• Bloomer Township Board tables wind/solar ordinance vote
    BLOOMER TOWNSHIP – The Bloomer Township Board was set to vote on a wind energy ordinance Monday as recommended by its Planning Commission, but they voted instead to table it for another month. The Township Board met for its regular monthly meeting via Zoom. Besides township officials and the Daily News, no other audience members were present. The township’s Planning Commission previously held a public hearing in August 2020 regarding solar and wind energy zoning ordinance amendments, which was then recommended . . .
  • Montcalm Township public hearing on wind ordinance won’t occur until August
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – A wind energy ordinance public hearing for Montcalm Township residents will now not take place until August. The Montcalm Township Planning Commission drafted a proposed ordinance in August 2020, but has yet to solidify it with a public hearing and potential recommendation to the township board. The Planning Commission was last scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance on Dec. 2, but that meeting was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions. Additionally, the regular monthly township . . .
  • Heated rhetoric blows about wind ordinance at Douglass Twp. meeting
    DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The first-ever Zoom meeting of the Douglass Township Board saw 86 people participating remotely Wednesday evening, many of them voicing concerns about the township’s new wind turbine ordinance. The ordinance – which was approved by the township board on Nov. 4, 2020, after the Planning Commission hosted a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2020 – is now in the process of going to a voter referendum as soon as May. According to Township Clerk Ronda Snyder, 35 pages of petitions . . .
  • Wind turbine catches fire in Chandler Township
    CHANDLER TOWNSHIP – A wind turbine in Chandler Township caught fire in the early Christmas morning hours, damaging its powerhead and one of its blades. The turbine is part of the Harvest II Wind Project owned by Exelon Generation, the second part of a wind farm whose first phase began operations in 2008. Harvest II’s second phase started operating in 2012. Turbine #7 is located south of Crown Road and east of Gagetown Road. Jeff Smith, the Huron County building and . . .
  • Winfield Township residents voice concerns about wind project
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – A three-hour joint meeting of the Winfield Township Board and the Winfield Township Planning Commission on Monday evening included a good hour and a half of public comment on the subject of a pending wind energy facility ordinance. About 40 people attended the meeting, which was held via Zoom. (See accompanying story about legal advice provided by township-hired attorney Bill Fahey at the meeting.) Courtney Fisk of Winfield Township, an attorney herself, immediately clashed with Kyle O’Meara, the . . .
  • Attorney advises Winfield Township officials on pending wind ordinance
    WINFIELD TOWNSHIP – A special joint meeting of the Winfield Township Board and the Winfield Township Planning Commission featured legal advice on a pending wind energy facility ordinance, as well as conflict of interest scenarios involving township officials and a proposed wind farm project. About 40 people attended Monday evening’s three-hour meeting, which was held via Zoom. (See accompanying story about public comments.) For much of this year, the Planning Commission has been discussing how to create an appropriate wind energy . . .
  • Montcalm Wind project attracts support, controversy
    Montcalm County residents may have seen a handful of skinny poles with orangish-red balls on them placed at a few locations throughout the county. Four meteorological evaluation towers (MET towers, for short) have been erected with three more planned. While the towers were placed by Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy on private property with the landowner’s permission, the towers don’t indicate where future wind turbines may be placed – they are only there to gather wind data for planning the Montcalm Wind . . .
  • Huron Township planners grant special use permits for new turbines
    HURON TOWNSHIP – The Huron Township Planning Commission voted to accept a proposal for up to 21 new wind turbines to be built in the coming years. The vote was 4-0 to approve plans for the Deerfield II Wind Farm from Liberty Utilities, as three members of the planning commission had to recuse themselves from voting due to conflicts of interest. Chairman Keith Iseler and commission members Joanne Schulte and Jeff Phillips abstained because they are landowners in the proposed area . . .
  • Huron Township hosting public hearing for new wind turbines
    HURON TOWNSHIP – The Huron Township Planning Commission will be holding a special meeting and public hearing regarding an application for more wind turbines in the township. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 over the Zoom video conferencing application. The planning commission will consider whether to grant a special approval use permit for Liberty Power’s proposal for up to 21 new wind turbines, access roads, and underground electrical collection able network and other ancillary facilities. The . . .
  • Pierson Township Board approves ‘restrictive’ wind ordinance
    PIERSON TOWNSHIP – The Pierson Township Board approved a “restrictive” wind ordinance Tuesday night. The 3-1 vote to approve an amendment to the township’s zoning ordinance to provide for public utility facilities and wind energy conversion systems took place after a public hearing at which four people spoke. Pierson Township Supervisor Bill Van Til, Treasurer Kathy Hyrns and Trustee Melanie Gould voted in favor of the new wind ordinance while Clerk Sara Burkholder cast the lone opposing vote, saying she believes . . .
