• Seville wind ordinance OK’d amid concerns that it’s too restrictive
    After more than two years of sometimes heated debate and discussion the Seville Township board has approved a wind ordinance that will allow turbines to be constructed in the township. However, some think the new rules will be too restrictive to attract any interest from a utility wanting to build a wind farm The ordinance passed 3-2, with Supervisor Tish Mallory, Clerk Terresa Frisbie and Treasurer Ashlee Gibson voting in favor, while trustees Doug Brecht and Marlin Brush voted no. . . .
  • Energy company nixes planned wind farm east of Muskegon
    MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – The energy company behind a controversial proposed wind turbine farm at the border of Muskegon and Kent counties decided to cease development on the project, according to company officials. Melissa McHenry, director of external communications with American Electric Power (AEP), told MLive/Muskegon Chronicle Tuesday, Dec. 24 that the project was no longer viable because of several stringent restrictions placed on one-half of the turbine site in Casnovia Township, located on the eastern edge of Muskegon County. . . .
  • Casnovia Township wind farm project called off
    Plans for a large wind farm located about 20 miles northwest of Grand Rapids have been called off. A spokesperson for American Electric Power Renewables, which is based in Ohio, says the company has decided to stop development on the Kenowa Ridge project. That project was to be located in Casnovia Township in eastern Muskegon County. “A lot of people were losing sleep and a lot of stress,” homeowner Steve Sower said. AEP Renewables says the township’s requirements didn’t match . . .
  • Researcher talks renewable energy potential in Handy Twp.
    There’s space and potential for renewable energy developments in Handy Township, according to a researcher from the University of Michigan. Dr. Sarah Mills, Senior Project Manager at U of M’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, attended a meeting of Handy Township’s Planning Commission last Thursday to discuss her research on how renewable energy developments impact rural communities. Mills first noted that there are 20 wind energy projects and 56 solar energy projects currently being considered in the state. . . .
  • Wind turbine opponents seeking state investigation
    WHEATLAND – The holidays are fast approaching, but a local group opposing the construction of a 166-megawatt commercial wind farm in Hillsdale County isn’t letting that slow them down. Instead, Informed Citizens of Wheatland Township is working with an attorney to draft a letter to send to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, asking her office to review actions taken by Wheatland Township’s Board of Trustees over the past two years that have paved the way for construction to begin on the . . .
  • Wind farms knocking on Montcalm County’s door
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – As counties in Michigan continue to see renewable energy projects spring up over time, the question continues to be asked – what about Montcalm County? During Monday’s Legislative Update session at Montcalm Community College, Harmony Nowlin, the community services area manager at Consumers Energy, said in the years that have followed since a new Clean Energy Plan was established in 2016, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar farms are becoming more feasible to install or purchase, while . . .
  • Seville Township considers wind turbine ordinance
    Once the wind farm presently under construction in Lafayette, Hamilton and North Star townships, and another in the planning stages in New Haven and North Shade townships is built, Gratiot County will be the home of more than 400 wind turbines, nearly one-third of the state’s total. But, Seville Township for one, hasn’t jumped on the wind energy bandwagon. However, it has led to some heated discussions the past couple of years between those who support the installation of turbines . . .
  • Tuscola Airport Zoning Board of Appeals continuing lawsuit
    Although Tuscola County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday not to fund legal action to fight wind farm development, legal action is still going to continue. Even though the Tuscola County Airport Zoning Board of Appeals (AZBA) does not have a budget, they voted Friday to appeal the issue to a higher court. The cost to continue the legal fight is estimated to cost at least $15,000 too $20,000. The Concerned Friends of the Tuscola Area Airport agreed to cover legal . . .
  • Decision not to fund wind lawsuit – might not be the end on wind battle
    Even though Tuscola County Commissioners decided to say “no to financing more legal action” regarding a wind farm lawsuit during a special board meeting Wednesday, that may not be the final word. The Tuscola County Airport Zoning Board of Appeals, will conduct a special meeting noon today at the Purdy Building, 125 W. Lincoln St., Caro. The meeting will include a closed session to discuss a written legal memorandum from their attorney, according to the meeting notice posted by Tuscola . . .
