Resource Documents: Michigan (20 items)
Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.
Farmers vs. lakers: Agriculture, amenity, and community in predicting opposition to United States wind energy development
Author: Bessette, Douglas; and Mills, Sarah
Utility-scale wind energy is now the largest source of renewable electricity in the US. Wind energy’s continued growth remains contingent upon finding adequate resource potential and transmission capacity, along with communities willing to host turbines. While previous research on the social acceptance of wind has relied predominantly on case studies, resident surveys, and reviews of development practices and strategies, here we use a new method. We use a wind contention survey of energy professionals (n = 46) to assess the contention associated with 69 existing wind farms in four US Midwest states and identify underlying characteristics, i.e., agricultural, land-use, and demographic characteristics, that may have predisposed communities to either support or oppose wind farm development. We then use publicly available data to parameterize and model those characteristics using wind farm contention as our dependent variable. Our analysis shows that a greater proportion of production-oriented farming and fewer natural amenities in a community are associated with reduced opposition to wind farm development. Additionally, and perhaps counterintuitively, communities with a greater percentage of residents that voted Republican in the 2016 Presidential election demonstrate less opposition. Rather than negating the need for employing best practices in community engagement, stakeholder development, and participatory decision-making processes, this study can help prepare developers for the type of reception that might await them in potential host communities.
Douglas L. Bessette, Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Sarah B. Mills, Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 72, February 2021, 101873
Download original document: “Farmers vs. lakers: Agriculture, amenity, and community in predicting opposition to United States wind energy development”
Michigan, Noise, Ordinances, Siting •
Wind Energy Conversion Systems Zoning Ordinance
Author: Monitor Township, Bay County, Mich.
Section 3.48 [excerpts]
This Ordinance is intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Township and to encourage the safe, effective, efficient and orderly development and operation of wind energy resources in the Township while preserving and protecting the character and the stability of residential, agricultural, recreational, commercial, industrial and other areas within the Township.
Adverse Sound Character: Sound that causes building rattle, is impulsive, tonal, or has low-frequency bass rumble.
Ambient is defined as the sound pressure level exceeded 90% of the time over a 96-hour measurement period with daytime/nighttime division.
Lmax (LAmax or LCmax): The maximum dB(A) or dB(C) sound level measured using the “fast response” setting of the sound meter (equivalent to 0.125 second exponential averaging time).
L10 is the noise level exceeded for 10% of the time of the measurement duration. This is often used to give an indication of the upper limit of fluctuating noise, such as that from road traffic.
L90 is the noise level exceeded for 90% of the time of the measurement duration and is commonly used to determine ambient or background noise level.
Utility-Scale (also known as Commercial and Large-Scale) Wind Energy Conversion System: A wind energy conversion system greater than sixty (60) feet in total height (tip height) intended to generate power from wind primarily to supplement the greater electric utility grid. Utility-Scale WECS includes accessory uses such as, but not limited to, SCADA towers, anemometers, or electric substations.
Review Standards for Commercial Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS).
Height and Scenic Vista. The maximum height of any Utility-Scale WECS is 500 feet. The height of a WECS is measured from the lowest natural grade at the base of the pole to the highest point of the WECS when a blade is in its vertical orientation.
Abandonment. Any WECS that is not used to produce energy for a period of six (6) successive months or longer shall be deemed to be abandoned and shall be promptly dismantled and removed from the property in accordance with the decommissioning regulations of this ordinance, unless the applicant receives a written extension of that period from the Township Board in a case involving an extended repair schedule for good cause.
Vibrations. Wind turbines shall not create vibrations that are detectable by humans on non-participating properties.
Safety Manual. The Applicant must provide an unredacted copy of the manufacturer’s safety manual for each model of turbine without distribution restraints to be kept at the Township Hall and other locations deemed necessary by Planning Commission or local first responders. The Manual should include standard details for an industrial site such as materials, chemicals, fire, access, safe distances during WECS failure, processes in emergencies, etc.
Noise. Applicant shall provide an initial sound modeling report and, within six (6) months of commencing operation of the WECS, a postconstruction report for the project with a schedule and documentation …
Setback. The minimum setback from any property line of a Non- Participating Landowner or any road right-of-way shall be no less than 2000 feet. The minimum setback from any property line of a Participating Landowner shall be no less than 1640 feet.
