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Ionia County listed as possible relocation for wind turbine park  

Credit:  By Jon Szerlag, The Ionia Sentinel-Standard, www.sentinel-standard.com 17 January 2012 ~~

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. – With a looming deadline to complete a wind turbine park by the end of this year, officials with Blissfield Wind Energy LLC filed an amendment to a contract with Consumer’s Energy to relocate the project from Lenawee County to either Ionia or Gratiot counties.

The Blissfield Wind Project is a partnership between Great Lakes Wind LLC and Exelon Wind, which is a division of Exelon Power.

Bob Judge, manager for communications for Exelon Power, said a contract with Consumers Energy states that the wind turbines need to be completed by the end of 2012.

“We are looking to move this project because it needs to be complete in 2012,” said Judge. “We continue to look at south eastern Lenawee County for future projects, but the primary requirements were not established in time for this year.”

Judge explained that the company believes that the project will be able to be complete by 2012 if it is moved to Ionia County or Gratiot County.

The amended contract was sent to the Michigan Public Service Commission for possible approval, and Judge explained that they will “then go from there.”

Judge explained that the reason for selecting Ionia and Gratiot counties as a possible alternative is because studies indicated that wind is a good resource in both counties.

“Ionia has a good area for wind development, as many other places do,” said Judge. “But Ionia is one of them.”

Consumers Energy’s application for approval of the amended contract states, “as a result of the foregoing development setbacks and production tax credit implications, Consumers Energy and Blissfield have amended the Renewable Energy Contract on Dec. 22, 2011 to allow Blissfield to develop its project in either Ionia County or Gratiot County where Blissfield has indicated to Consumers Energy that completion of the project prior to the expiration of the federal production tax credit is possible …”

Dan Bishop, Public Information Director with Consumers Energy explained that, even though this is not their project, the contract is to buy the renewable energy from the facility when it goes into commercial operation.

“This is a request that would provide the wind park developer Exelon, with the flexibility to re-site its wind park from Lenawee County to either Gratiot or Ionia counties,” said Bishop. “This is all part of Michigan’s Energy Reform Law (which passed in 2008) that requires all electric providers to have 10 percent of power coming from Michigan’s renewable sources by 2015.”

Bishop continued that Consumers Energy is building two wind parks, and is buying renewable energy from other companies, and the Blissfield project is one of them.

“There is a federal tax credit for bringing wind parks by the end of 2012, which expires in 2012,” said Bishop. “That is an incentive to get that facility online by the end of this year. Michigan law requires us to ensure that 10 percent of our power comes from green sources, so that is a benefit.”

The proposed amended contract states the developer of the Blissfield project obtained sufficient rights from property owners to construct the portion of the proposed wind project in Riga Township. Then, in 2010, the township imposed a moratorium on the issuance of permits associated with wind turbines to allow the zoning ordinance to be revised to address community concerns.

In 2011, Riga Township voters approved a referendum on a wind turbine zoning ordinance.

“The developer has concluded it is unable to develop its project in Riga, Palmyra and Ogden townships due to significant opposition to wind generation development by the residents of Lenawee County,” reads the document. “Hence, the developer has relocated its development plans to either Ionia County or Gratiot County, Michigan.”

For more information on the project, visit www.greatlakeswind.net or http://www.exeloncorp.com/energy/generation/wind.

More information on renewable energy can also be found on Consumers Energy’s website, at www.consumersenergy.com.

Source:  By Jon Szerlag, The Ionia Sentinel-Standard, www.sentinel-standard.com 17 January 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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