SPARTA TOWNSHIP – The Township Board made progress in setting rules for wind turbines.
The board approved an ordinance regulating meteorological evaluation towers, which measure wind and collect other data to determine the practicality of installing electricity-generating wind turbines.
The Planning Commission is working on an ordinance for the wind turbines.
“There’s a lot of interest in wind energy,” Supervisor Dale Bergman said. “The other townships are working on this, too. In general, we have a positive feeling toward wind energy.”
Ibedrola Renewables of Spain hopes to install a test tower on Phelps Avenue NW, between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads NW. The company would still need a special-use permit.
According to the new ordinance, an evaluation tower needs to be set back from other structures by at least 1.1 times its height. But the regulations don’t limit the tower’s height.
The ordinance also requires applicants provide details on when the tower will operate, its purpose, maintenance plans, security measures and a plan for demolition and site restoration when the operation ends. There is no limit for how long it can be up.
Dan Litchfield, representing Ibedrola, said the company’s metorological tower would be up for at least a year.
“But we’d like to have it longer while we begin the rest of the development,” he said, adding that the company would install wind turbines if the data proves favorable.
He said wind turbines would be in keeping with the township’s goal of preserving agricultural land and farming incomes.
The commission’s recommendations on a wind turbine ordinance probably won’t reach the board for several months.
By Ron Cammel
The Grand Rapids Press
16 June 2008
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