Wind Power News: Michigan
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
Voters in Osceola County’s Sherman Township have overturned regulations for wind turbines in referendums twice in recent years. That was enough to make Heritage Sustainable Energy give up on plans to locate wind turbines there. Now, Next Era Energy wants to locate wind turbines in the township and local officials are looking for a fresh set of regulations that could allow that to happen. But the same local activist group that so far has been able to help keep the . . .
The World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Community Noise” state: “Measurable effects of noise on sleep begin at…levels of about 30 dB. The WHO’s report “Burden of Disease From Environmental Noise” states: “Epidemiological evidence indicates that those chronically exposed to high levels of environmental noise have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction. Thus, noise pollution is considered not only an environmental nuisance but also a threat to public health.” http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/136466/e94888.pdf The effects of exposure to audible and . . .
BAD AXE — A move to expand the county’s Wind Energy Zoning Committee to include a member of DTE Energy was shot down by county commissioners earlier this week. Mike Serafin, project manager at DTE, sought a spot on the committee, which is a subcommittee of the planning commission that handles issues related to sound, location and other factors affecting the county’s wind turbine ordinance. A conflict of interest and non-residency status were deciding factors in a 4-2 vote disallowing . . .
BAD AXE — DTE Energy will be acquiring 50 percent — 44 turbines — of NextEra’s Pheasant Run Wind Project in the next month, according to DTE officials. DTE has been working with Jeff Smith, Huron County director of building and zoning, to draft decommissioning bonds to legally transfer the ownership from NextEra to DTE. Matt Wagner of DTE updated the Huron County Board of Commissioners about the language of the drafting. “One of the important details as you all . . .
The World Health Organization examined the scientific evidence of the effect of noise on children’s learning and concluded: “… noise exposure was associated with deficits in long-term memory and reading comprehension … reliable evidence indicates the adverse effects of chronic noise exposure on children’s cognition.” http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/136466/e94888.pdf A recent scientific review notes that “… anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a connection between turbines and a constellation of symptoms, including nausea, vertigo, blurred vision, unsteady movement, and difficulty reading, remembering, and thinking,” http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a20/ . . .
Consumers Energy may be preparing a sound mitigation plan for Lake Winds Energy Park, but it’s not conceding that it ever violated the noise standards in the first place. In the company’s brief for its appeal of Mason County Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals rulings on Lake Winds Energy Park, Consumers Energy Attorney Adam Smith alleges that the county violated its own ordinance and that its sound consultant, HGC, violated both the processes specified in the ordinance and . . .
The Mason County Planning Commission is continuing its crash course in sound engineering this month as it hopes to have a proposed final sound mitigation testing plan for Lake Winds Energy Park to discuss at its first meeting in April. On Tuesday, the planners heard from HGC Engineering’s Ian Bonsma, who walked them through Consumers Energy’s proposed changes to the proposed testing plan for the wind turbine development. HGC, the county’s consultant, discussed its opinions on revisions that Consumers suggested . . .
At the outset, it was seen as a beautiful partnership: the rolling hills and farmland just south of Ludington hosting nearly 60 towering wind turbines, producing clean energy. In the 15 months since the Lake Winds Energy Park came online, the relationship between operator Consumers Energy and many residents in that area near Lake Michigan has become less idyllic and more contentious. There have been disputes between company and county over zoning interpretations, a civil lawsuit and allegations of adverse . . .
PETOSKEY — Newly approved updates to Emmet County’s wind energy systems policy will set limits for the levels of low-frequency noise that the systems can generate, as well as new requirements to furnish officials with equipment maintenance plans. The county board of commissioners approved the policy updates Thursday. “I think we did a lot of homework on this,” said county commissioner Dan Plasencia, who also serves on the county planning commission that recommended the changes. The updates would include new . . .
Utility-grade turbines make audible sound (we can hear it) and low-frequency sound (we can’t hear it, but our bodies react). Low-frequency sound is measured with specialized instruments and the results interpreted by experienced audiologists or engineers. Low-frequency sound has been studied for decades by researchers in buildings, airplanes, rock concerts and by the Army. Turbines make many audible sounds: swooshing from air passing over the blades, and thumps or whines from the motor in combination with the blades. The type . . .