Articles from Michigan
SAGINAW, MI -- In the past decade, rural landscapes in the Thumb and elsewhere in Michigan have been radically altered by the advent of utility-scale wind farms.
A 160-foot (50-meter) wind turbine blade broke in rural mid-Michigan, leaving it dangling above a field. The turbine is one of 75 GE 1.6-megawatt turbines located in Tuscola, Bay and Saginaw counties, Michigan. The project began commercial operation in 2012
Wind turbines dominated discussion during the June 12 meeting of the Hazelton Township board. About a dozen residents attended the meeting – some invited guests with firsthand knowledge of the impact of wind turbines on a community.
Lincoln Township resident Carl Duda, who also sits on the county planning commission offered his own slate of appointees during the first public comment session. He said he was disappointed in the choices of the board because two members of the planning commission have wind contracts: Pat Weber and Ken Weber.
The amendments to the zoning ordinance can be challenged by referendum if enough valid signatures are gathered in opposition of the changes. The township zoning ordinance was also amended to allow for solar energy systems.
The pro-wind farm committees include those opposed to Lincoln Township forming its own planning commission; those opposed to amending Sand Beach Township’s wind ordinance; and those in favor of wind parks proposed by DTE Energy and NextEra Energy Resources LLC. The highest single contribution was to Say Yes to Huron’s Future for $341,000 by Huron Wind LLC – a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra, which had proposed a wind farm for Sherman, Sigel and Sand Beach townships. Total contributions to that committee were $417,000 as of May 22.
The state of Michigan’s renewable energy mandate requires energy providers to supply 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2022. So far, all of Michigan’s providers are on track to meet that goal.
“The concern for Scheurer Hospital is that this is approximately 3,500 feet from our helicopter pad,” Ramsey told the board. “The reason I am here today is, looking for advice, direction or counsel as to ... what our options are.” Pilots from Covenant of Saginaw are also concerned, Ramsey added.
At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour conversation, Glenn said there were two takeaways: conflict of interest at the local level and that the social fabric of Michigan's communities is being destroyed. The point of the meeting was to discuss the future of wind development in the Thumb.
On Monday, the state's largest utility announced it was asking the Michigan Service Commission to approve a green energy tariff to meet the needs of Switch and other companies. The tariff is a package of rates and rules for specific customers. In this case, Switch and about two dozen other big customers eager to buy renewable energy from Consumers.
To be sure, these results haven’t been reported by mainstream media. But then, the fact that rural communities from Maine to California are rejecting Big Wind doesn’t fit the popular media’s narrative that wind energy is “green.”
Across several townships and three counties in Michigan’s “Thumb” region last week, voters rejected plans for specific wind projects and approved zoning changes that restrict future development. Developers there are now regrouping, uncertain of whether they will pursue future projects in the three-county region of Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola.
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.”