OGDEN – It was a full house at the Ogden Township Municipal Hall the evening of Jan. 24. Ogden area residents, the Ogden Township Board and representatives of Exelon Wind crowded into the hall to discuss Exelon’s plans to install turbines in the surrounding area.
The first order of business was to appoint a special committee of Ogden residents to advise the board on wind energy development. The committee, first proposed by board trustee Mark Vandenbusche, will research the potential impact of the wind farm and investigate ways in which Ogden, having no zoning ordinances, can forestall wind development and negotiate with Exelon. Russell Mead, Norris Klump, Gregg Stein, Eric Martis and Alice Clark volunteered to serve on the committee, which is strictly advisory in function.
Ogden resident Jack Boyd launched questioning by asking what stage Exelon’s project is in.
Doug Duimering, an engineer for Exelon, said the company is still in the “land acquisition phase” and hopes to begin construction in 2012.
Boyd then asked Duimering how Exelon will decide where to place the turbines.
“In order for us to place a turbine on someone’s land, we need to have a contract with them, which is an easement agreement,” said Duimering. “In addition, we have to be able to achieve the setbacks.”
“Setback” refers to the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a residence. Duimering says although Ogden has no zoning ordinances, Exelon is offering the township a more “conservative” deal than is required by the State of Michigan. State regulations demand that wind turbines be placed at least 1,000 feet away from residences.
“We are proposing a minimum setback from all houses of 1,320 feet, or a quarter mile.”
According to Duimering, this helps ensure that noise levels near homes do not exceed 45 decibels, a limit recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and compared by Duimering to “the inside of a library.”
Local Josh Vancamp, who has expressed opposition to the project, suggested a two-year moratorium on wind development to give the community more time to research the subject and decide upon the best course of action, which could include restrictive zoning ordinances.
“Would Exelon respect a two-year moratorium so we can do this right?” asked Vancamp.
“A two-year moratorium would not allow us to build the project on the schedule we have,” said Duimering. “So that clearly does not work for us.”
For James McClenathen’s complete story on this meeting, please see the Feb. 2, 2011, edition of The Advance. Just call 517-486-2400 to subscribe.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding