Hart – Some farm fields in Oceana County could soon be dotted with massive wind turbines.
John Deere, well known for tractors and farm tools, wants to put 25 to 30 football field size turbines on 5,000 acres in Elbridge Township.
“We try to keep them as far away from homes as possible,” says Steve Juhlin of John Deere Wind Energy, “At least 1,000 feet.”
It would be West Michigan’s first commercial wind farm.
Property owners would be paid for the use of their land.
“I’ve got mixed feelings about it,” says township resident Ted Slocum. “But I don’t think it’s anything we can stop.”
“I think it could help our economy with energy prices rising,” says township resident Carlelton Horst.
John Deere already has a wind farm in Huron County.
Several dozen Elbridge Township residents have bussed over to see it for themselves.
“It’s quite attractive,” says township resident Judith Slocum. “I like it. It was very quiet. No noise. It’s beautiful, really.”
John Deere and it’s partners still need rezoning, permits and leases with landowners.
If all goes well the wind farm could be operating by the end of 2010.
“We are in the preliminary stages,” says Juhlin. “We want everyone to understand this is not a done deal.”
If it is built the developer says the wind farm would generate between 50 and 60 megawatts per year.
They say that is enough to power 15,000 homes.
11 July 2008