  • The Windy County? Montcalm Township plans Dec. 2 public hearing on changes to wind energy rules
    MONTCALM TOWNSHIP – As the question of whether Montcalm County should embrace or deny renewable wind energy is debated by its residents, local planners are taking steps to potentially clear the way for the construction of wind turbines. During Wednesday evening’s Montcalm Township Board meeting, Planning Commission Chairman Richard Karnatz informed the board that a public hearing will need to be scheduled to amend the township’s current “Private and Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Facilities” ordinance. “There will be a public hearing . . .
  • Commissioners send letter to DTE about turbine taxation issue
    BAD AXE – The Huron County board of commissioners unanimously agreed to send a letter to DTE Energy regarding a taxation issue on wind turbines commissioners have not received an answer to yet. The letter is in regard the transfer of ownership of the Big Turtle Wind Farm, mentioning how a few months ago when it was brought before the commissioners, they denied the motion twice because DTE did not address how the turbines would be taxed. The commissioners inquired about . . .
  • Apex wind rep encounters disbelieving Sidney Township residents
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – A representative from Apex Wind Energy made his pitch to a very skeptical audience at Monday’s Sidney Township Board meeting. Apex Development Manager Albert Jongewaard spoke to an audience of about 120 people who were gathered outdoors at Sidney Township Park due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said he’s been made aware of the many concerns of the public and said the goal of the company is to work with the community, not against it, in pursuing the . . .
  • Sidney Township residents, property owners voice opposition toward proposed wind turbine project
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – Having moved to rural Montcalm County from Grand Rapids two years ago, Rebecca and Andrew Murray have described their life on a farm while raising three children as a dream “30 years in the making.” “After five years of looking, putting in offers and having them fall through, we found our farm on W. Holland Lake Road,” Rebecca said. “The beauty of the rolling land, the peace and the quiet, have been an absolute blessing from the Lord . . .
  • Earth, wind and solar: Apex Energy, Ranger Power eager to bring renewable energy to Montcalm County with wind and solar farms
    In the hypothetical battle to determine which renewable resource would be best suited for Montcalm County – wind or solar – there’s been little debate. It’s apparently both. During the Oct. 28 annual investors meeting of the Montcalm Economic Alliance (MEA), representatives from Ranger Power, a utility-scale solar energy developer in Brooklyn, New York, and Apex Clean Energy, a utility-scale clean energy company in Charlottesville, Virginia, spoke on the subject of projects in development within Montcalm County. Ranger Power is in the . . .
  • Wind turbines prompt Wheatland residents to run for office
    A year after three Hillsdale County town­ships approved the con­struction of a wind farm stretching across Adams, Moscow, and Wheatland town­ships, Wheatland’s con­cerned cit­izens are running for office. Chris Pollard, one of the lead orga­nizers of the Con­cerned Cit­izens of Wheatland Township, is one of at least four township res­i­dents seeking to replace members on the advisory board which approved the wind farm’s con­struction. Pollard is running for Wheatland Township Super­visor in the Nov. 3 election. Also on the ticket . . .
  • People upset over proposed wind farm in Ingham County
    WHEATFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – You may start seeing massive wind turbines popping up in Ingham County over the next couple years. Apex Clean Energy is signing contracts to put them on land in the southeastern part of the county. “We don’t always have wind here,” said Wanda, who owns a farm in Wheatfield Township. “I just can’t fathom what made them think of bringing it here.” Wanda said she was surprised when she got the contract from Apex in the mail. . . .
  • Huron Township receives applications for future turbines
    HURON TOWNSHIP – Huron Township could be looking at having more wind turbines within its boundaries in the future. Site permits have reportedly been filed in the township to build more turbines by Algonquin Power, the parent company of Liberty Energy and owners of the Deerfield Wind Farm that stretches across Huron, Lincoln, Dwight, and Bloomfield townships. Al Wichert, the zoning administrator for the township, said the company cannot act further until the township gets more information about the site plan . . .
  • Batavia becomes latest township to limit wind turbines
    Batavia Township has become the latest township to take action against non-residential wind turbines. The Batavia Township Board passed an ordinance on Tuesday night which limits the height of industrial wind turbines to 330 feet. The ordinance would also put limits on commercial solar power units. This follows the Matteson Township Board approving an ordinance last March which established height limits for Wind Energy Conversion Systems. Special uses for Wind Energy Conversion Systems would only be available in General Agricultural, . . .
