Officials from Noble Environmental Power, LLC say construction of the Noble Thumb Windpark will not resume this spring as the company originally anticipated in November.
“The best case scenario is this fall,” said Noble Development Manager Jeanette Hagen.
Hagen said the company plans to erect a total of 46 turbines at the Bingham Township location.
Originally the company planned to install 32, then requested to add nine more to the planned windpark during the Huron County Planning Commission’s March 7 meeting.
During that March 7 meeting, Russell Lundberg, Huron County Building and Zoning director, said all of the provisions of the zoning ordinance had been met, and the board approved the revision to Noble Environmental Power’s Bingham Township Wind Energy Plan.
In order to fulfill its contract with Consumers Energy Co., Hagen said Noble felt the extra turbines needed to be installed in order 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, she 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.
She said the company opted to connect with the International Transmission Co. (ITC) to the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) rather than through DTE. As a result, construction was put on hold 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 recently received a revised study back from the MISO group. The company now is starting the interconnection agreement legal paperwork, Hagen said. In the meantime, Noble is working on a project that’s been in the works in Sanilac County in either Delaware, Minden, Marian, Bridgehampton and/or Washington townships.
“We have most of our land signed up down there, now we have to site all the turbines and do all the township paperwork for permitting,” Hagen said. “… We’ll hopefully have more information in the next month or so.”
By Kate Finneren-Hessling
The Huron Daily Tribune
17 May 2007
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