Articles from Michigan
Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a wind energy tax credit that Midland Republican Rep. John Moolenaar proposed. Moolenaar said Friday he hopes state lawmakers and the governor will agree to encourage "renewable energy." He thinks the veto was "more symbolic than anything else," he said. Granholm's veto letter said the state "continues to face enormous fiscal challenges" and should be on solid fiscal footing before offering tax incentives. On Thursday she also vetoed a bill that would have provided a tax incentive to people who donate to umbilical cord stem cell banks and other unrelated tax incentive bills. Another veto killed a bill to give incentives that supporters said were meant to preserve farmland in Michigan.
Michigan is exploring ways to grow its alternative energy industry and provide a boost to economic development, but coal-fired power plants are expected to produce most of the state's electricity through at least 2030. The rest of Michigan's electrical power comes mostly from nuclear power plants or natural gas- or oil-fired power plants. A very small percentage of the state's power comes from wind turbines and other renewable resources.
The state Legislature wrapped up its 2005-06 session Thursday and early Friday by sending dozens of bills to Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Among them: WIND POWER: A bill that would offer a tax credit for harnessing wind energy overwhelmingly passed the House and is headed to Granholm’s desk. The legislation would provide a tax credit of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy generated for a taxpayer who owns a windmill or wind turbine, with no taxpayer receiving a credit of more than $750,000 per year.
If Moolenaar’s House Bill 4647 becomes law, a taxpayer owning a small wind turbine in Michigan to generate energy could claim a tax credit of 1.5 cents a kilowatt hour generated in a tax year.
Michigan’s 21st Century Energy Plan is to be released by the end of the year, and utilities and environmentalists are weighing in on what the program should contain. State regulators are considering whether a certain percentage of Michigan’s electricity must come from renewable fuel sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have targets, with dates, for renewable energy sources, ranging from 1% to 25% of total power. For example, Illinois recently adopted a voluntary standard of 25% of energy from renewables by 2017. Michigan utilities currently generate less than 8% of their electricity from renewable sources.
DTE Energy says it didn't find out that three 80-foot-tall windmills were being installed at a Thumb elementary school until after they were already up and running. The claim is part of a report filed with the state this week about the process of interconnecting three 65-kilowatt windmills at Laker Elementary School near Pigeon to the electrical grid. The report was required as part of a state investigation spurred by concerns over a DTE-ordered shutdown of the windmills on Sept. 20. In its report, the utility lays blame on the project developer, who the company says didn't file the proper interconnection applications on time.
Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday adopting a county-wide ordinance regarding on-site wind turbines. The move actually revised the Huron County Zoning Ordinance by adding language that clarified the use of “overlay” zoning techniques on land in the Agricultural District and providing standards for on-site wind energy systems (wind turbine towers) and related wind assessment devises. The amendment allows for on-site turbines — that are not for commercial purposes — and would not require a special use permit, said Russell R. Lundberg, director of building and zoning.
OLIVER TOWNSHIP — The township planning commission Thursday voted to approve a special use permit for a utility grid wind energy system in its agricultural preservation zoning district. Brian Crawford of RMT, Inc. of Grand Rapids spoke on behalf of Michigan Wind LLC during the planning commission’s public hearing regarding the development of a project which may lead to the installation of 27 wind turbines in Oliver Township. Michigan Wind also has developed a project which may lead to the installation of five turbines in neighboring Chandler Township. “The area is a prime (location) for wind energy development,” Crawford said. “This (Huron County) is one of the better areas in the state for hosting wind energy.”
BINGHAM TOWNSHIP — Noble Environmental Power doesn’t plan to get its windpark off the ground any time soon, but when it does, the company plans to erect the entire 32 turbines originally slated to be installed. “We’re actually hoping to go forward in the spring with the original 32 instead of the seven, and we’re hoping to move forward with the full park and get back on track with our original plans,” said Noble Development Manager Jeanette Hagen. “We’re basically just ironing out all the red tape with the transmission. Otherwise, we’re ready to rock and roll.”
Construction of the county’s second planned Wind Energy System may begin in coming months. RMT, Inc. of Grand Rapids currently is developing a project which may lead to the installation of 32 turbines in Oliver and Chandler townships. Construction of the turbines will not begin until the company receives the go ahead from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) to connect to the national grid system and from township, county and state officials. MISO studies the electrical system’s carrying capacity, so as not to overload the system which causes blackouts. The company has to go through a series of steps at the township, county and state level before proceeding with the project.
Spurred by idled windmills at Laker Elementary School near Pigeon, the Michigan Public Service Commission has launched a statewide investigation into the interconnection of independent power projects with electric utilities.
PIGEON -- DTE Energy has unveiled two solutions for turning windmills back on at Laker Elementary School, but neither option will work, school officials say.
DTE Energy unveiled two ‘’solutions'’ Friday for turning windmills back on at Laker Elementary School, but neither option will work, school officials say. Laker leaders say DTE officials don’t seem to understand how windmills work and the coal-burning utility continues to drag its feet on the project. A DTE engineer is supposed to be back at the school on Monday to study the turbines.
To answer the question of what’s blowin’ in the wind, Michigan State University Extension is hosting an informational meeting on the economics and future of wind power. “As wind energy becomes more prevalent Michigan and people learn more about the opportunities, it’s good the have a seminar presenting unbiased information,” said Lynn Hamilton, professor of agriculture economics and wind project coordinator at Michigan State University.
Wind power may be the next thing in Lenawee County’s alternative energy industry. An agriculture advisory committee that was involved in starting an ethanol plant near Blissfield and bringing a biodiesel plant to Adrian is taking a serious look at a wind turbine project to generate electricity in Lenawee County. A two-hour presentation on the nuts and bolts of wind power was given to the committee last week.
“It is extremely complex to connect large wind generators to the electric grid and we needed to ensure that the right protective equipment is in place to ensure the safety of the children at the school, as well as the reliability of the electrical system,” Dow added.
The recent shutdown of three windmills at an elementary school in Michigan’s Thumb has put state regulators on the hot seat. Putting heat on the Michigan Public Service Commission in Lansing will hopefully help get three windmills at Laker Elementary School near Pigeon turned back on, and make it easier for future wind developers to locate here, said State Sen. Jim Barcia, D-Bay City. Barcia said he plans to send a letter, likely today, ‘’requesting that the PSC play a stronger leadership role'’ in resolving the Laker school issue without putting an undue financial hardship on the school. Two weeks ago, the school windmills were shut down by a contractor after DTE Energy raised safety and reliability concerns about the turbines, including whether the electrical grid can handle additional generation and whether line workers could be injured by power from the turbines during an outage.
While it’s still uncertain when the turbine blades will start spinning again at Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Elementary, there has been some positive movement on the issue regarding DTE Energy requirements that led to the turbines being turned off last week.
The wind has been taken right out of a second wind energy project in the Thumb Area. Last month, Michigan’s first wind farm near Ubly was put on hold until next year. Now a smaller wind energy project in the Laker School District near Pigeon has been shut down by DTE Energy. The utility company says safety is the reason, but others disagree.
PIGEON - Three windmills erected at a Thumb elementary school have been shut down, and supporters says it’s because DTE Energy doesn’t want to see wind power succeed here. A DTE spokesman says the utility supports renewable energy, but there were ‘’safety and reliability'’ concerns about allowing the school windmills to continue supplying power to the electrical grid. It’s the second time this year that people in the Thumb have blamed DTE for delays to wind power projects.