds spread ash and burning particles on fields and properties nearby. For days the acrid odor of smoldering composites lingered in the air and seeped into my home along with several other homes in the area of the fire.
A report released by a commission created and appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed the state take steps to get 30 percent of its electric energy by 2025 through renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy. ...But the recommendation flies in the face of Michigan voters, who soundly rejected a 2012 ballot initiative that would have required 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewables.
The suit essentially claims a systematic effort has been underway to “kill” the planned Tuscola III project, starting with the formation of the Ellington-Almer Township Concerned Citizens (EATCC) group, continuing with the election of several group members last November, and culminating with a one-year moratorium on wind projects and denial of special-land use permit (SLUP) by the board in January. An answer hasn’t been filed to the complaint as of press time.
For a number of years, five of nine Huron County planning commissioners had wind contracts, said Robert McLean, vice chair of the Paris Township Planning Commission. He was a member of the former Huron County Wind Energy Zoning Committee, and is running for a seat on the county planning commission. “The fox was guarding the hen house way back when,” McLean told the Tribune recently.
Monday, the Township Board approved an ordinance that imposes a year-long moratorium on wind energy conversion systems, giving township officials time to review, adopt and amend local rules relating to wind farms. ...Apex Clean Energy representatives previously said the firm hopes to install 36 to 60 up-to-600-foot turbines across 16,000 rural acres in Shiawassee County.
Almer Township and its Board of Trustees face a federal lawsuit by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC over a proposed wind energy development. Tuscola Wind III LLC is seeking a court order to compel the township, located north of Caro, to allow development of a wind farm to proceed.
The suit essentially claims a systematic effort has been underway to “kill” the planned Tuscola III project, starting with the formation of the Ellington-Almer Township Concerned Citizens (EATCC) group, continuing with the election of several group members last November, and culminating with a one-year moratorium on wind projects and denial of special-land use permit (SLUP) by the board in January.
Contention over wind development started in 2011 when the Michigan Tax Commission (STC) arbitrarily changed the taxing methodology and depreciation on wind turbines. The change lowered taxable values on turbines along with a faster depreciation rate.
UPPER THUMB — Under a voluntary program by DTE Energy, customers can “reduce their carbon footprint” by contributing to the company’s green energy costs.
In the past two months, two rural Michigan counties have adopted one-year moratoriums on wind development, though they appear to be in vastly different positions when it comes to regulatory experience.