  • Wind turbine zoning goes into effect next week
    A week from today, the Sherwood Township Wind Energy zoning ordinance will go into effect requiring a special use permit to erect wind turbines in the township. The amendment was approved last Thursday in a special township meeting by Treasurer Dale Marie Brubaker and Trustees Marjorie Whitcomb and Fred Haack. Supervisor James Smith and his mother Clerk Denise Smith did not participate because of a conflict of interest. Both have signed leases on land to allow for construction of turbines . . .
  • State rep. candidate clarifies ‘doctored’ video comments
    In a letter to the editor published in the Dec. 2 edition of the Midland Daily News, a Democratic candidate for Michigan state representative described a video that had recently circulated, depicting her speaking at an event earlier this year, as “doctored” – a claim she now seeks to clarify. Sarah Schulz, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, as representative of the 98th state house district in the 2020 election, accused the incumbent’s husband, former 98th district Rep. Gary . . .
  • Sherwood passes wind turbine ordinance
    Two years after it started work, Sherwood Township has a wind turbine control ordinance. It passed 3-0 in a special meeting Thursday and will take place seven days after publication in the newspaper. With a packed township hall there was little comment as those mostly interested in seeing the law passed watched. Trustees Fred Haack and Majorie Whitcomb and Treasurer Dale Marie Brubaker each voted “yes.” Supervisor James Smith and Clerk Denise Smith, his mother, were not present. The Township . . .
  • Group wins victory in slowing down turbines
    The Sherwood Township Board voted 3-0 Thursday night in favor of an ordinance which was being backed by a local citizens group that is against to the siting of wind turbines in northwest Branch County. The Sherwood Township Planning Commission had recommended the Township Board adopt an amendment to the Township Zoning Ordinance which would require a Special Use Permit for wind energy conversion systems. It would also establish what some regard as stringent regulations and standards. DTE Energy has . . .
  • Planning Commission to ask for funds for master plan
    The Branch County Planning Commission will ask the county for up to $20,000 to hire the Southcentral Planning Agency to assist in preparation of a new updated master plan. Chair Debbie Lounds-Bowers will make the request at the Dec. 17 county work session for the 2020 budget. The final passage on the budget, already facing a $600,000 deficit, is set Dec.19. The proposal said the work can be done in 18 months for $15,500. A private firm had proposed $30,000 . . .
  • Energy Park third phase now producing power
    TUSCOLA COUNTY – The third phase of Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County started operations this week. The 33 turbines built have a combined 76-megawatt capacity, enough power to serve 30,000 residents, and cost $150 million to build. “Each spinning wind turbine producing sustainable, renewable energy breathes life into our Clean Energy Plan, a commitment we’ve made to our Michigan friends and neighbors to eliminate coal, cut harmful emissions and help greatly improve the quality of our state’s water and . . .
  • A community divided: Southern Michigan wind project faces opposition
    Wheatland Township, Mich. – The rush by power companies in Michigan to replace carbon-based fuel with wind power is running smack up against local residents who are saying, “not in my backyard.” In Hillsdale County’s Wheatland Township, a wind turbine development that looks like a done deal is facing backlash from residents who worry the project will destroy property values, add to noise pollution and affect local artesian wells. “Our community right now is very divided,” said Wheatland Township Supervisor Dave . . .
  • Former lawmaker responds to candidate’s letter
    As chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, I lost a state Senate primary last year after “dark money” front groups for major utility corporations spent an estimated $1.2 million opposing my election. (Read Tuesday’s Detroit News for an in-depth investigative report on that.) A “dark money” group funded by Consumers Energy lobbyists also spent an estimated $250,000 supporting Democrat Sarah Schulz. The front group “spent an estimated $184,000 on broadcast TV ads touting Schulz,” more than on any other . . .
