Is it windy enough in Marenisco?
A company is recording wind data to find out if a wind farm would be feasible there.
Third Planet Windpower put up a 60-meter tower during the spring, said Bud Leigh, director of development for the company’s North Central region, based in Bad Axe.
It would add new jobs, a source of green power and contribute to property taxes, he said.
It takes 18 months to two years to generate enough information to decide whether to go ahead with a project, he said, but the company will have a good idea after one year. Fifteen to 16 mph winds are good for an annual average.
Electricity created would be shipped to a company in need of green power, Leigh said.
The electricity would be sent through a transmission grid. At an anticipated 1.5 megawatts, it would be enough to power 250 to 300 homes, Leigh said.
Wind power reduces carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the need for fossil fuels.
“We’re totally committed to the environment,” Leigh said. “That’s what wind power is all about.”
The company was attracted to Marenisco because wind speeds looked good.
A wind farm can create positives for the township.
There would be construction jobs while the farm is being built (probably over two years), Leigh said. There would be royalty payments to landowners, taxes paid and an average of one job per seven to eight wind turbines.
The company continues to work on finding land for the wind farm.
Leigh wasn’t aware of any other wind farms in the U.P. The closest is near the Mackinac Bridge, he said.
The new machines are quiet, not affecting wildlife, he said. Wind turbines rise about 390 feet. Few trees would have to be knocked down.
The environment wouldn’t be hurt by the development, he believes. “That’s our primary objective,” he said. “The environment is something we have the utmost concern for.”
The testing equipment is pretty far back in the woods, township supervisor Bob Raisanen said. “It’s a long way from anything happening,” he cautioned.
If it happens, the wind farm wouldn’t be visible from a highway, he said.
By Jason Juno
Globe staff writer
30 August 2007
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