Officials hope a bill proposing 10% of Michigan’s energy be from non-renewable resources by 2015 can help stimulate wind development in Michigan’s Thumb region.
On Thursday, the newly-formed MI Energy Future coalition launched a public-relations offensive, hosting press conferences throughout the state. The group is supporting legislation in the Michigan legislature that would require the state to generate 10% of its power from renewable resources, such as wind, hydro-electric and solar energy.
The bill, introduced by Frank Accavitti, D – Eastpointe, would require 4% of the state’s energy to be from renewable resources by 2008 and to 16% by 2015. It is now in the Energy and Technology Committee.
That could mean more opportunity for wind farms in northern Sanilac County, which experts say is favorable for generating wind energy.
Bill co-sponsor Rep. John Espinoza, D – Croswell, said the legislation would help reduce dependence on foreign fossil fuels.
The folks in the rural areas are just as concerned as anybody else on making sure we protect our resources and our environment and become less depended on foreign fossil fuels,” he said.
Espinoza pointed to the well-attended Thumb Area Alternative Energy Fair hosted in March at Carsonville-Port Sanilac High School. School officials have expressed interest in using wind turbines to supply power to the school, just as Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Schools already is doing in Huron County.
One company, Noble Environmental Power of Connecticut, already plans to build 60 turbines from Delaware, Minden, Marion, Bridgehampton and Washington townships. The turbines are part of a two-phase proposal that also would feature turbines in southern Huron County.
Another company already has begun construction on a wind farm near Elkton.
Anna Giovinello, vice president of Noble Environmental Power, said failure to pass the 10% benchmark would not affect the company’s Thumb project, but it could have “a chilling effect” on future wind development in the Thumb.
“These decisions are made by investors who have to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to build turbines,” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense to investors to commit that kind of money to a state that doesn’t support their projects.”
By Molly Montag
18 November 2007
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