Articles from Michigan
UPPER THUMB — Local counties, municipalities and school districts will be able to hold on to disputed wind turbine tax revenue following recent action by NextEra Energy Resources.
The three-member Michigan Public Service Commission unanimously issued a rule on a section of the state's new energy law that sets the phased-in requirement for alternative energy suppliers, who serve customers who buy power from a company other than the state's large electric utilities. Those customers include 200 school districts and thousands of businesses, which typically get cheaper rates in the program.
NEW HAVEN TWP. – On Monday, Sept. 11, New Haven Township hosted a presentation about wind energy by Kevon Martis of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, Inc. The Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to raising public awareness of the potential impacts from the construction of industrial wind turbines in the region. Martis is a volunteer, not a lobbyist.
Gearboxes had to be replaced because they were made of “not the best metal from overseas,” Buda said. Specifically, the metal came from China. The gearboxes were designed by General Electric, with some produced in the United States, and some produced in China, said Austin Osentoski, wind technician for DTE, who was also at the meeting.
BEAVER TWP, MI -- DTE Energy is exploring the possibility of developing a wind farm in Bay County.
Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Larkin Twp., attended the meeting and said he saw a pattern from DTE of not showing up for debates on wind energy. Glenn said DTE has repeatedly refused invitations to appear before the House Energy Policy Committee for debate-type events. "...both sides were offered 20 minutes to make their case," Glenn said.
An informational meeting was held Tuesday night about wind turbines and why many townships across the state have rejected wind energy development. The company wanting to build the turbines chose not to attend the meeting.
Lincoln first moved to become self-zoned about a year ago. At the same time, the county was considering whether to allow a wind development overlay zone in the township, as proposed by DTE Energy. According to records in the Huron County Register of Deeds office, all but one person on the Lincoln Township Board of Trustees have wind contracts.
Multiple landowners in rural Isabella County have signed lease agreements for about 36,000 acres in total with at least one alternative energy company exploring the feasibility of building a wind farm across seven townships.
Weaver expressed concern over Preston’s recommendation of measuring the setback to the distance of the home and not the property line. “If you only place it at the house, not the property line, how do you evacuate the children from the yard? Why have a special allowance for schools, churches and hospitals when [you] spend more time [at home]?”
A wind energy developer who wants to erect 400-foot tall wind turbines on a picturesque U.P. peninsula is getting resistance from environmental groups concerned that the spinning blades threaten migratory and other birds including bald eagles. The developer, called Heritage Sustainable Energy, already operates 14 wind turbines on the Garden Peninsula, located in Delta County, and wants to add 21 more there.
In the end, the planning commission decided not to allow the development because so many residents opposed it. "If somebody perceives there's a problem, it is a problem. You have to deal with it -- either convince them that it's not a problem or correct the problem they perceive is there," Russell said. "And once people believe it's a problem, it's pretty hard to convince them it's not."
SAGINAW, MI -- In the past decade, rural landscapes in the Thumb and elsewhere in Michigan have been radically altered by the advent of utility-scale wind farms.
A 160-foot (50-meter) wind turbine blade broke in rural mid-Michigan, leaving it dangling above a field. The turbine is one of 75 GE 1.6-megawatt turbines located in Tuscola, Bay and Saginaw counties, Michigan. The project began commercial operation in 2012
Wind turbines dominated discussion during the June 12 meeting of the Hazelton Township board. About a dozen residents attended the meeting – some invited guests with firsthand knowledge of the impact of wind turbines on a community.
Lincoln Township resident Carl Duda, who also sits on the county planning commission offered his own slate of appointees during the first public comment session. He said he was disappointed in the choices of the board because two members of the planning commission have wind contracts: Pat Weber and Ken Weber.
The amendments to the zoning ordinance can be challenged by referendum if enough valid signatures are gathered in opposition of the changes. The township zoning ordinance was also amended to allow for solar energy systems.
The pro-wind farm committees include those opposed to Lincoln Township forming its own planning commission; those opposed to amending Sand Beach Township’s wind ordinance; and those in favor of wind parks proposed by DTE Energy and NextEra Energy Resources LLC. The highest single contribution was to Say Yes to Huron’s Future for $341,000 by Huron Wind LLC – a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra, which had proposed a wind farm for Sherman, Sigel and Sand Beach townships. Total contributions to that committee were $417,000 as of May 22.
The state of Michigan’s renewable energy mandate requires energy providers to supply 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2022. So far, all of Michigan’s providers are on track to meet that goal.
“The concern for Scheurer Hospital is that this is approximately 3,500 feet from our helicopter pad,” Ramsey told the board. “The reason I am here today is, looking for advice, direction or counsel as to ... what our options are.” Pilots from Covenant of Saginaw are also concerned, Ramsey added.