• Turbine information shared
    If you want to allow wind turbines in your township or limit them, it is possible by using zoning regulations, according to Sarah Mills. Mills, a senior project manager at the Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, spoke to a crowd at Union City Middle School last week. The two-hour session was held for the Sherwood Township Planning Commission, but representatives of the four townships where DTE has signed a majority of its land leases attended. DTE . . .
  • Packed house sees turbines get approved
    L’ANSE – The L’Anse Township Board approved ordinances allowing large wind energy conversion (LWEC) systems to be permitted in Forest Resource districts, as well as lowering the minimum blade clearance from 75 feet to 58 feet, as requested by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) and Weyerhaeuser. The minimum blade clearance is the height from the ground when the blade is at its lowest point in rotation. Sean Stocker, project manager for RES, says the lower blade clearance will allow RES to consider . . .
  • PI County imposes restrictions as wind turbines proposed
    ROGERS CITY – The Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday approved ordinance changes to place limits on proposed wind turbines. A public hearing was held Sep. 20 to discuss the potential installation of wind turbines in Moltke Township. The meeting prompted the county’s Planning Commission to review the zoning ordinance for the area. It was discussed at the last county board meeting, but commissioners decided to wait to make any decisions until they could further review it. They approved . . .
  • County continues to discuss noise complaints
    BAD AXE – The Huron County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday opted not to hire ABD Engineering & Design to help investigate wind turbine noise complaints. Also, the board unanimously voted to expand its contract with the Clark Hill law firm to include a review of the county’s turbine complaint process. Commissioner John A. Nugent brought forth a late motion to expand the contract. Before voting with the rest of the board not to hire ABD, Nugent said he didn’t support . . .
  • Wind turbines zoning to come after election
    UNION TOWNSHIP – Trustees of Union Township will wait until after the Nov. 6 election before taking any action to implement zoning in the township. The group opposed to wind turbines, planned by DTE, for parts of Union, Sherwood, Matteson, and Batavia Townships have been pushing for strict regulations. Tuesday night, pressed by Concerned Citizens of Branch County to act now, each member of the board said they would wait to create zoning regulations for the township, the only of one . . .
  • L’Anse town board challenger seeking ordinance review
    Wallace Sweeney, better known around L’Anse as Buddy, is running as an independent against Republican Brian Kissel for a partial term on the L’Anse Township Board. The term will end in November of 2020. Sweeney has been studying Michigan township law and the L’Anse Township ordinances. He said the zoning ordinances, originally drafted by U.P. Engineers and Architects around 2011, are “terrible.” “There’s so many mistakes in there, it’s unreal,” Sweeney said. “The whole thing needs to be redone.” He . . .
  • Commissioners asked to deal with wind turbines
    A Union Township resident asked the Branch County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to put together a county wind ordinance concerning industrial wind turbines. Right now, any decisions on zoning ordinances to govern the impact of wind turbines would lie with the various township boards. Marilyn Johnson felt a county wide ordinance on wind turbines would bring uniformity. DTE Energy site manager Jeff Haines told commissioners earlier this summer they were in the early stages in Union, Sherwood, Matteson and . . .
  • Wind turbine zoning researcher to help Sherwood Township
    SHERWOOD TOWNSHIP – After months or work on a proposed ordinances to regulate wind turbines in Sherwood Township, the Planning Commission, Wednesday night, will hold another special public hearing. Because the crowds have packed the township hall for past meetings, it will move its hearing to the Union City Middle School for the expected crowd. It will also call on an expert to advise it, taking planning commission questions for Dr. Sarah Mills, which the commission hopes will answer contradictory and . . .
  • Planning officials spar over noise complaint
    BAD AXE – Things went smoothly at the Huron County Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night – until the final minutes. During final planning commission comment, county Building and Zoning Director Jeff Smith invited wind turbine noise complainant Robert Gaffke to sign a permission slip to conduct noise testing on his property, as part of the complaint resolution effort. On Sept. 25, the Huron County Board of Commissioners suspended action on hiring ABD Engineering & Design to test at three sites that were . . .
