Library from Michigan
Developers this year plan to build nearly 150 wind turbines in the state’s unofficial wind energy capital, boosting Huron County’s total count to about 475.
Roger Knight feels township officials shouldn’t have voted on the windmill zoning ordinance changes because of their leases with Exelon, a company with plans to construct 68 windmills across three Sanilac County townships. “It’s the wrong way of doing business,” Knight said. “There’s nothing fair about it.”
Two Michigan residents share their experiences living inside utility scale wind plants. One is a long-time supporter of wind energy and other is a man who has leased his ground to wind developers. Both now have profound regret. Special thanks to Kevon Martis for making this video available.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan is headed toward no longer requiring utilities to generate a portion of their power from wind or other renewable sources because Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers instead favor setting a goal — not a new mandate. The debate is among a number of significant issues confronting legislators trying to update energy laws this fall. Some questions and answers about the green power issue:
On the same day the governor signed into law a plan to fix Michigan roads, ending a lengthy debate in the Legislature, a local agreement was also reached: Huron County has a new, stricter and more defined rulebook to govern wind turbines.
Nearly two years of work came to a close in a two-hour session Wednesday night at the Huron County Expo Center, where officials agreed in a 7-2 vote to set sail the ship that is the new wind energy ordinance to county commissioners for a final decision. Follow along to see the night’s progression and the in-betweens.
During Tuesday’s regular Board of Commissioners meeting, Board Chairman John Nugent said he has concerns about changes the planning commissioners made after receiving proposed ordinance changes from the county’s Wind Energy Zoning Committee, an ad hoc committee created by county commissioners in early 2014 to investigate wind energy and advise the planning commission.
After more than a year investigating and deliberating the regulations necessary for safely siting wind turbines in the county, the Huron County Planning Commission hopes to finally remove the proposed ordinance from its agenda after next week.
Zach Kramer of Minden City was the first to give his story. He said some residents are forced to sign contracts that forbid them from making a complaint. He said, “Individuals should be concerned about doing the right thing versus collecting another check.” Kramer continued, “Right or wrong, let's think of our neighbors and not just our check books.”
Plans to build 72 wind turbines in north and northeastern Huron County have been put on hold. The county’s director of building and zoning, Jeff Smith, said in an email a contract with the RES Americas construction group has ended, putting the Deerfield Wind project on hold.
Among the revisions the board voted in favor of adopting was increasing the setback to 1,640 feet from non-participating property lines. ...The board also voted to adopt a proposed revision that would require wind turbine developers to ensure the existence of funds for decommissioning turbines by buying bonds.
Dorman said if voters approve the language, the ordinance goes into effect as is. If voters reject the language, a new ordinance would need to be written, he said.
DTE Energy says it won’t build a wind turbine near a resident whose doctor says it would be disorienting and potentially harmful to her health. The utility’s decision comes less than two weeks after the county received a letter from Chandler resident Deb Ruth. She said if a wind turbine planned for DTE’s newest Pinnebog project is erected about a quarter-mile from her home, it could trigger dizzy spells.
Following the hearing, planners are expected to either make a recommendation to county commissioners or table a decision. The Nov. 4 hearing comes after a moratorium preventing new wind energy projects in the 16 townships expires.
“When she is exposed to visual stimuli such as a Ferris wheel or a windmill it causes what is call(ed) visual vertigo, which would be very disorienting and potentially harmful to her. She has asked me to speak on her behalf in regards to this matter and I think that her concerns are reasonable and valid,” the letter states. Jeff Smith, the county’s building and zoning director, said it was the first time he’s seen such a letter from a medical professional.
MACOMB — Huron County, Michigan’s unofficial wind energy capital with 328 turbines and plans for 150 more, took center stage Thursday at a Macomb Community College roundtable event.
Three participating landowners out of 17 who already have contracts with DTE Energy through previous projects have not signed a property line distance setback waiver at this time for various reasons. One landowner, who spoke at the meeting, even offered to return all money received by DTE in the years they have been a participant in order to no longer be involved in wind energy.
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.
Slowing the process of getting a new wind energy ordinance for the county isn’t bothering some residents. “I feel there’s a tendency, a human tendency, (of) ‘Let’s finally get rid of this thing and pass something,’ ” Keith Iseler of Port Hope said Wednesday when county planners met, commending their efforts before again reviewing a new rulebook for wind turbines.
The task of creating a new wind energy ordinance became taller Wednesday, when county planners got another redo of the draft from a Grand Rapids acoustics firm. It arrived about two minutes before their 7 p.m. meeting.