  • Sherwood Twp board to take up wind energy issue
    A special meeting of the Sherwood Township Board is scheduled for Thursday night on a proposed ordinance that would require a Special Use Permit for wind energy conversion systems. Those opposed to the siting of wind turbines in the northwestern part of Branch County got a major boost from the Sherwood Township Planning Commission this fall when they recommended on a 6-0 vote that the Township Board adopt an amendment to the Township Zoning Ordinance which would require the Special . . .
  • Reports of wind turbine applications in Huron Township untrue
    HURON TOWNSHIP – There has been nothing formally filed with the Huron Township Zoning Administrator’s Office regarding more wind turbines in the township, according to Zoning Administrator Al Wichert. A recent post on Facebook and other reports alleged that the township received an application for 21 to 31 wind turbines. Wichert said there have been discussions regarding additional wind turbines in the township, but nothing has been filed. “By law, I have to be notified,” Wichert said. Before any development would . . .
  • Boards snub $10 million NextEra settlement offer
    A $10 million cash settlement meant to end litigation between alternative energy corporation NextEra Energy Resources and Tuscola County was not accepted by a pair of county entities this week. On July 25, the Tuscola County Airport Zoning Board of Appeals denied variances on 33 wind turbines associated with NextEra’s Pegasus Wind Project, which would place about 60 turbines in Juniata, Fairgrove and Gilford townships. The 33 turbines in question would be close enough to the Tuscola Area Airport that . . .
  • County gets update on wind turbine tax appeals
    BAD AXE – The legal fight to get utility companies to pay what county representatives say is their fair share of taxes for wind turbines took another step this week. Carl Osentoski, the executive director of the Huron County Economic Development Council, and Richard Sundquist, of Cark Hill PLC, provided the Huron County Board of Commissioners an update on the tax appeal efforts. It involves five Michigan counties, Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, Gratiot, and Mason, who have pooled together their resources to . . .
  • Sherwood wind turbine issues far from over
    After 14 meetings over 23 months, Sherwood Township residents will have to wait until Dec. 5 for the township board to vote on a proposed wind turbine control ordinance. The ordinance would set height limits of 330 feet for turbines, set noise levels, establish blade flicker and set minimum setbacks from property line and residences. Township attorney Catherine Kaufman said a special board meeting Tuesday had not been noticed in accordance with Michigan’s Open Meeting Act. She will prepare the . . .
  • Branch County debates where to allow wind turbines
    Anna Kien calls herself an environmentalist. The Sherwood Township resident believes in the importance of renewable energy. But she doesn’t support wind turbine projects in Branch County. “A lot of people like to say, ‘Oh, you’re against wind, you’re against green energy, and it’s none of the above. It’s improper siting. I mean, these are industrial, 500 plus foot machines coming into areas that historically they never ever would have been,” she said. “It transforms the land into an industrial . . .
  • Wind turbine opponents gearing up for court battle
    WHEATLAND TWP. – A grassroots activist group opposing the installation of wind turbines in Wheatland Township is preparing to take their fight to court, after the Township’s Board of Trustees denied their petition for an administrative appeal and request for a hearing. Informed Citizens of Wheatland Township received confirmation this week from their attorney, Nicholas Klaus of Klaus Law, PLLC, that Wheatland Township’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has denied their appeal. A letter from Stanley M. Sala, Esq., who is . . .
  • Michigan’s not good for wind power, so Consumers Energy customers will pay more
    The Michigan Public Service Commission recently approved an application from Consumers Energy to buy an industrial wind farm development in Hillsdale County that is projected to begin operations by December 2020. The Crescent Wind Project is said to have a levelized cost of electricity, a common industry metric, of about $48 per megawatt hour over a 31-year period. That’s above the average national cost, and the rate will hold only if the big utility company is allowed to use federal . . .