  • 2nd wind blows: Another Adams farm considered
    ADAMS TOWNSHIP – The idea of a wind farm around Whealkate Bluff is seeing new interest, though nothing is set in stone yet. The project plan started and dropped by Farm Wind Energy a few years ago has caught the attention of Circle Power. The new company has not yet decided if they will take over the plan. “The moral of the story is it’s just an initial thing,” said Township Supervisor Gerald Heikkinen. Three representatives from Circle Power visited in . . .
  • Uninamous vote puts hold on wind turbine projects in Monitor Township
    Hundreds packed Monitor Township hall Monday night for a chance to voice their opposition to allowing a wind turbine farm development to move forward.
  • L’Anse wind farm discourse turns…peaceful
    L’ANSE – A public hearing of the L’Anse Township Planning Commission on Thursday night went well, according to many attendees. Comments from the public on proposed changes to township zoning ordinance that would allow large wind energy conversion systems (LWECS) on commercial forest district land. “It felt like tonight they were listening to us,” Wayne Abba said. Abba works with the Friends of the Huron Mountains (FHM), which opposed the proposed changes that would permit the Summit Lake Wind Project by . . .
  • Proposed wind farm in Muskegon and Kent Counties causing turbulence among residents
    CASNOVIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A proposed wind farm in Muskegon County is causing some turbulence for people against the idea. A meeting was held in Casnovia Township Planning Commission Thursday night over what would be called the Kenowa Ridge Wind Farm Project that would stretch across parts of Muskegon and Kent Counties. The farm would include 31 wind turbines, each nearly 500 feet tall. “These are nearly 500 foot tall towers, that’s taller than the statue of liberty they are very . . .
  • L’Anse Township Planning Commission holds public hearing on proposed wind turbines
    The L’Anse Township Planning Commission held a public hearing Thursday night on a proposed amendment that would allow Renewal Energy Systems to build wind turbines in Baraga County. The Planning Commission heard dozens of comments from both opposition and supporters of RES’s proposed wind turbines, and one of the comments that came up the most, was a need for a civil and more engaging dialogue. “The way to solve this challenge is not by threats of intimidation, personal harm, or . . .
  • Green energy credits have value
    L’ANSE TOWNSHIP – The proposed Summit Lake Wind Project will produce about 130 megawatts of renewable energy, according to Renewable Energy Systems (RES). This would mean the owners would receive 130 renewable energy credits (REC), transferable tokens that represent green energy as a commodity. “Electricity is a weird commodity because it has to be used within a few milliseconds of when it’s produced,” said Sarah Green, a professor of chemistry at Michigan Technological University (MTU) who also serves as co-vice chairwoman . . .
  • Ohio, Michigan MTAs blast windmill proposal
    Marine trade associations in Ohio and Michigan have joined to stop a demonstration project that will lead to the construction of 1,000 or more wind turbines in the Great Lakes. Boating Associations of Ohio and the Michigan Boating Industry Association, along with environmental and fishing groups, are blitzing members of the Ohio Power Siting Board with petitions from hundreds of boaters in both states ahead of a closed meeting Monday, Sept. 24 in Columbus, Ohio. The board will consider approval . . .
  • Sherwood continues to struggle with turbine zoning
    SHERWOOD TOWNSHIP – The Sherwood Township Planning Commission continues to try to craft an ordinance to regulate wind turbines in the township with DTE signing leases in the area. A sticking point is how far to set a required setback after considering a quarter mile or 1,320 feet from property lines. It was pointed out that a half square mile piece of property, 320 acres would not be usable for a turbine.There are few parcels large enough to qualify. That did . . .
