HURON COUNTY – The planning commission here approved a revision to Noble Environmental Power’s Bingham Township Wind Energy plan which will add nine turbines to the planned windpark.
The company plans to erect 41 turbines instead of the 32 originally slated to be installed. The 32 original turbines will remain in their proposed locations, said Noble Development Manager Jeanette Hagen.
The additional nine turbines will be constructed near the original 32 in order to prevent further studies.
“All nine (turbines) are in compliance with the zoning ordinance,” said Russell Lundberg, Huron County Building and Zoning director. “All of the provisions of the zoning ordinance have been met.”
In order to fulfill its contract with Consumers Energy Co., Noble felt nine more turbines needed to be installed to meet energy needs. The estimated amount of energy produced from the 32 turbines may not have met the demands based on the company’s wind measuring over the last year and a half, Hagen said.
The initial 48 megawatt windpark was delayed in August because of issues related to the interconnection of the project to the transmission system and DTE Energy’s power lines. The issues originally were expected to have been resolved before the start of the 2006 construction season. After several months of negotiations regarding Noble’s interconnection agreements, DTE found it needed an exemption from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) before it would proceed, Hagen told the Huron Daily Tribune in November.
The company now plans to connect with the International Transmission Co. (ITC) to the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) rather than through DTE Energy, Hagen said.
Construction of the turbines will not begin until the company receives the go ahead from ITC and MISO to connect to the national grid system.
MISO studies the electrical system’s carrying capacity, so as not to overload the system which causes blackouts.
Noble hopes to receive the OK from ITC and begin the planned windpark project by the start of this year’s third quarter, Hagen said.
“We hope to be online with the 41 turbines in Bingham Township and the seven turbines in Sheridan Township by June 2008,” Hagen said.
The company hopes crews will be able to pour foundations and finish the remaining access roads during the third quarter and begin constructing the turbines in the spring of 2008.
“We’re hoping to get back in the game again,” Hagen said. “We seem to have gotten through a lot of red tape (issues) we were having, and hopefully this is the year.”
Members of the audience further expressed concern about the windpark, additional turbines and possible sound levels during the session.
Among other business, the planning commission approved a special use permit from Nextel West Corp. to construct a 260-foot high wireless telecommunication tower in Sheridan Township. The tower will work in conjunction with two other area towers in order to improve service along a portion of M-53.
The planning commission’s next meeting is schedule for 7:30 p.m. April 4 at the Huron County Building.
By Megan Frounfelter
The Huron Daily Tribune
8 March 2007
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