• 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. . . .
  • 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 . . .