  • Wise voters reject zoning amendment
    For the second time in two years, voters in Wise Township rejected amendments to their zoning ordinance that would have permitted construction of wind turbines. The amendment went down 136 voting against to 99 voting for, 58 percent to 42 percent. Turnout in the township was unusually high for an off-year election at 30 percent. The amendment established parameters for the construction of turbines. Although language permitting them in the township was included in 2012, it didn’t include things like . . .
  • Conflict of interest: Officials with turbine tower leases approve wind development
    An industrial wind facility is set to launch in Hillsdale County next year, despite significant opposition from local residents and questions. The opposition stems in part from a series of approvals granted by Wheatland Township officials who stand to benefit financially from the construction and operation of wind turbine towers and related facilities. Opponents of the Crescent Wind Energy Center, organized as Concerned Citizen of Wheatland Township, claim the township’s planning commission and board rammed through ordinance modifications and use . . .
  • Great Lakes offshore wind — possibility or pipe dream?
    Like a spinning turbine barely visible on the horizon, the end of a regulatory odyssey to get approval for what would be the first U.S. freshwater offshore wind farm is now within sight for developers. A final approval is needed from the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is among more than a dozen agencies that must sign off on the 20.7-megawatt Icebreaker project, a demonstration wind farm about 8 miles from downtown Cleveland in Lake Erie. The board hasn’t signaled . . .
  • Residents upset over proposed wind farm in Wheatland Township
    A pro­posed wind farm in Hillsdale County’s Wheatland Township has been met with the resis­tance of 120 angry res­i­dents. Members from the group “Informed Cit­izens of Wheatland Township” gathered outside Wheatland Township Hall during the Oct. 8 township board meeting to voice their dis­ap­proval for the wind farm ini­tially pro­posed from Invenergy, an Illinois-based energy company. Chris Pollard, a res­ident of Wheatland Township, is leading the efforts to slow down con­struction of the wind farm. “The wind tur­bines are not . . .
  • Lawsuits, zoning snags delay BWL’s plans for wind farm
    The Lansing Board of Water & Light has discovered that expanding use of wind power is easier said than done. Lawsuits and zoning troubles have delayed construction of a massive wind farm in northern Michigan that would provide 89 megawatts of energy to the BWL, Lansing’s city-owned utility. Despite months of delays, BWL leaders say they will still meet the utility’s goal to provide 20% renewable energy by the end of 2020. Solar and landfill gas energy will make up . . .
  • Michigan embarks on renewable energy public, company information campaign
    A new initiative in Michigan to encourage and guide individuals and businesses in the transition to clean energy has been launched by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Public Service Commission. Called MI Power Grid, the initiative will serve as a centralized source for information and is designed to engage utility customers and other stakeholders to help integrate new clean energy technologies. It also will produce feedback to help utilities optimize grid investments for reliable, affordable electricity service. The MIPowerGrid.com . . .
  • Apex nearing site choices for its 136 Isabella project turbines
    Within the next couple of weeks, Apex Clean Energy LLC will start letting property owners in northern Isabella County know where they plan to build their 136 wind turbines. Originally, they were permitted to construct 157, but after switching to a shorter turbine that generates more power they found they could get by with fewer, said Albert Jongewaard, Apex’s development manager. Seven of the sites originally slated for turbines that won’t get them are in Vernon Township. They were removed . . .
  • Proposed wind farm meets resistance
    WHEATLAND TWP. – Plans to construct a 166-megawatt commercial wind farm in Hillsdale County have some residents up in arms. On Tuesday, upwards of two dozen protestors gathered outside Wheatland Township Hall to picket before a board of trustees meeting. They carried signs expressing their opposition to the project, which would see an unknown number of wind turbines erected in Adams, Moscow and Wheatland townships. Chris Pollard, one of the organizers behind Tuesday’s demonstration, said his group, which call themselves the . . .