  • Windy Uproar: Wind farm opponents object to commission’s appointment rejection
    L’ANSE – Amid repeated outbursts from the assembled public, the L’Anse Township Board appointed three new members to the Planning Commission: JoAnn Pennock, Craig Kent and Joan Bugni. “It seems like the wind energy board, but it’s really not,” Supervisor Peter Magaraggia said before making his first appointment. JoAnn Pennock was unanimously approved to a two-year term on the planning commission. Pennock previously served on the commission that created the 2012 master plan for the townshp. “She’s very good, she’s knowledgeable,” . . .
  • Legal problems surface with Huron’s master plan
    BAD AXE – Legal issues with the Huron County Master Plan have surfaced, and county officials are considering seeking the opinion of outside legal counsel. Some county commissioners and the county’s corporate counsel question the legality of nonconforming land use as described in the plan, pertaining to wind turbines. Nonconforming land use is use of property that was allowed under zoning regulations at the time the use was established, but would no longer be permitted due to subsequent changes in those . . .
  • Tuscola Commissioners fill vacancy and discussed proposed wind project
    In their last set of meetings, the Tuscola County Board of Commissioners appointed a new commissioner to fill a vacancy and discussed, at length, the proposed wind project in Juniata Township. This included a special meeting that followed their regular meeting. In addition, the Board followed the recommendations of the new Animal Control Director for new hours and fee scale. Commissioners have selected Mark Jensen to replace Commissioner Craig Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick sent a short message of his resignation to Commissioners . . .
  • Juniata officials who didn’t favor wind ban targeted for recall
    JUNIATA TOWNSHIP – In November, residents will have an opportunity to decide whether or not three Juniata Township officials should be recalled. “The recall petitions submitted on July 31 to the Tuscola County Clerk’s office did contain enough valid signatures to authorize the recall to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot,” said Tuscola County Clerk Jodi Fetting. Those targeted for recall are Supervisor Neil Jackson, Clerk Heidi Stark and Treasurer Andrew Stark. The reasons listed on the recalls are because Jackson . . .
  • Turbine complainant seeks alternate sound study
    BAD AXE – A wind turbine noise complainant, on Tuesday, suggested the Huron County Board of Commissioners contact another acoustician about a sound study. Bloomfield Township resident Robert Gaffke was one of four members of the public who attended the 16-minute meeting. He urged the board to call Robert Rand of Rand Acoustics, LLC regarding sound testing to address three complaints about wind turbine noise. “He’s not anti-wind,” Gaffke said. He also suggested board Chairman Sami Khoury, or the appropriate commissioner, . . .
  • Miller to stay on Monitor Planning Commission amid wind-turbine debate
    MONITOR TWP, MI – Environmentalist Terry Miller is still on the Monitor Township Planning Commission after a motion made to remove him failed in a 3-3 vote at a township Board of Trustees meeting. At the Monday, Aug. 27 meeting, Board of Trustees member Bill Reder made a motion to remove Miller from the commission, citing Miller’s ties to environmental groups as a reason to recuse himself on the discussion and possible adoption of a wind turbine ordinance. “I asked . . .
  • Huron’s Master Plan: A comprehensive look
    BAD AXE – The county’s future in terms of development and land use is visible in the first draft of the Huron County Master Plan. County officials are in the process of reviewing the 180-page plan to make changes before the final draft is voted on for approval by both the Huron County Planning Commission and the Huron County Board of Commissioners. The plan includes a view of Huron’s renewable energy future. Regarding renewable energy, the plan states: • Wind energy . . .
  • Federal judge dismisses wind developer’s lawsuit against Tuscola townships
    ALMER TOWNSHIP – Case closed. The 18-month long lawsuit against Almer Township officials by NextEra Energy Resources LLC was dismissed this week by Judge Thomas Ludington, United State District Court Eastern District, Bay City. The latest court decision is on the last part of a multi-county lawsuit filed in February 2017 by NextEra regarding Tuscola Wind III’s development, when the Almer Township Planning Commission enacted a moratorium for more time to make a decision and review ordinances. Tuscola Wind III is . . .