Communication Interference. Each WECS and Testing Facilities shall be designed, constructed and operated so as not to cause radio and television or other communication interference. In the event that verified interference is experienced and confirmed by a licensed engineer, the Applicant must produce confirmation that said interference had been resolved to residents! satisfaction within ninety (90) days of receipt of the complaint. Any such complaints shall follow the process stated in Complaint Resolution sections.
Infrastructure Wiring. All electrical connection systems and lines from the WECS to the electrical grid connection shall be located and maintained underground. …
Road Damage. The Contractor shall inform the Bay County Road Commission (BCRC) of all the roads they propose to use as haul routes to each construction site. This shall be done prior to beginning any construction at any site. The identified haul routes shall be videotaped by either the BCRC or Contractor prior to the beginning of construction and after construction has been completed. Upon review of the before and after videos and physical review of each roadway, the BCRC shall determine what damage, if any, was caused by the Contractor! s vehicles. If it is determined damage to the road was caused by the Contractor! s vehicles or activities, the Contractor shall work with the BCRC to determine the extent of the roadway repair needed. This may include, but is not limited to, crush and shaping the roadway, placing additional aggregate, placing a new chip seal surface (two courses minimum), placing a new asphalt surface or a combination thereof. In all cases, the roadway shall be constructed in accordance with the BCRC! s current specifications and requirements associated with the type of roadway to be installed. All costs for said work shall be the responsibility of the Contractor.
Shadow Flicker. No amount of Shadow Flicker may fall on or in a Non-Participating Parcel. … Participant parcels shall not exceed 30 hours of shadow flicker per
Strobe Effect. No amount of Strobe Effect may fall on or in any parcel. Under no circumstances, shall a WECS or Testing Facility produce strobe effect on properties.
Voltage. The Applicant shall be responsible for compensation to residents for property, including livestock, health or other damage by stray voltage caused by a WECS. The Applicant shall demonstrate WECS prohibits stray voltage, surge voltage, and power from entering ground.
Regulation of WECS Commercial and Industrial Noise. To preserve quality of life, peace, and tranquility, and protect the natural quiet of the environment. This ordinance establishes the acoustic baseline, background sound levels for project design purposes, and limits the maximum noise level emissions for commercial and industrial developments. Residents shall be protected from exposure to noise emitted from commercial and industrial development by regulating said noise.
Non-Compliance with Standards. The Township Board reserves the right to require WECS Applicant to shut down any WECS unit that does not meet ordinance requirements until such WECS unit meets ordinance requirements or is removed.
a) No WECS shall generate or permit to be generated audible noise from commercial or industrial permitted facilities that exceeds 45 dBA (Lmax) or 55 dBC (Lmax) (dBC-to-dBA ratio of 10 dB per ANSI standard S12.9 Part 4 Annex D) for any duration, at a property line or any point within any property.
b) No WECS shall generate or permit to be generated from commercial or industrial permitted facilities any acoustic, vibratory, or barometric oscillations in the frequency range of 0.1 to 1 Hz that is detectable at any time and for any duration by confirmed human sensation or exceeds a sound pressure level from 0.1 to 20 Hz of 50 dB(unweighted) re 20 µPA or exceeds an RMS acceleration level of 50 dB(unweighted) re 1 micro-g by instrumentation at a landowner’s property line or at any point within a landowner’s property.
c) No WECS shall generate or permit to be generated from commercial or industrial permitted facilities any vibration in the low-frequency range of 0.1 to 20 Hz, including the 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 Hertz octave bands that is perceivable by human sensation or exceeds an rms acceleration level of 50 dB(unweighted) re 1 micro-g at any time and for any duration either due to impulsive or periodic excitation of structure or any other mechanism at a landowner’s property line or at any point within landowner’s property.
d) A noise level measurement made in accordance with methods in section “Noise Measurement and Compliance” that is higher than 45 dBA (Lmax) or 55 dBC (Lmax), adjusted for the penalty assessed for a tonal noise condition, shall constitute prima facie evidence of a nuisance.
e) An acoustic, vibratory or barometric measurement documenting oscillations associated to commercial or industrial permitted facilities with levels exceeding the noise limits shall constitute prima facie evidence of a nuisance.
f) All commercial and industrial activity shall comply with limits and restrictions anywhere at any time on another property.
g) Leq 1-sec shall be used for all measurements and modeling.
