BAD AXE – A Geronimo Wind Energy, LLC company official earlier this week outlined the boundaries of the Apple Blossom Wind Farm, a proposed $200 million investment that will host up to 75 turbines on the west side of the county.
Development Assistant David Shiflett on Wednesday said the company is proposing to construct a 120-megawatt wind farm located in McKinley, Winsor and Fairhaven townships. He discussed the boundaries the company is requesting for the project during Wednesday’s Huron County Planning Commission meeting.
The requested district’s eastern boundaries abut the western boundaries of existing wind overlay districts approved for DTE Energy and Exelon Corporation.
The southern boundaries abut the northern boundaries for existing wind overlay districts approved for RES Americas. The western boundaries extend to the shoreline area and the northern boundaries abut the southern boundaries of Caseville Township.
Shiflett said while some boundary lines do extend into the shoreline/treeline area, the company does not intend to site turbines near the shoreline. He stressed the overlay district simply is a planning area the company can use to determine where it’s possible to site turbines.
Just because boundaries are closer than three miles from the shoreline, it does not mean turbines will be allowed there, as the location of turbines will be determined based on avian studies and the advice of U.S. Fish and Wildlife experts.
He said though the company is a long ways from determining exactly how many turbines will be sited there, he estimated the project will have between 45 and 75 turbines.
On Thursday, Geronimo issued a news release formally announcing its acquisition of the Huron County wind development assets of Midland Energy, LLC. The acquisition, which became official Feb. 4, marks Geronimo’s entrance into the Michigan wind market.
“We view Michigan as a great opportunity,” states Geronimo’s Director of Business Development Charlie Daum in Thursday’s release. “Favorable market forces, including a strong renewable portfolio standard, a robust and expanding transmission infrastructure, an abundant wind resource and, most importantly, a welcoming community, made our decision to invest in Huron County very easy.”
Midland Energy has been developing these projects since 2004, and decided to sell the assets as it moved closer to the final stages of development and construction, according to Thursday’s release.
Midland identified other potential buyers of the projects, but selected Geronimo because of the company’s community-driven development strategy as well as its financial strength and ability to bring these projects through to successful completion.
“The Midland team is thrilled to transition these projects over to Geronimo for completion,” states Jerry Decker, Midland Energy, LLC vice president, in Thursday’s release. “We were looking for a financially strong and dependable development partner to help us deliver on the promises we made to these communities. Geronimo has the resources, capital and attitude needed to finish what we started.”
Shiflett will lead the local development efforts from Geronimo’s new office in Pigeon.
The Huron County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing June 1 to consider Geronimo’s request for a wind energy overlay district on the west side of the county to begin planning the Apple Blossom Wind Farm.
Last month, Shiflett reported the company already has contracted an expert to perform an avian (bat/bird) study, received preliminary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA), and conducted a preliminary analysis of property footprints.
According to Thursday’s release, the next steps in developing the Apple Blossom Wind Farm are to finalize the permitting, secure a power purchase agreement and begin construction, all of which will occur over the next couple of years.