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Wind farm proposed; Traverse City company securing lease agreements for turbine installation  

A downstate development company plans to find out how much electricity is available in the air above Stanton Township.

Traverse City, Mich.-based Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC has been securing leases from property owners along the ridge that stretches from Liminga to Oscar Bay for the purpose of developing wind generation there.

“Step one is we’re just getting a good feel for the area and establishing a land base on which to consider the future development of a moderately-sized wind farm project,” Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC Project Coordinator Rick Wilson said.

He said the project would be “a utility-sized turbine installation with the power to be sold into the electrical market system.”

Near the end of December, township resident Dave Herman signed on with 17 acres of land he owns on North Superior Road in Liminga. He said the land used to be agricultural, though that use ceased before he purchased it about 30 years ago. Now, he said, the land is used for “nothing, growing trees.”

Herman said owners of some neighboring properties have signed up, as well.

Wilson said his company has secured leases from “between 15 and 20 people.”

White Pine Land Company, a land broker contractor also based in Traverse City, is doing the legwork involved with obtaining the leases.

Wilson said Heritage Sustainable Energy proposes to install tall, three-bladed upwind turbines similar to those located in the hills outside Mackinaw City. Those turbines are owned by Mackinaw Power LLC.

The number of turbines erected on the ridge in Stanton Township will depend on a variety of factors.

“(Once) you understand the wind resource and a little bit more about the characteristics of the land base, you would choose your turbine type and size and number based on all that criteria,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the company will begin testing the wind potential of the ridge after more land is acquired. He said Heritage Sustainable Energy hopes to secure leases on a block of land between 2,000 and 3,000 acres in size.

“As soon as we achieve a little more land acquisition, it would probably be six to 12 months until we get to the more detailed analysis phase,” Wilson said.

That analysis includes determining whether the local power transmission infrastructure is capable of handling a wind farm, what local land-use restrictions exist, and whether there is enough wind blowing over the ridge to power the generators.

Herman said by his estimation, there is plenty of wind blowing over his property.

“It’s a good source of wind here, very good, I guess,” he said.

He had few inhibitions about signing his land up for a wind turbine.

“It’s the wave of the future,” Herman said. “I mean, what are you going to do, burn up all the gas? And also you can make money on it. Where are we going to be if you don’t have alternative energy in the future?”

Wilson said lessors are receiving a “relatively nominal payment” at the outset of the lease. If a wind farm is developed, Wilson said, property owners would receive royalty payments for the power generated by turbines on their land.

Wilson said Heritage Sustainable Energy is currently developing a wind project in Missaukee County. He said two 2.5-megawatt wind generators will be installed this year with six more planned for 2009. He described that development as a pilot project.

Dan Schneider
DMG Writer

Daily Mining Gazette

2 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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