Library from Michigan
TAYLOR - Amid a national push to reduce fossil fuel usage, Taylor is poised to join the slowly increasing ranks of Michigan cities gambling on the wind to cut soaring energy costs. The City Council this week signed on to a $100,000 deal to build a pair of 120-foot-tall meteorological towers in Taylor's north and south ends.
DTE Energy Co. announced today that it signed a long-term purchase agreement with Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC, allowing for the construction of a 6,500-acre wind farm in Richland. The 10-year agreement is part of the Detroit-based utility's GreenCurrents program, which allows electric customers to pay a premium for the assurance that their power will come from renewable sources.
Wind turbines for the most part are symbolic gestures that would have us believe we are doing something good for our environment when in reality we are doing very little.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - States should develop creative approaches to climate change, just as they have with challenges such as health care, despite their different economic interests, governors said Saturday. Talks on state-level climate policy were planned for the annual National Governors Association meeting this weekend at a resort on Lake Michigan, where receding water levels have touched off debate over the effects of global warming on the Great Lakes.
"We would like to have more Michigan workers - we want local workers on there," said Jeff Sawyer, business agent for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 of the Saginaw area. Sawyer said approximately six workers from Local 324 are involved with the project. They are mainly crane operators and dozer hands. He said concerning the whole project, he'd like to see at least the number of workers from Michigan increased.
ELKTON - Members of three labor-union locals planned to picket today outside a wind-turbine farm being built in the Thumb. A union official said the purpose of the picket is to draw attention to low-cost labor being used at the Harvest Wind Farm near Elkton, in Huron County. John Deere Wind Energy is the project's developer. ''We are not trying to shut them down,'' said William Borch Jr., president and up-state business agent for Iron Workers Local 25. ''Our main objective is to get John Deere to employ local tradesmen.''
Debate on a controversial wind-energy bill has been stalled as budget talks dominate Lansing's agenda, and the Blackman Township Board came out against the bill Monday night. House Bill 4254, introduced in February, would allow the placement of windmills in any zoning classification as long as they meet certain conditions, including proximity to adjoining property and limits on the amount of noise created. Blackman Township Supervisor Ray Snell said he is opposed to the bill because it would trump local zoning regulations regarding the placement of windmills. "It allows anybody to put up a windmill in a residential district," Snell said. The township board voted unanimously to oppose the bill.
We applaud any effort to offer incentives to increase the use of renewable and alternative energy sources to power Michigan. But we hope the 25-percent goal can be reached by offering incentives, not by issuing mandates. The cheapest source of energy in the United States is coal. For the time being, at least, renewable sources of energy are a more expensive alternative. It would not bode well for economic development in Michigan if the state had astronomical energy costs.
America led the way globally last year in the creation of new wind energy by increasing capacity 27 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In the fast growing and largely unregulated industry, questions have surfaced in several states regarding development practices. Last April, an antitrust complaint was filed by a citizen group from four states against Babcock & Brown and several of its development, financing, management and operational business groups, plus 50 other domestic and international companies. Babcock & Brown is the parent company of Babcock & Brown Renewable Energy Holdings Inc, wind energy developers working locally.
Cleveland Township planners have recommended approval of a long-awaited zoning ordinance amendment outlining requirements for "wind energy systems" in the township. Work on the amendment has been under way since last year. The draft amendment specifies requirements for structures used for anemometers or windmills that generate electrical power for individual residences, businesses or farms. The maximum allowable height for such towers under the proposed zoning ordinance provision is 125 feet. Following a public hearing at their regular monthly meeting June 6, Cleveland planners voted unanimously to send their draft to the Leelanau County Planning Commission for a review prior to sending it to the Cleveland Township Board for consideration of adoption.
A local sand-mining company took the first step toward producing energy from windmills in Muskegon County by winning permission to erect towers on its Lake Michigan dune property that will measure the wind.
After failing in its plans to build 65 upscale homes on land that was once sand-mined, Nugent Sand Co. wants to embark on an experiment involving generation of wind power and is seeking approval tonight. Within the next month, the firm would like to erect two meteorological towers up to 162 feet in height on its property. They would be used only for the next year to test wind speeds and direction.
About 15,000 homes and businesses in Michigan's Thumb will get their electric power from wind energy by next spring, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, utility and business officials announced today. A $90 million joint venture between Wolverine Power and John Deere Wind Energy means 32 wind turbines will be built on a 3,200-acre parcel in Huron County this year and will generate 53 megawatts of electricity by March of 2008. "This wind plant will be the first, we hope, of many," Granholm said. "Investments in the alternative energy industry are key to our economic future." Also today, House Democrats announced a package of bills to encourage investment in various forms of alternative energy
A steady Lake Michigan wind blows through Christmas trees and asparagus on Gerald Greiner's farm. He might as well spit into it. The fourth-generation farmer is among three dozen in western Oceana County who had hoped to start harvesting the wind soon, turning it into a cash crop. They signed leases with a Lowell developer for what would have been Michigan's first energy-creating wind farm, with 90 huge, white turbines - part of a national campaign to fight global warming. "We'd see one just over the top of that hill," said Greiner, 81, pointing out the back window of his ranch home. But some neighbors didn't like the idea, and neither did the local planning commission, which questioned the benefits of wind power and the impact on property values. It's not clear what will happen to the project.
TUSTIN - Everything comes at a price. Nearly 50 township and county officials and landowners gathered in Tustin Wednesday to learn how jurisdictions could evaluate what the trade-offs are in bringing wind energy production to their communities. "Nothing we do for energy comes without a cost," said Mike Klepinger, Land Use Specialist for Michigan State University Extension. "We have to decide what kind of cost we are willing to pay."
O'Shea, along with officials and planners from jurisdictions throughout northern Michigan, took part in a local seminar last week about how local governments can draft zoning ordinances tailored for small and large wind projects. The presentation was organized by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. Michael Klepinger, extension specialist with Michigan State University, said most jurisdictions in Michigan lack zoning ordinances that specifically address wind power.
Officials from Noble Environmental Power, LLC say construction of the Noble Thumb Windpark will not resume this spring as the company originally anticipated in November. "The best case scenario is this fall," said Noble Development Manager Jeanette Hagen. Hagen said the company plans to erect a total of 46 turbines at the Bingham Township location.
The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved plans for $9-million Tierra Place project, 200 South Ashley, in downtown Ann Arbor Monday night.......Wind turbines will also be built on top of the building that will look like smoke stacks to produce energy. A green rook will also be built over approximately half of the roof's surface.
As interest in generating wind energy increases across Michigan, so does the need for local officials to establish policies for windmill siting. In response, the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute and MSU Extension have released a new bulletin on land use guidelines for installing wind energy systems.
With energy prices soaring, some in Sherman Township are looking to the skies for an alternative. Developers have already started the process that could lead to wind farms in the northern Osceola community. But before actions go much further, some are saying the township needs to review its growth plans. "Wind farms are something that most likely are going to be here," said Ron Moesta, Sherman Township Planning and Zoning Commission chair. "If it's inevitable, we have to make sure its not interfering with the master plan."