Library from Michigan

Blowing in the wind? Our energy independence hinges on renewable resources

Besides the environmental advantages of an RPS, many states are finding an economic incentive. Texas has huge potential for wind energy and business interests there are pushing for it, but other states find the turbines unsightly. ...expensive and disputes the job-creation assertion. "Proponents of wind energy claim that mandating renewable energy will lead to job creation," Doug Roberts, Jr., the chamber's director of environmental and energy policy, told members of the House Committee on Energy and Technology. "However, proponents usually can't back up these claims with facts. "For a quick comparison, for under half the cost of a 10 percent renewable mandate, Michigan could build a new nuclear plant (cost $2 billion to $3 billion)," Roberts added. "A new nuclear plant would provide 1,200 megawatts of reliable energy and would create 1,800 temporary construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs.
30 Dec 2007

County to fund wind study

Wind testing is to begin soon in the south of Lenawee County, thanks to a $20,000 contribution approved Friday by Lenawee County commissioners. A motion to spend the money for wind power testing passed by an 8-0 vote after more than an hour of discussion with alternative energy consultant David Munson and members of the county's agricultural advisory committee. The committee asked for $20,000 from the county treasury to pay for setting up a single tower to monitor wind for one year. Private investors are to come up with money to establish a second test site approximately three months later. ...Having the county government involved in collecting data for a feasibility study will help allow a local, private enterprise to organize and develop a project, Munson said, similar to the ethanol plant in Blissfield that grew from a county government study. "We're trying to make sure the first wind power project is open to public investment," Munson said.
21 Dec 2007

Ousted chairman says stock issue was to pay for wind-power work

The former chairman of alternative energy company McKenzie Bay International Ltd. claims the alleged unauthorized stock transfer that precipitated his resignation this month was to pay a contractor. Gary Westerholm, 63, of Brighton, was replaced as chairman and resigned his board seat following a discussion with other McKenzie Bay board members regarding a stock issue of 30 million shares. ...The board alleges Westerholm obtained the shares of stock from a company transfer agent by claiming he had board authorization to issue shares, when he did not. But Westerholm said Friday he secured 28 million shares to pay Brighton-based MTI Energy Management Inc. on a contract involving a wind turbine project in Ishpeming.
21 Dec 2007

Wind farmer looking to harvest a windfall

Michigan’s first commercial wind farm –a collection of 32 towering turbines that conjure visions of H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”—is scheduled to begin operating in a few weeks, spurring for some a near-gold rush mentality in this sparsely populated area. Thousands of dollars in a guaranteed annual harvest comes with each windmill placed on a farmer’s land, and that lure has gone a long way toward interrupting the horizontal sameness of vast corn and bean fields. “I can’t wait ‘til they get going,” said Bob Webber, who turned over easement rights to a portion of his property in Huron County for a proposed second wind farm, with 42 turbines. ...The support, however, is not unanimous. In the northernmost part of the county, along the shoreline of Lake Huron, critics have raised objections about the windmill’s potential impact on birds and property values. This is a lake resort area, popular in the summertime. It’s an eagle nesting site and part of the migratory path of thousands of tundra swans. “Our township is unique because it is resort and agricultural,” said Louis Colletta, the planning commission chairman for Lake Township. The township last month rejected DTE’s request to set up testing towers to measure the speed and consistency of the wind.
10 Dec 2007

Company taking steps to double renewable energy generation

Consumers Energy plans to develop as many as eight windmill farms in Michigan, officials say. The move is part of the utility's Balanced Energy Initiative, which aims in part to double the amount of renewable energy the company generates from 5 percent to 10 percent by 2015. ...''We need to add 3 million megawatt hours per year ... to go to 10 percent by 2015,'' Rasher said. For the wind farms, Consumers is looking at installing large turbines that generate up to 2.5 megawatts each. Each wind development will generate up to 100 megawatts. But Rasher said the wind farms can only be expected to generate power about 25 percent of the time. That's why Consumers also is planning to build an 800-megawatt coal-fired plant at its Karn-Weadock complex in Bay County's Hampton Township. ''We need some other resource that's dispatchable,'' Rasher said. ''You can't put all your eggs in one basket.''
29 Nov 2007

Bill aims to energize wind development; Plan would insist state pursue alternative power

Officials hope a bill proposing 10% of Michigan's energy be from non-renewable resources by 2015 can help stimulate wind development in Michigan's Thumb region. ...Anna Giovinello, vice president of Noble Environmental Power, said failure to pass the 10% benchmark would not affect the company's Thumb project, but it could have "a chilling effect" on future wind development in the Thumb. "These decisions are made by investors who have to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to build turbines," she said. "It just doesn't make sense to investors to commit that kind of money to a state that doesn't support their projects."
19 Nov 2007

