One of the largest energy companies in the country has plans for a new wind project south of Frankfort. Duke Energy has already leased more than 6,000 acres. The energy company plans to build more than 100 turbines on high ridges that run near the Manistee/Benzie county line.
Duke Energy says it plans to build in two phases. Each would spread 56 wind turbines over roughly an 8,000 acre area. The first phase would be in northern Manistee County.
Don Tanner, chair of the Benzie County Board of Commissioners, says he’s excited about prospects to bring revenue and jobs to the area. But he says as more people find out about the project, concerns are being raised by residents who live nearby.
“You have a big windmill sitting out there on the horizon you can see it from a long ways away,” he says. “These are not small home wind energy systems. They’re big industrial windmills.”
“I would like to see more community involvement and awareness,” says Sharon Gobel, a Pleasanton Township homeowner.
Her township is working to put some rules in place. Three-of-the-four townships where the towers would go don’t yet have rules to regulate windmills.
The company is signing leases with large landowners, primarily farmers. Duke Energy still has to reach agreement with utilities to buy the electricity produced by the project. The company wants to begin construction by late 2012.
A state study ranks Leelanau and Benzie counties among the best places for wind energy in Michigan.
Play the audio above to hear Reporter Bob Allen’s chat with All Things Considered Host Linda Stephan.
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