Library filed under Impact on Economy from Michigan
A new study from Utah State University found that, as of 2013, Michigan’s renewable energy mandate, enacted in 2008, has cost families and businesses here a bundle: $15.1 billion overall, or $3,830 per family, compared to what we would have experienced without the mandate.
While experts continue to tout wind energy as a diversification target for many West Michigan manufacturers, companies that supply the industry say they’ve faced a period of stagnant demand, especially now that a key federal incentive no longer exists. ...Part of the boom and bust felt by Michigan’s wind energy manufacturers can also be attributed to the state’s inability to attract an original equipment manufacturer like GE Corp. or Vestas Wind Systems to locate a production facility here,
A state audit released today says the Michigan Strategic Fund gave the Legislature inflated job-creation data in April about companies that received millions of dollars in grants through a state program.
County officials on Tuesday pitched a concept of working in concert with wind developers to eliminate uncertainty the Michigan Legislature has created by proposing legislation to eliminate the personal property tax, which is the only tax revenue wind companies pay for wind farms.
Huron County commissioners, earlier this week, discussed concerns the state will eliminate the personal property taxes businesses pay on equipment, which would result in a more than $700,000 loss in revenue for the county.
The first off-shore utility-scale wind farm proposed for this side of Lake Michigan was presented Tuesday night. The massive 100- to 200-turbine project was outlined by a Norwegian wind development company Havgul Clean Energy AS for the waters off northern Oceana and southern Mason counties. ...The more than 150 people at the first public presentation on the project were overwhelmingly opposed to the plan.
In her State of the State speech, Gov. Jennifer Granholm outlined a restructuring of Michigan's energy infrastructure that aims to meet this industrial state's future energy needs with wind power. The plan is radical but hardly new. The governor's policy closely parallels the failed experiment of Denmark -- a similar peninsular water state that has invested billions of dollars in wind generation during the last 25 years. ...it is crucial that the state understand the lessons of Denmark and the very real limitations of wind power.
Connecticut-based project developer Noble Environmental has sold both phases of its 159MW Noble Thumb wind farm to John Deere and has laid off an unspecified number of staff. The move appears to be part of a company effort to raise cash and reduce costs. New Energy Finance could not reach a current spokesperson for comment. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the sale of the Noble Thumb project on October 14, according to a commission document. The two companies first notified FERC of their intentions on August 27.
...to think that wind turbines are going to offer a long-term stimulus for tourism revenue is foolish. These giant wind turbines are a novelty to Michiganders right now. But as time goes by, the novelty will wear off. And as more and more wind turbines are built, there will be more and more people living here and paying the price for this "green" energy. ...and those living in the Thumb with these wind turbines towering over their homes will pay again in loss of property value and quality of life.
Industry analyst Emerging Energy Research projects wind energy generation in the United States to grow nearly five-fold by 2015. But a Bay City company that built thousands of wind-turbine blades found the industry holds perils as well as promise. ...A variety of reasons caused the company to exit the business, President and CEO Robert Monroe said, and it's unlikely to resume making blades. "It was way too much of a boom-bust for us," Monroe recalled. "We were taking on people who had the savvy to make blades, we'd come up to speed and then all of the sudden we were laying people off. So it was very cyclical." ...And even if turbine makers decide to manufacture in Michigan, they may only be active for a limited time, Monroe believes. "So many people want to put up blades, but once Michigan is saturated, those jobs will go away," he said.
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.
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.
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.''
"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.
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.
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.
The number of wind turbines in Michigan will increase more than tenfold this year, to the delight of dozens of farmers in the state's Thumb region.