  • Huron is making the right move on wind turbine noise testing
    To responsibly to address residents’ complaints regarding wind turbine noise, the Huron County Board of Commissioners needs to hire a third party to do sound testing. And it looks like that is going to happen. It may seem like a long time coming, since one complaint dates back to October 2016. But it’s not necessarily the county’s fault. As the county with more wind turbines than anywhere else in the state, Huron County is in many ways a pioneer when . . .
  • Officials discuss hiring company to test wind turbine noise
    BAD AXE – Huron County officials are a little closer to allowing third-party testing for wind turbine sound complaints – which could cost between $12,000 and $25,000. The Huron County Board of Commissioners reviewed a proposal Wednesday from ABD Engineering & Design of Grand Rapids to sound test on or near the property of three county residents who have lodged complaints against wind developers in recent years. Robert Gaffke of Bloomfield Township and Rodney McLean of Harbor Beach have given verbal consent . . .
  • Proposed wind farm east of Muskegon sparks anger from residents
    CASNOVIA TOWNSHIP, MI – A proposed wind farm project at the border of Muskegon and Kent counties has local residents concerned about their quality of life and safety if the project is approved by Casnovia Township officials. The proposed wind farm, dubbed the Kenowa Ridge Wind Farm Project, would stretch across portions of Casnovia Township in Muskegon County and Tyrone Township in Kent County. It was the focus of a sometimes raucous planning commission meeting Tuesday in Casnovia Township. Project . . .
  • Casnovia Twp. planning commission tables wind farm decision following heated public comment
    CASNOVIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – It was standing room only at a public hearing discussing plans to construct up to 31 wind turbines in Casnovia Township. The planning commission made a motion to table the decision for a few days to discuss all the information that was talked about Tuesday. Many people in the crowd were visibly frustrated with how the meeting went. Tuesday’s meeting was for the commission to go over their concerns over the project and then approve or deny . . .
  • County board ends wind moratorium
    CORUNNA – A temporary moratorium on wind turbine projects has been lifted by the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners. The moratorium, intended to fill a loophole created by an area resident who was seeking a referendum to overturn Shiawassee County’s tightened rules for wind farms, was ended by a 6-0 vote of the commissioners at a board meeting Thursday. Commissioner Mark Coscarelli was absent. Hazelton Township resident Mike Rock was unable to collect the 2,038 signatures he needed for a referendum . . .
  • Resolution 2018-07 approved
    UNION CITY – The council unanimously approved Resolution No. 2018-07 regarding DTE Energy Wind Turbines. Resolution 2018-07 reads as follows: “Whereas, land owners in Union Township but outside of the Village of Union City have contract or intend to contract with DTE Energy to locate wind turbines on property in Union Township; and Whereas, said properties may be located near the Village of Union City; and Whereas, the citizens of the Village of Union City are concerned that the location of . . .
  • Wind farm issue blows in changes
    L’ANSE – The L’Anse Township planning Commission experienced several changes in membership last week, with four new members being appointed by the Township Board and two more members resigning. Brian Kissel was appointed as the board liaison to the commission. Erik Mattox was re-appointed to another 3-year term. Catherine Andrews, who has served on the commission for nine years, was not re-appointed, with three members of the board voting against her. Andrews said she is disappointed, but not surprised. “Renewable Energy . . .
  • County officials question planning chairwoman over wind comments
    CORUNNA – Bonnie Ott, the chairwoman of the Shiawassee County Planning Commission, attended the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday in response to an invitation she wasn’t expecting and wasn’t happy about. During a board of commissioners session Monday, Commissioner Michael Bruff had expressed disappointment with something Ott had said in May: She and planning commission member Robert Ebmeyer told the board they had voted in favor of revised, stricter rules for wind turbine projects, but regretted it. Ott said . . .
  • Friends of the Huron Mountains files injunction to stop building permits in Baraga County
    In Baraga County, the battle over a proposed wind turbine development in L’Anse Township is going to court. On Thursday, the Friends of the Huron Mountains asked a Baraga County Circuit Court judge to block three building permits. L’anse Township issued the permits for meteorological (MET) towers last year, which RES Americas Inc. built on Weyerhaeuser property. The towers are gathering wind data, but wind turbine opponents say L’Anse Township improperly issued the permits. The Friends of the Huron Mountains . . .