  • Presque Isle County to send letter to FAA
    ROGERS CITY – The Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners voted Friday to send a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration in support of its airport, which could lose GPS landing capability if a proposed wind farm is built in Moltke Township. The project would feature 66 wind turbines, each towering 574 feet above the ground, and each would probe into restricted airspace, the FAA determined recently. Nine of the towers would be in the line of approach for aircraft, which . . .
  • FAA: Wind farm could hurt Rogers City airport
    ROGERS CITY – A proposed Molke Township wind farm project could have a significant impact on Rogers City airport and its airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration has determined the height of the proposed wind turbines would be too tall and penetrate restricted airspace. The turbines would also present safety issues during landings and takeoffs unless alterations to the plan are made. Presque Isle County Airport Manager Al Stiller said the FAA notified the county-owned airport of its findings and said nine . . .
  • Opinion: Continuing renewable energy subsidies costs taxpayers, threatens energy markets
    The production of wind and solar power has long been subsidized by the federal government through two tax credit programs. One is the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit, which was originally enacted in 1992. This provides a credit per kilowatt-hour to wind operators for electricity produced during the first ten years of operation. It was set to expire in 1999, but has been extended 12 times, and will currently expire at the end of 2020 unless it is extended again. . . .
  • DTE puts Branch wind farm on hold
    A plan by energy provider DTE for a wind farm in Branch County is on hold. Since 2017, the energy giant has been signing leases for farm land in Batavia, Matteson, Sherwood and Union townships as sites of large, industrial wind turbines and associated equipment to generate power to the grid. According to DTE spokesperson Cynthia Hecht, given the current economic climate and other factors, DTE ise suspending efforts to develop a wind energy project in this area. The statement . . .
  • Energy company looking at potential 50,000 acre wind farm project in 11 Montcalm County townships
    SIDNEY TOWNSHIP – Montcalm County residents could see a local wind farm project sooner than they think – and it could encompass up to 50,000 acres throughout 11 townships. Albert Jongewaard, development manager for Apex Clean Energy in Virginia, presented some initial details about his company’s wind farm goals for Montcalm County during Monday evening’s Sidney Township Board meeting. Jongewaard himself is based at the company’s Minnesota office, but he has been spending a lot of time in central Michigan, including at . . .
  • Wind turbine zoning approved; millages pass
    BRANCH COUNTY – The Sherwood wind turbine zoning ordinance will take effect, approved by township voters, 321 to 157. Branch County Concerned Citizens had mounted a campaign to lobby to create the law and to pass it. A petition to put the proposal to a vote was filed after it was passed unanimously by the township planning commission and board. Incumbent supervisor James Smith had to recused himself from votes on the ordinance because he had signed leases with DTE for . . .
  • Lansing Board of Water & Light recommends 50% clean energy by 2030, carbon neutrality by 2040
    The plan does not spell out exactly how the BWL would reach carbon neutrality by 2040, but it could get there both by reducing the fossil fuels it burns and by purchasing carbon offsets.
  • Seville Twp. referendum to decide fate of wind ordinance
    Seville Township officials have been debating the merits of wind turbines for the past several years. In January the board narrowly approved a zoning ordinance by a 3-2 vote establishing regulations to allow for the construction of turbines in the township. However, a number of residents were still not pleased saying the ordinance was “too restrictive.” That led to a petition drive spearheaded by Doug Duffy to get a referendum placed on the August primary election ballot that would nullify . . .
  • Gratiot County wind farm development shows potential for Montcalm County
    For those on the eastern edge of Montcalm County, traveling to and fro across the county line, a new series of looming, towering objects now await them, dotted across the horizon. Those towers – located in Gratiot County’s North Shade and New Haven townships – will soon number 60 in total, with enormous blades spinning at their top, all while producing energy spread out over 24,000 acres of farmland. Not 100 yards beyond E. County Line Road – the dividing line of the . . .
  • Across U.S., green mega-projects to power cities aren’t playing well in Mayberry
    While the coronavirus recession has sapped demand for energy and put fracking companies on the ropes – with hundreds of bankruptcies declared so far – the renewables that would replace oil and coal are facing a growing challenge that will last long after the pandemic: The resistance of rural communities to mammoth solar or wind farms that can power cities. From New York to California, local opposition is thwarting wind and solar projects seen as essential to transitioning from fossil . . .