Elmwood substation plan brings threat

Neighbors of a proposed electrical substation are threatening the Elmwood Township trustee who plans to sell 10 acres to Wolverine Power Cooperative adjacent to a large windmill north of M-72. ...In an anonymous letter addressed "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lautner," the Lautners were told by "concerned neighbors" that "our goal is to hold you personally and financially responsible for our hardship and we will pursue this relentlessly. We will expose this to the media, newspapers, television, etc." A story on the substation appeared in the Wednesday edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle. The "neighbors" wrote that the substation would lower adjoining property values. "This scar is the legacy Terry and Kathy Lautner will leave their family," it continued. Concerns were also raised during public comment at the monthly meeting.
18 Nov 2007

Lot of wind in Granholm's energy plan

Jennifer Granholm ought to know better. ...she should understand the folly of forcing technologically impossible demands on an industry. But there she was last week, pitching a proposal that Michigan utilities get 25 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2025. ...Even if it were technologically and economically feasible to replace 25 percent of Michigan's energy with wind power, it's not politically possible. Replacing just one 1,000-megawatt coal plant would require 1,500 windmills. Meeting 25 percent of the state's estimated 2025 electricity demand would take 6,800 windmills, built at a cost of $30 billion. And each one would need 100 acres, so that's 680,000 acres of prime lakeshore land covered with giant turbines. It's not going to happen.
18 Nov 2007

WINDS OF CHANGE: Thumb township fights spread of energy turbines

This small Saginaw Bay community describes itself as "the hidden treasure of the Thumb" for its sandy beaches, pristine woods and tranquil inland lake. And many here want to keep it that way. But there's a looming specter that some believe threatens to mar the rural landscape: wind turbines, the windmill-like structures that can tower to heights of 400 feet and use wind to generate electricity. Officials here are considering banning turbines within township boundaries, saying they disrupt the idyllic countryside and put wildlife at risk.
15 Nov 2007

Thumb-area township may halt windmill development over concerns for migratory birds

A wave of wind development blowing across Michigan's Thumb may be halted by tundra swans and other wildlife. DTE Energy has signed up 25,000 acres of farmland for as many as 250 windmills across the Thumb. But plans for up to 43 windmills on 4,300 acres in Lake Township have some residents and bird experts crying fowl - as in waterfowl. They believe erecting windmills in the township will result in bird kills and injuries, from birds being chopped up or injured by windmill blades.
2 Nov 2007

DTE tower variance is denied

After a lengthy debate, the Lake Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday denied a variance request submitted by DTE Energy to install a 197 foot meteorological tower on vacant property on the south side of Etzler Road just over a quarter mile west of State Park Road in Caseville. DTE officials at Tuesday evening's meeting said they will have to wait and see what the company's next move may be. ...The variance requested was to allow a meteorological tower with a height of 197 feet to be installed in Lake Township. DTE needed the variance because Lake Township's ordinance does not allow special structures (such as chimneys or smoke stacks, radio or television transmitting towers or antennas, wireless communication towers, microwave, relay towers or power generation towers) to exceed 175 feet in the agricultural district.
24 Oct 2007

Public safety, community benefits some of the questions asked about wind farms

Schmidt's Sherman Township neighborhood is targeted by two developers for the setting of wind turbines. "This is going to make a dramatic difference to the personality of the neighborhood," he told a group of citizens gathered at Tustin Community Center Oct. 4 for a public discussion on the planned wind farms. Proposals by Heritage Sustainable Energy, LLC and Babcock & Brown Renewable Energy Holdings, Inc. call for the installation of dozens of 2.5 megawatt turbines across Osceola, Wexford and Missaukee counties. Turbine towers plus blades will each exceed 400 feet. "We're zoned residential and agriculture," Schmidt said. "This is industrial. These are big, bad boys."
16 Oct 2007

Public forum to dig deep into wind energy issues

With the area's first commercial wind turbine scheduled for installation in November, some people are beginning to worry about the potential impact of the development to their property and neighborhoods. ... One goal of the meeting is to unite and empower people in the ordinance development process. With no state or federal guidelines regulating wind farms, local government units must create their own ordinances.
3 Oct 2007

DTE deal paves way for 6,500-acre wind farm

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.
16 Aug 2007

Governors address climate change

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.
23 Jul 2007

Union workers to protest at wind farm site

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.''
13 Jul 2007

Wind farm jobs a hot topic in community

"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.
13 Jul 2007
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