  • Traverse City commits to going 100 percent renewable by 2040
    Traverse City became the first city in the state of Michigan Tuesday to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy community-wide by 2040. Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P) board members approved a commitment to obtain 100 percent of the utility’s power generation from renewable sources – such as solar, wind, and landfill gas – within the next two decades. Traverse City had previously committed to powering all city buildings with renewable energy by 2020; other Michigan cities, including Grand . . .
  • Wind turbine plan gets blowback in Bay County’s Monitor Township
    Note: This report was updated on Thursday, Aug. 16 to include comments from DTE Energy and Planning Commission member Terry Miller. MONITOR TWP., MI – Many residents of Bay County’s Monitor Township turned out Tuesday, Aug. 14, to voice opposition to wind turbines being built in the area and how the township’s planning commission has handled the process. After hearing the complaints, the planning commission voted unanimously to create a committee to look at the issue of wind turbines in . . .
  • Sparks fly at township meeting over wind turbines
    Residents from a Mid-Michigan town are continuing their fight against wind turbines coming to their community. Sparks flew the last time Monitor Township residents met to discuss the possibility of turbines being built nearby. This time it was no different. At Tuesday’s meeting, multiple residents asked Commissioner Terry Miller to abstain from voting in the future regarding wind turbines. “You will remove yourself from voting. You will remove yourself from voting right now,” one resident said. “Terry, I don’t really . . .
  • Emotional wind turbine debate continues in Kawkawlin Township
    Emotions remain high in Bay County’s Kawkawklin Township over where to place wind turbines proposed by DTE Energy. There’s some support based on potential income for farmers and possible revenue for infrastructure upgrades like roads. But many others told Township trustees Monday they’re strongly opposed based on issues like size, noise and shadow flicker. Trustees recently ratified a 120 day moratorium on placement lasting through November 5th. Some residents say they’ve heard conflicting reports that DTE won’t place any wind . . .
  • Tensions rise over proposed wind farm in Kawkawlin Township
    KAWKAWLIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The drama over a new wind farm is boiling over again in Bay County. At Monday night’s Kawkawlin Township board meeting the topic was not on the agenda but that didn’t stop residents from voicing their frustrations. DTE is proposing a new wind farm in Kawkawlin Township. According to WSGW Radio, last month a 120-day moratorium was put in place by the board stopping special use and construction permits for wind turbines. Those who live in . . .
  • Isabella townships say no to planning and zoning boards
    Residents in five Isabella County townships resoundingly voted down proposals to form planning and zoning boards independent from the county in Tuesday’s primary. High voter turnout in Denver, Gilmore, Isabella, Nottawa and Vernon townships —over 40 percent in some precincts— slapped down the proposals with margins of at least 2 -1. Spurred by a vocal anti-wind farm contingent, ballot initiatives asking voters to establish those independent boards were accompanied by millages request to fund them if approved in Denver, Nottawa . . .
  • Palmyra Twp. voters to decide zoning
    Earlier this year, the township board put in place a moratorium on all commercial wind energy developments. The vote came a month after several residents approached the board asking for a moratorium, even though no firm has shown any recent interest in developing wind energy systems in the township. The township board cannot take any stronger measures to control wind energy development in Palmyra To wnship because an update to the township zoning ordinance has been placed on hold until the August election. The existing zoning law remains in effect until that vote, and it has no regulations for wind energy.
  • Township voters to decide ballot proposals on planning commissions
    Voters in several Isabella County townships on Tuesday will be voting on ballot proposals regarding zoning. All of the ballot proposals were promoted by residents who are opposed to wind farms in Isabella County. Proposals are on the ballot in Denver, Gilmore, Isabella, Nottawa and Vernon townships to create separate planning commissions in each township to do planning and zoning. Currently, the zoning for the townships is done by Isabella County. Some of the townships also have millage questions related . . .
