Articles from Michigan
While the coronavirus recession has sapped demand for energy and put fracking companies on the ropes – with hundreds of bankruptcies declared so far – the renewables that would replace oil and coal are facing a growing challenge that will last long after the pandemic: The resistance of rural communities to mammoth solar or wind farms that can power cities. From New York to California, local opposition is thwarting wind and solar projects seen as essential to transitioning from fossil fuels. Many opponents support renewable energy in theory and express concern about climate change. And many landowners have partnered with environmental groups to block or delay natural gas pipelines designed to run through their property.
ROGERS CITY — The Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating whether proposed wind turbines in Moltke Township would obstruct air traffic at the Rogers City Airport.
DTE filed written objections that the 328-foot height limit as measured from the tip of the vertical blade prevents the turbine from reaching wind resources. It said 500 feet is more typical in the state. The written presentation ...also claimed the regulations for setbacks made it impossible to site any wind turbines on the almost half of the township under a lease.
A Michigan database of all solar and wind ordinances in the state aims to help local officials research what regulations may work in their communities.
After over two years of meetings and discussion, the Matteson Township Board on Wednesday night dealt a potential blow to DTE Energy’s plan to install wind turbines in the township.
The ordinance requires a setback of 1.25 miles from the property line of a non-leased parcel, which among other setbacks DTE finds excessive. “We are confident the cumulative effect of these setbacks will not leave any land availible for potential wind turbine siting,” he wrote.
Expanded renewable energy law, long-term utility planning or targets set by the governor are all on the table.
Harris added that Ranger started developing solar projects in Michigan in 2017. The state’s newly raised 15 percent renewable energy standard, relatively high cost of electricity and a series of coal plant retirements all “drove our interest in Michigan.” “We’re finding even more interest from utilities in purchasing solar energy than we originally expected,” he said.
“People were mostly concerned with safety, the fact that (the turbines) are so close to people’s homes and property. People were concerned about the noise, concerned about the shadow flicker,” Sower said. Sower says there was a turbine slated to go up within 800 feet of his home.
A week from today, the Sherwood Township Wind Energy zoning ordinance will go into effect requiring a special use permit to erect wind turbines in the township. The amendment was approved last Thursday in a special township meeting by Treasurer Dale Marie Brubaker and Trustees Marjorie Whitcomb and Fred Haack.
Two years after it started work, Sherwood Township has a wind turbine control ordinance. It passed 3-0 in a special meeting Thursday and will take place seven days after publication in the newspaper.
Concerned Citizens posted on their Facebook page that the ordinance establishes the maximum height of an industrial turbine at 330 feet. It also requires a setback from a non-participating parcel be 500 percent of the height of the tower and the required setback from a body of water is half a mile.
“Our responsibility here is to carry out the law, which we did, and to support the law, which I’m here to do,” Campbell said. “No amount of money is going to cause me to alter my decision to comply with this law.” Campbell then pointed to the card in front of him, containing his name and identifying him as an AZBA member. “If you look at this card here, my name is Bill, not Judas,” he said. “And 30 pieces of silver will not buy my reputation and my character.”
After 14 meetings over 23 months, Sherwood Township residents will have to wait until Dec. 5 for the township board to vote on a proposed wind turbine control ordinance. The ordinance would set height limits of 330 feet for turbines, set noise levels, establish blade flicker and set minimum setbacks from property line and residences.
A zoning ordinance that would restrict wind turbines in Sherwood Township was supposed to come to a vote during the township board meeting Tuesday night, but an error in the noticing for the meeting caused the vote to be delayed, according to Sherwood Township Attorney Catherine Kaufman.
The petition claims that the Wheatland Township Planning Commission’s vote on Ordinance 16.25 took place after the meeting had been adjourned, in violation of Michigan’s Open Meetings Act. It also alleges a conflict of interest among several Board members, who did not recuse themselves during a later, July 12, 2018 vote to adopt the ordinance.
“So, if Michigan’s utilities are building their wind facilities in areas with poor wind resources — like Hillsdale County — they will need to build a lot more turbines and have the turbines they build produce far less electricity. That ensures that the costs to build and operate wind facilities in Michigan is far higher than it is in states like Oklahoma or Kansas,” Hayes said.
An industrial wind facility is set to launch in Hillsdale County next year, despite significant opposition from local residents and questions. ...Opponents of the Crescent Wind Energy Center, organized as Concerned Citizen of Wheatland Township, claim the township’s planning commission and board rammed through ordinance modifications and use permits for Chicago-based developer Invenergy in 2018-19 despite widespread conflicts of interest.
On Tuesday, upwards of two dozen protestors gathered outside Wheatland Township Hall to picket before a board of trustees meeting. They carried signs expressing their opposition to the project, which would see an unknown number of wind turbines erected in Adams, Moscow and Wheatland townships.
Attorney Joshua Nolan, hired by Concerned Citizens, said the law was defensible and not arbitrary or capricious. He is already opposing other ordinances for wind turbines in the state. He asked for a lower night time noise limit as well as a provision to require all permits before any construction begins.