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Residents seek wind turbine answers

There were windmill-shaped cookies offered as snacks at the Tustin Library last night, but citizens were really hungry for facts about what it was like to have a wind turbine as a neighbor. The meeting was sponsored by a group of landowners and citizens interested in the possibility of wind turbine power in Sherman Township.

TUSTIN - There were windmill-shaped cookies offered as snacks at the Tustin Library last night, but citizens were really hungry for facts about what it was like to have a wind turbine as a neighbor.

The meeting was sponsored by a group of landowners and citizens interested in the possibility of wind turbine power in Sherman Township.

Taking the audience's questions were Brion Dickens, a member of the planning commission in the Thumb's Oliver Township, site of the state's largest wind farm, along with Tom Stanton, director of the Michigan Renewable Energy Program for the Public Service Commission, and James Clift of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Clift noted the largest construction project in the state right now, with 1,800 workers, is a solar panel plant near Hemlock.

Dickens said his home of Oliver Township has received $86,000 in tax revenue from the 27 turbines located there, allowing them to actually reduce their fire protection millage. The planning commission in the township approached wind turbines as a tool for preserving farmland by supplying farmers with an additional source of income that takes the sting off when crops don't do so well. Dickens said 95 percent of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

TUSTIN - There were windmill-shaped cookies offered as snacks at the Tustin Library last night, but citizens were really hungry for facts about what it was like to have a wind turbine as a neighbor.

The meeting was sponsored by a group of landowners and citizens interested in the possibility of wind turbine power in Sherman Township.

Taking the audience's questions were Brion Dickens, a member of the planning commission in the Thumb's Oliver Township, site of the state's largest wind farm, along with Tom Stanton, director of the Michigan Renewable Energy Program for the Public Service Commission, and James Clift of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Clift noted the largest construction project in the state right now, with 1,800 workers, is a solar panel plant near Hemlock.

Dickens said his home of Oliver Township has received $86,000 in tax revenue from the 27 turbines located there, allowing them to actually reduce their fire protection millage. The planning commission in the township approached wind turbines as a tool for preserving farmland by supplying farmers with an additional source of income that takes the sting off when crops don't do so well. Dickens said 95 percent of the township is zoned agricultural, and they hope to keep it that way.

Asked about the wind turbine setbacks from homes in their zoning ordinance, Dickens said they have two kinds: one for landowners who do not have a wind turbine lease, and one for those who do.

Non-participating landowners have a setback of a quarter mile, while participating landowners may locate a wind turbine as close as 600 feet to their residences. Dickens said the ordinance does not address distance between wind turbines because the physics of locating turbines for optimum performance encourages developers to place them at least a quarter mile apart anyway.

Another question was asked about what happens if a wind farm developer goes bankrupt. Dickens said their ordinance requires that foundations be designed for easier removal, and money is placed in escrow to pay for it.

Citizens also were curious about how much landowners receive from their wind turbine leases. The national average is about $10,000 a year, while other estimates ranged from $4,000 a year to $25,000 a year.

There also were concerns about how much land is taken out of production by the footprint and access road of a wind turbine. Dickens said in the 3,200-acre John Deere Wind Farm in his area, out of 22 landowners only about 50 acres were taken out of production. Stanton said around 100 acres are needed to support one wind turbine.

Sherman Township Zoning Board Member Ron Moesta asked if there were any studies on the effects on wildlife such as deer. Dickens said he often sees deer unperturbed by the wind turbines, although they may shy away during the construction phase.


Source: http://www.cadillacnews.com...

JUN 19 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20718-residents-seek-wind-turbine-answers
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