  • Sherwood continues to struggle with wind turbine zoning
    SHERWOOD TOWNSHIP – After four lengthy sessions, the Sherwood Township Planning Commission can only agree on a few rules for regulating commercial wind turbines. The board,Tuesday, voted to require any wind turbine be a minimum of one mile from any of the township’s seven lake shorelines and the banks of the St. Joseph and Nottowa Rivers. The board also agreed that all setbacks will be measured, not from the base of a turbine tower but from the end of a turbine . . .
  • Wind energy park proposed for Muskegon Co. community
    Wind turbines could be constructed in Muskegon County as soon as next year if a California-based developer’s plan moves forward. The Casnovia Township planning commission shared details on Sempra Renewables’ proposed Kenowa Ridge Wind Energy Project at a public hearing Thursday. The commission requested more information on the project before voting. They have the power to request changes before approving or denying the project. If the planning commission greenlights it, the plan would go before the township board for a . . .
  • Reader accuses candidates of pro-wind agendas
    Three former Planning Commissioners, Mary Babcock, Jeffery Krohn and Robert Oakes, now seek to continue their pro-wind agenda as county commissioners. Realizing that their goal of more wind turbines had hit a roadblock at the planning commission level, Babcock and Krohn did not seek reappointment while Oakes was reappointed, only to abruptly quit at his first meeting when the group rejected his ideas. In the unfortunate event that these three individuals are elected as county commissioners on Aug. 7, they . . .
  • Invenergy moves forward with wind project in Wheatland Township
    WHEATLAND – Representatives from Invenergy, a Chicago-based renewable energy company, has confirmed that the firm is currently in the early development stages of a wind project in Wheatland Township. If Invenergy completes the project, Wheatland Township would host Hillsdale County’s first large-scale wind farm. At their regular board meeting on June 12, the Wheatland Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to strengthen the township’s existing wind energy ordinance, as part of an effort to protect residents and land values while allowing . . .
  • Wind energy proponents warn Isabella zoning issues are tax hikes
    Proponents of a wind energy project proposed for northwestern Isabella County are warning residents in five townships that going alone on zoning will increase taxes and not necessarily stop the turbines. Supporters of the anti-turbine group Isabella Wind Watch have placed proposals on the August ballot in five townships calling for local control over zoning. All five – Vernon, Gilmore, Isabella, Denver and Nottawa – have long been zoned and enforced by county government, which does not charge for the . . .
  • Friends of the Huron Mountains not in favor of wind turbine project in L’Anse
    Opponents of a proposed wind turbine project in L’Anse held a town hall meeting Wednesday night. The plan would see 49 wind turbines built on a 120 acre parcel east of L’Anse. Renewable Energy Systems (RES), the company behind the plan says it will bring jobs and lower energy costs in the area. The group meeting Wednesday, the Friends of the Huron Mountains, say it’s just not right for L’Anse. “It’s an ill-conceived project, I really have to say, this . . .
  • Referendum on wind fails to make deadline
    CORUNNA – A Hazelton Township resident who was collecting petition signatures in an effort to overturn Shiawassee County’s new rules on wind turbines failed to submit a completed petition by Tuesday’s deadline, according to the county clerk. To place the issue on the Nov. 6 ballot, Rock would have had to collect at least 2,038 signatures from people in 14 of the 16 townships in Shiawassee County – excluding Owosso and Caledonia townships – by Tuesday. No petition was turned in by the . . .
  • Wind forum comments reveal community divide
    L’ANSE – Renewable Energy Systems (RES) hosted another informational meeting at L’Anse High School on its proposed wind farm project Wednesday night, displaying visual representations of what the wind farm might look like from six locations around Keweenaw Bay, as well as a preliminary map of the locations of the 49 wind turbines. Sean Stocker from RES said the placement was designed to “meet and exceed” current L’Anse Township zoning. The height of the proposed turbines, a Siemens S129 model, would . . .