  • State regulator gives Consumers Energy OK to recover cost of wind farm
    Lansing – State utility regulators on Monday approved Consumers Energy’s request to recover the full cost of its purchase of a 166-megawatt wind farm in Hillsdale County. On July 31, Consumers requested the Michigan Public Service Commission approve its bid to recover the full cost of its build-transfer contract with Crescent Wind LLC. The contract requires Crescent Wind to engineer, construct, install, start up, and test the wind farm in Adams, Moscow and Wheatland townships, then sell it to the Jackson-based . . .
  • Planners discuss turbines in master plan update
    BAD AXE – The Huron County Planning Commission finally heard updates about the revisions to the county’s Master Plan at this week’s meeting. Alan Bean, a project planner for Spicer Group, spoke at Wednesday’s meeting about the changes – mostly dealing with renewable energy – and the planners discussed what they wanted to be included. In a section dealing with wind turbines, the planners wanted information included about how residents voted down two separate proposals for wind overlay districts in 2017. Planner . . .
  • County planning commission gives final official greenlight to wind project
    An Isabella County wind project that created two years worth of drama received its final approval last week in almost anti-climactic fashion. The Isabella County Planning Commission gave its approval to site plans for 82 wind turbines slated for construction in Nottawa and Gilmore townships at a special meeting Sept. 23. It was the second meeting and a third was scheduled for Oct. 23, but that one was canceled. Approval of the site plans, making sure that individual turbines adhere . . .
  • DTE to request bids for solar and wind projects
    One of Michigan’s largest utilities is looking to purchase electricity from solar- and wind-powered producers to help meet government-mandated and its own renewable energy goals. DTE Energy is seeking to buy 25 to 200 megawatts of electricity from solar projects and 100 to 200 megawatts from wind projects, the company said. The company will consider projects reaching commercial operation between 2021 and 2023. The open bid will look for participation from large and small developers, the company said in a . . .
  • Sherwood planning passes wind turbine ordinance
    SHERWOOD TOWNSHIP – After 22 months of work, the Sherwood Township Planning Commission has recommend the first Wind Turbine control ordinance to its township board. After an 8-0 vote, it will go to the township for its Nov. 4 meeting. The detailed ordinance will need a few minor amendments but is essentially the draft put together by Chris Khorey of consultants McKenna and Associates. While it has the support of Concerned Citizens of Branch County, DTE Energy presented an analysis to . . .
  • Turbine opponents gets boost from commission
    Those opposed to the siting of wind turbines in the northwestern part of Branch County got a major boost from the Sherwood Township Planning Commission Tuesday night. The Planning Commission recommended on a 6-0 vote that the Township Board adopt an amendment to the Township Zoning Ordinance which would require a Special Use Permit for wind energy conversion systems. It would also establish what some regard as stringent regulations and standards. Sherwood Township officials have been dealing with the wind . . .
  • Batavia to wait on wind turbine zoning
    BATAVIA TOWNSHIP – The Batavia Township Planning Commission is not yet ready to tackle a wind turbine ordinance, Trustee Mike Crenshaw told the township board Tuesday night. At the Aug. 26 planning meeting, Crenshaw said: “a lot of people stood up and told us what their wishes were.” A petition of 96 residents plus six letters were given to the commission. The number of names has not increased to 122. “The gist of it is they did not want them or . . .
  • Turbines found within wind ordinance limits
    BAD AXE – A report about noise levels at Apple Blossom Wind Farm in Winsor and McKinley Townships found that all wind turbines were in compliance. Andrew Johnson, the wind facility manager for Apple Blossom, was present to lead a presentation about the findings. Johnson brought in Ben Copenhaver, an acoustics sound engineer from Minneapolis-based HDR Engineering who oversaw the noise testing, to explain the findings. The testing was conducted on four different turbine sites, labeled M1, M2, M4, and . . .
  • Wise Township to hold November referendum on turbine provisions
    Wise Township voters will decide in November whether they are okay with an amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance creating specific requirements for wind turbines. The amendment was adopted by the township board in January, said Township Clerk Doris Methner. Cliff Thompson, a township resident, filed petitions in February to take the amendment to an election. Election Day is Nov. 5 Wise Township in 2012 adopted general language providing for wind turbines under special use provision, she said. That language . . .