Noise Measurement and Compliance. …
Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) Site Plan Review Procedure. …
Economic Impact. …
—Adopted March 25, 2019
Wind Energy Conversion Systems Zoning Ordinance
Three estimates of decommissioning cost
Brian R. Zelenak, Manager, Regulatory Administration, Xcel Energy, February 8, 2011 – re: Nobles Wind Energy Project, Minnesota, 1.5-MW turbines. [download]
A conservative estimate for a decommissioning expense is approximately four-hundred forty-five thousand dollars ($445,000) per turbine (2009 dollars).*
*Includes allowance for salvage value and based on total dismantling cost estimate for the project of 8.7% of the total plant balance of $510,965,406, equaling an estimated dismantling cost [of] $44.5 million or $445,000 per turbine. [NWW note: The Nobles project consists of 134 1.5-MW turbines, not 100, which would make the assumed 8.7% decommissioning cost $332,000 per turbine (2009 dollars).]
[$445,000 in 2009 is equivalent to $533,000 in 2019, $332,000 to $397,000.]
Wenck Associates, April 2017 – re: Palmer’s Creek Wind Farm, Minnesota, 2.5-MW turbines. [download]
The estimated cost to decommission Palmer’s Creek Wind Farm was provided by Fagen, Inc., construction contractor, in a letter dated November 16, 2016. The estimate is considered to be the current dollar value (at time of approval) of salvage value and removal costs. The estimated salvage value of each turbine will be based upon the worst-case scenario assuming the only salvage value of the turbine is from scrapping the steel. The estimate was based upon the total weight of one turbine, which is 275 tons consisting primarily of steel. Because it does not separate the scrap value of all the constituent materials, the estimate is very conservative. Also, it is highly likely that there would be opportunities for re-sale for reuse of all or some of the turbines or turbine components. Based on the current estimate, the cost of decommissioning is $7,385,822 with a potential scrap return value of $445,500 [net cost of $385,573 per turbine, $403,881 in 2019 dollars].
Henry Blattner, Senior Estimator, Blattner Energy, to Ryan Pumford, Nextera Energy, 2017 – re: Tuscola Wind III, Michigan, 2-MW turbines. [download]
To mobilize a crew and equipment, take down a GE wind turbine and haul off site the cost would be $675,000.00. Assuming a salvage value of $150 per ton and weight of 188 tons for the steel in the turbine and tower we [would] be able to reduce this cost by $28,200. The total price minus the salvaged steel would be $646,800.00.
Aesthetics, Human rights, Impacts, Iowa, Michigan, Videos •
Author: Pichan, Stave
Do you hear the sound keeps my kids awake
In fields where peace used to reign?
Notice the horizon, the obstructed view
All I see are those blades
The turning and whirling, the deafening sound
Killin’ the birds, spoiling the ground around me
The shadow it flickers on the walls and the pictures
An Iowa farmer has been taken by charmers
Maybe it’s time to put up a sign
I’m an just Iowa farmer who was taken by charmers
—Steve Pichan 2019
Singer/songwriter Steve Pichan and his wife often travel through mid-Michigan where massive windfarms have sprouted over the past few years. It wasn’t long ago when the farms were in limited concentrated areas, but with each trip to the North Country, Steve noticed more and more turbines, first dotting the skyline and then suddenly polluting the once pristine horizons.
That observation got Pichan to wondering whether or not there were farmers who weren’t thrilled with the towering giants right behind barns and ominously rising above homes and fields. A little internet research was all it took for him to learn what farmers and others already knew; wind turbines aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Common problems with them involves the thousands of bats and eagles killed by the rotating blades and an effect known as “shadow flicker”, caused when rotating wind turbine blades cast shadows through constrained openings such as windows and neighboring properties. Occasionally turbines catch on fire and, due to the average height, most fire departments aren’t able to properly extinguish. Property values also take hits when windfarms are nearby. Such examples are just a few of the many complaints Pichan discovered.
So, off to the northern Michigan with guitar in the trunk, Pichan set off to put his thoughts and discoveries into song, one empathizing with the plight of a fictitious farmer in Iowa who lives under the shade of multiple turbines. The farmer knows he got a bum rap when he sold out land to energy corporations that could care less about his scarred land and access roads that once provided fertile soil for profitable crops.
“Iowa Farmer” was written, according to Pichan, to shine a light on the windfarm debacle through art and expose this concerning issue often ignored by media and those profiting from the destruction of once peaceful farms.