  • MPSC: DTE’s energy plan approved, rates frozen until 2022
    The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved DTE Electric Co.’s amended renewable energy plan and asked the company to find ways for smaller or community-based projects to be considered in future renewable energy investment proposals. In February, the commission recommended substantial changes in DTE’s proposed integrated resources plan (Case No. U-18232), citing a lack of competitive bidding. DTE filed an amended renewable energy plan in April that the commission later approved but noted that the minimum size requirements effectively precluded . . .
  • Midland, Saginaw townships could sport 70 wind turbines by 2021
    Midland and Saginaw counties could be the location for DTE Energy’s new wind power project by 2021. If developed, the new wind park – which DTE named “Meridian” – will use land in Porter and Mount Haley townships in Midland and stretch south into Jonesfield Township in Saginaw. DTE officials say they expect to install about 70 turbines involving the cooperation of over 700 landowners. The Meridian Wind project has not yet received final approval from the Michigan Public Service . . .
  • Commissioners having issues with DTE wind farm documentation
    BAD AXE – The Huron County Board of Commissioners once again unanimously rejected financial documentation from DTE regarding the Big Turtle Wind Farm near Harbor Beach. Mary Babcock, the legislative chair, said during Tuesday’s board of commissioners meeting that the documentation they received from DTE did not answer a question pertaining to property taxes. The commissioners asked whether they would continue paying the same tax rates as the wind farm’s former owners, Heritage Sustainable Energy, or appeal so that they would . . .
  • Michigan Court of Appeals upholds Delta County Circuit court decision regarding wind farms
    The Michigan State Court of Appeals has upheld a Delta County Circuit Court decision to dismiss challenges to zoning issues regarding the construction of wind farms in the Garden Peninsula. The case began in 2018, when residents from Delta County brought up a case in Delta County circuit court challenging the Delta County Board of Commissioner’s decision to grant conditional use permits to Heritage Sustainable Energy and Heritage Garden Wind Farm for the construction of 36 wind turbines on land . . .
  • County commissioners, DTE disagree over wind farm finances
    HURON COUNTY – The Huron County Board of Commissioners rejected approving financial documents from DTE regarding its acquired wind farm near Harbor Beach in the county’s last meeting of April. DTE Energy had purchased 10 wind turbines that make up Phase 1 of the Big Turtle Wind Farm from Heritage Sustainable Energy in January. Commissioner Mary Babcock, the legislative committee chair, said the commissioners want DTE to follow the same tax schedule rules, escrow account deposit scheduling, and to change the . . .
  • West Michigan township officials narrowly survive recall election
    MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – Two Casnovia Township officials narrowly avoided losing their seats after residents voted not to recall them in a special election Tuesday. Township residents petitioned last year to recall Casnovia Township Clerk Jennie Powell and Trustee Daniel Winell, both Republicans, over their voting records on a controversial wind farm project that divided township residents and their elected officials for over a year. However, Powell beat nonpartisan challenger Carrie Schuman by 245 to 209 votes, according to unofficial . . .
  • West Michigan officials facing recall election over controversial wind farm project
    MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – Two Casnovia Township officials are facing a recall election next month over their voting records on a controversial wind farm project that divided township residents and their elected officials for over a year. After residents filed a petition for their recall, Casnovia Township Clerk Jennie Powell and Trustee Daniel Winell, both Republicans, will be vying to keep their positions for the next seven months when voters cast ballots in the May 5 election. Voters, casting primarily . . .
  • DTE Energy submits revised energy plan
    DTE Energy Co. in Detroit has filed a revised energy plan that has accepted all recommendations issued Feb. 20 by the Michigan Public Service Commission to increase renewable energy production, create more solar power resources, and boost energy waste reduction goals. “One of the key elements of our plan is our commitment to increase our annual energy savings goals to 1.75 percent in 2020 and 2 percent in 2021,” DTE said in a statement. “Expanding these energy efficiency goals will . . .
  • Wind turbine proposal under FAA review
    ROGERS CITY – The Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating whether proposed wind turbines in Moltke Township would obstruct air traffic at the Rogers City Airport. The FAA is evaluating 46 potential wind turbine locations, Presque Isle County Airport Manager Alan Stiller said. Stiller said he was told by the proposed wind turbine developers there would be 66 wind turbine locations. The FAA performs obstruction evaluations whenever a tall structure is planned within a 25-mile radius of the airport. He said a . . .