  • As zebras watch, Detroit Zoo announces switch to wind energy
    Royal Oak – Before an attentive audience of elected officials, reporters and zebras, the Detroit Zoo announced Thursday that it’s embracing a renewable energy plan and will ultimately draw all of its electricity from Michigan wind parks. The contract, part of DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program, will take effect in 2021. The wind parks, two in mid-Michigan’s Isabella County and one in the Upper Peninsula’s Delta County, are scheduled for completion in late 2020. The latest step in what the Detroit Zoological . . .
  • County to sign deal to back wind turbine decommissioning with $200,000 apiece
    Isabella County entered into an agreement Tuesday night that is intended to pay the bill when it comes time to tear down the turbines in a wind farm in the north-central part of the county. Under the agreement, Isabella Wind, LLC, will take out a $200,000 bond for each turbine it builds. The company is currently planning to build up to 136 turbines, a number scaled back from the 157 it was permitted to build by the county’s planning commission . . .
  • Isabella Township rejects proposals for go-it-alone on zoning
    For the second August in two years, voters in Isabella Township overwhelmingly rejected a ballot proposal that would have required the township board to leave the county’s zoning ordinance and do its own. By an even larger margin, they defeated a second ballot question that would have established a millage to pay for the new zoning. Township zoning was voted down, 216 no votes to 74 votes in favor of the township going alone. The millage failed by 240 against . . .
  • Voters narrowly accept controversial turbine ordinance
    ROGERS CITY – Voters in some parts of Presque Isle County voted narrowly on Tuesday to support a controversial wind turbine ordinance, while voters in Metz said yes to a five-year renewal of a tax for road repairs. According to unofficial results Tuesday, 322 voters in 11 of the county’s townships voted to keep the wind turbine rules written by the county Board of Commissioners, while 303 voters in those townships voted against the ordinance. That’s a difference of only 19 . . .
  • Wind farm east of Muskegon met with lawsuits, recall attempts
    MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – A proposed wind farm project at the border of Muskegon and Kent counties continues to be the subject of sharp division between residents, their elected officials and the project’s developer. Two lawsuits have been filed against Casnovia Township since it approved a special use permit for the wind farm in April. One lawsuit was filed by residents opposed to the project, and the other by the project’s developer, American Electric Power. Meanwhile, three members of the . . .
  • DTE plans to boost renewable energy output
    HURON COUNTY – Paul Funk, a land surveyor for DTE Energy, has sat in on plenty of Huron County Planning Commission meetings dealing with a proposed solar energy ordinance. During planner’s special meeting in July – held to further work on a solar energy ordinance for the county – Funk discussed landowner rights and letting people have the right to participate in solar projects. Then, Funk made a bold claim. “DTE has 1,000 megawatts of renewable,” Funk said. “The tax credits will be . . .
  • Zeeland removes wind turbines after falling ‘in the red’
    ZEELAND – Two 125-foot-tall wind turbines owned by the city of Zeeland were initially expected to pay for themselves in about 10 years, but are being retired and removed from Helder Park this week. The removal of the wind turbines is expected to be complete by Friday, Aug. 9. Work will be “substantially done” before that, said Andrew Boatright, Zeeland Board of Public Works utilities manager. Removing large underground foundation is expected to take a little longer, Boatright explained. The structures . . .
  • Firm gives opinion on county’s 2015 turbine ordinance
    BAD AXE – During this week’s Huron County Board of Commissioners meeting, Huron County Corporate Counsel Steve Allen spoke about a legal opinion related to the county’s long in-development master plan. The opinion, provided by Detroit-based Clark Hill PLC, had to deal with bringing re-powered wind turbines up to the standards of Huron County’s Wind Energy Facility Overlay Ordinance, which was revised in 2015. An opinion from Clark Hill was ordered last September after Commissioner John Bodis reviewed a draft of . . .