Discussion to center on benefits, drawbacks of wind turbines
An increased interest in wind energy has inspired Ottawa County to host a wind-energy symposium within the next 45 days, officials said.
The one-day event will bring in industry experts and individuals familiar with wind-energy regulations, said Mark Knudsen, director of the Ottawa County Planning and Grants Department.
Knudsen said his department will be teaming up with the Michigan State University Extension of Ottawa County for the symposium.
The discussion will revolve around the benefits and drawbacks of wind turbines. It will talk about the difference between those for residential use and those for commercial use.
“We would be looking at small operations and large operations,” Knudsen said.
There also are plenty of misconceptions about wind turbines that will be addressed. Many local government representatives are worried about noise and how the turbines affect wildlife.
Knudsen said the way people can sell extra wind power to energy companies may be a topic as well. Right now the energy companies don’t give residents a great deal on that power, he said, so the state is looking to requiring better compensation.
“That would encourage a lot more use of that,” Knudsen said.
The event comes as the county is finishing up model wind energy regulations designed for interested townships.
Port Sheldon Township requested a regulation example partly because the proposed Great American Sports Complex development in its township might include a wind turbine, said Howard Baumann, township supervisor.
The Zeeland Board of Public Works also announced last week its considering a public-private partnership this year to bring wind energy to Zeeland Township.
By Jeremy Gonsior
14 April 2008
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