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Cross Village turbine plans go to county

HARBOR SPRINGS – A Harbor Springs-based company has submitted a special use permit request for a 120-foot wind turbine near Cross Village to Emmet County, despite previous opposition.

Last week, Lake Effect Energy Corporation requested the Emmet County Planning Commission consider amending the county-wide ordinance setting the noise level for wind energy systems at 35 decibel to a higher amount. Although officials declined to increase the level, Lake Effect Energy submitted their plans to the county Monday afternoon – even though the proposed turbine fails to meet the wind ordinance.

In the plans, the turbine would be a 120-foot, 20 kilowatt turbine point-of-use energy generator on the property of Bliss Gardens Farm and Community Kitchen on Hill Road south of Cross Village. Because the turbine is not a utility-sized unit, only 19-foot blades are proposed – topping out the structure at about 140 feet.

“We do point of use systems only,” said Chris Stahl, Lake Effect Energy president. “What that means is we do systems that provide energy at the site only – the building or residence.”

While the height is permissible under a special use permit in Emmet County, the sound may not be.

Stahl estimates the average wind speed in the location to be 13.6 miles per hour, which puts the average decibel level at 26.04 decibels.

Stahl said, “At brief moments of time, there are spikes where the sound goes over the decibel level (allowed by Emmet County). But, those are only brief seconds. Still, we don’t qualify.”

The county wind ordinance refers to maximums only.

Stahl said the maximum level for his proposed turbine would be 46.04 decibels, more than 11 decibels over the allowable limit.

The plan cites the total project cost at $135,000, which includes a $33,750 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and a $40,500 federal tax credit.

The plans will likely be considered at the Emmet County Planning Commission in November.