  • Matteson passes wind turbine control law
    With no public comments Wednesday night, the Matteson Township board unanimously passed a planning ordinance amendment to regulate wind turbines. The large crowd of those who supported the law gave both the township and planning boards an ovation. Matteson becomes the second, after Sherwood Township, to enact a wind turbine law which requires special use permits, in the four township area targeted by DTE for a major wind farm. Union Township has no zoning. Batavia Township declared a moratorium until . . .
  • Wind turbines are costly and not so environmentally friendly
    As stated in my Dec. 5, 2019, Monroe News letter to the editor (There’s More to the Renewable Energy Story) wind turbine generators only generate electricity 30 to 40% of the time and suffer from a cube power law: If the wind speed drops by 10% electrical output drops 30%. What’s not reported or is common knowledge is that large wind turbine generators consume electricity from the electrical grid to operate and manufacturers of large wind turbine generators do not . . .
  • Planning board approves wind turbine ordinance
    The Matteson Township Planning Commission Wednesday approved an amendment to its zoning ordinance “to permit wind energy conversion systems, and to establish regulations and standards for them.” The regulation, which requires all wind turbines to get special use permits, will go the township board March 4. Toledo attorney Joshua Nolan, representing Concerned Citizens of Branch County, objected to DTE claims which had circulated in a letter around the township. “You have every right to protect your residents,” he said. The . . .
  • Sherwood wind turbine ordinance goes to voters
    Voters in Sherwood Township will decide Aug. 4 if they want the board approved “Wind Energy Conversion Systems” zoning ordinance to take effect. The controversial law to regulate large industrial wind turbines was passed in December by the township board after nearly two years of work and public hearings by its planning commission and township board. Those opposed filed a notice within seven days to stop enforcement of the law and collected a petition within 30 days to put it . . .
  • State officials seek big changes to DTE’s long-term plan for electricity
    DTE must go back to the drawing board and rewrite its 15-year operating plan in ways that could lead to the utility accelerating efforts to burn less coal, use more wind power and communicate more openly with community groups about pollution, according to a ruling Thursday by state regulators. The Michigan Public Service Commission ordered DTE to extensively revise its long-range plan, which will decide how millions of Michiganders get their power. And it will shape how much they pay . . .
  • Referendum on Aug. ballot to reject Seville Twp. wind ordinance
    The wind ordinance narrowly approved by the Seville Township board last month is now in limbo. A group of citizens has collected enough petition signatures to get a referendum rejecting the ordinance on the August primary election ballot. In the meantime the ordinance will not go into effect pending the outcome of the vote. The board had OK’d the ordinance that would have allowed the construction of wind turbines in the township by a 3-2 margin, with Supervisor Tish Mallory, . . .
  • Eaton County judge dismisses solar company’s lawsuit, says township can enact ordinances
    BENTON TWP. – An Eaton County judge has dismissed a Minnesota-based solar and wind energy company’s lawsuit claiming an interim zoning ordinance put in place by Benton Township to block a proposed 850-acre solar array is not valid. The ruling, issued late last month and signed by Circuit Court Judge John Maurer this week, also denied a request from Sandstone Creek Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy, for a preliminary injunction on the interim zoning ordinance, enacted last November. . . .
  • Construction workers say Apex has broken promise to hire local
    Unionized construction workers are accusing the company behind a major wind energy project in north-central Isabella County of breaking a promise to hire local workers, and plan to let people know about it all week. Approximately 55 union workers picketed to let people know about it on Monday, said Chris Taylor, a representative with the Construction Labors Local 1098. Their focus of their ire is Apex Clean Energy LLC, but because the company’s office is tucked back into Rosebush they . . .
  • Mid-Michigan union protests for local workforce for Isabella County wind farm construction
    The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Local 1098 took to the picket line in Rosebush Monday to protest who is working on construction of a wind farm in Isabella County. The wind farm, called Isabella Wind, is the largest renewable energy project ever created in Michigan, according to its developer, Apex Clean Energy, Inc. Chris Taylor, the marketing representative for the union chapter, said that Apex Clean Energy is not living up to their end of a deal. . . .
  • No new activity on wind turbines in Presque Isle County
    ROGERS CITY –Developers with Sstar Ridge-Run Energy have been in contact with Presque Isle County officials, but have yet to submit formal documents for a planned wind energy project. “There has been no type of application for any type of zoning permit,” Toby Kuznicki, chairman of the county’s planning commission, said. Kuznicki said the planning commission recently learned a marked-up Google Map had been submitted to county Building and Zoning Official Mike Libby, but Kuznicki did not have any further . . .
  • 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. . . .