Articles filed under General from Michigan
Newly elected members to the Almer Charter Township Board and to the Ellington Township Board of Trustees brought a new attitude about wind development. The two townships held back-to-back special meetings Tuesday at the Tuscola Technology Center, and each made similar motions about slowing down a wind development project in their townships.
“Today I’m here to ask the commissioners to delay making any decisions on the Huron Wind Project that includes Sherman Township until at least after our Dec. 13 meeting,” said Kathi Jahn, Sherman Township clerk.
When asked what Huron County should pursue for alternative energy development, 42 percent of respondents agreed that wind is a viable option, and 40 percent disagreed, with 18 percent saying they were neutral. Wind energy development was second to crime/drug abuse as the top challenges that the county faces.
Many of those in attendance — including residents of Middlebury, Owosso, Fairfield and Rush townships, where the turbines are planned — asked commissioners to put in place a moratorium on wind turbine operations
The Michigan Wind 2 project in Sanilac County brought with it a spike in tax revenue while it grew renewable energy. But Sanilac County just returned more than $230,000 following a settlement with Exelon after the company alleged the local governments did not properly assess the wind turbine project's taxable value.
Officials at Jackson-based Consumers Energy said it was too early to call anything definite, but noted several factors have put the company in position of ramping up activity related to development of Cross Winds II, originally slated for the 2021-22 time frame.
Subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources L.L.C. have filed 112 new petitions against Tuscola County and several townships, once again contesting millions in taxes paid and forcing local jurisdictions to sit on revenue from wind turbines.
Voters in Bridgehampton and Marion townships will decide if recent zoning amendments related to proposed wind farm developments should be approved or rescinded. Citizens in both townships placed the zoning changes on the Aug. 2 primary ballot through referendum petitions.
“They, on a federal level, they make these decisions to support fracking or to support wind, and we, at the local level pay the price. We can’t collect the taxes. We fight amongst each other — the people of the county fight amongst each other — but they succeed in their political goals. It’s a shame.”
If you’re doing anything other than attending public meetings held every so often by the Ellington Township board of trustees or planning commission, you are missing out on a fascinating display of human dynamics.
In a May 21 letter to the News-Press, NextEra manager Jeremy Ferrell encouraged residents to get the facts about wind energy rather than hearken to “myths and fears.” So, I have some facts to share.
"The wind speeds here are not competitive with other places in the state, such as the thumb," said David Shiflett, Project Manager for Geronimo Energy. "It's going to be a challenging site for any developer."
A recent letter in support of the Garden Wind project perpetuates a number of common misconceptions about the economic and environmental benefits of wind development in Michigan. The most egregious is the suggestion that wind is the most economical source of power.
The group of residents from Almer and Ellington want their respective townships to dump Spicer Engineering – similar to the way Sanilac County’s Moore Township did recently. They claim the Saginaw-based firm is a little too cozy with wind developer NextEra Energy Resources L.L.C., which plans to build the $200 million Tuscola III wind project in Almer, Ellington and Fairgrove townships.
Residents met in Lincoln Township this week to voice opinions on DTE Energy’s application for a new wind energy overlay district. A planning area covers more than 39,000 acres and 61 square miles across four townships: 22,080 in Lincoln and 5,760 each in Sigel, Dwight and Bloomfield. DTE says it expects the currently unnamed project to be between 100 and 150 megawatts and 50 to 70 wind turbines.
Documents filed April 1 at the Huron County Clerk’s Office show RES Construction Inc.’s lien is for $3.3 million and Fisher Contracting Co.’s is for $4.1 million. ...Algonquin representatives and county planners meeting discussed the liens. ...officials say an affected property owner wanted to build a shed but couldn’t due to the lien.
But because a flood of information and letters arrived just before the meeting, member Carl Duda made a motion to table a decision. Brock agreed, saying he would prefer more time for review rather than push any action. Brock says planners won’t take action on the project at their April 6 meeting. They instead hope to set a special meeting at a later date.
The applications were filed less than 24 hours after video and audio recordings of a March 14, 2016, Almer Township Planning Commission meeting, show a NextEra representative saying the company couldn’t provide details about specific locations because it was “still working on its plans.”
Saying that “wind turbines have an incredibly small footprint” really depends on what you compare them to. I actually wonder if there is any energy production system that takes as much space as wind does.
The board of commissioners voted 4-3 Tuesday to authorize its attorney, Stephen Allen, to advise whether it’s legal to set a cap on wind turbines in the county. John Nugent, the board’s legislative chair, brought the motion for a vote.