Wind power generators of the future could be as small as satellite dishes, experts say.
For now, however, turbines are still large and have an impact on the surrounding area.
That’s why townships in counties – including Ottawa County – across the state are rushing to adopt regulations for the emerging source of alternative energy in Michigan.
Government leaders such as Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Holland Mayor Al McGeehan have recently promoted wind turbines as a viable source of energy and a new economic opportunity.
Port Sheldon Township is one area considering a new regulation concerning wind turbines, said Howard Baumann, township supervisor.
“I have several (example) ordinances from other communities,” he said. “I think we will take out the parts that work the best for Port Sheldon Township. … We aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel.”
The township’s planning commission will take up the issue at its meeting March 26.
Concerns about wind turbines include them toppling over and the noise they make.
Baumann said the planning commission will likely address how close turbines can be to property lines, provide a decibel limit and may define in which districts they may be located.
Developers for the Great American Sports Complex, a proposed $100 million sports facility in the township, have said they may use a turbine to power some of the facility.
Mark Knudsen, director of the Ottawa County Planning and Grants Department, said he is monitoring how many townships have regulations about wind power.
His department will assist townships that need help developing a law about wind turbines, Knudsen said.
Philip Kuyers, county board vice chairman, suggested the county get involved after he attend a conference that touched on the topic.
“Wind energy is going to play a very important part in meeting the demand for future energy needs,” Knudsen said. “Therefore communities were being encouraged to get regulations in place as soon as possible in order to meet that inevitable demand.”
By Jeremy Gonsior
2 March 2008
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