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Flicker questions answered at Consumers Energy Lake Winds Energy Park open House  

Bill Schoenlein, the operations manager for Lake Winds in addition to the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant, confirmed that the flicker prevention system doesn’t log hours of flicker, it simply turns off the towers that could create flicker on a given residence when conditions are ripe for flicker. That only applies to those homes that the computer model indicates would receive more than eight hours per year, though.

Credit:  Brian Mulherin - Daily News Staff Writer | Ludington Daily News | www.ludingtondailynews.com 13 September 2012 ~~

SUMMIT TWP. – A small crowd visited Consumers Energy’s open house Wednesday afternoon. More than halfway through the event about 25 people had come in with questions on either the ice throw mitigation or the shadow flicker mitigation plans. A half dozen Consumers Energy employees and a handful of people representing RMT Energy, which wrote the plans for the utility, were on hand to greet visitors and answer questions.

Many of the people with questions actually had pooled parcels within the Lake Winds Energy Park boundaries, even though the shadow flicker rules of not more than 10 hours per year on an occupied structure pertain only to unpooled parcels.

Charlie and Margaret Hayes, who have an unpooled parcel, said they were curious about the flicker but not concerned.

“My biggest concern is rumble,” Margaret said. “I have tinnitus.”

She said she’s very sensitive to loud noises and was very bothered by stereos blaring near her place of work. One car owner in particular used to blare his music too loud for her comfort every day after school.

“I couldn’t wait for him to leave,” she said. “If the wind turbines do that, I’d complain.”

She noted that one blade on the turbine nearest their home squeaks, but she’s confident the right people were notified about it and that it would be fixed.

Margaret said she’s not real excited about the towers and said it was unfortunate no one accounted for sour gas lines in the design of the project, something Consumers Energy has denied.

She said people were polite and answered her questions on Wednesday, though.

Eric Jefferies, who lives in the newest of the old Riverton schools, said he was surprised to find out that he may have no shadow flicker because the technology doesn’t log the hours of flicker, it prevents any flicker on parcels that are modeled to have more than eight hours of flicker in a given year.

Bill Schoenlein, the operations manager for Lake Winds in addition to the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant, confirmed that the flicker prevention system doesn’t log hours of flicker, it simply turns off the towers that could create flicker on a given residence when conditions are ripe for flicker. That only applies to those homes that the computer model indicates would receive more than eight hours per year, though.

Jefferies said the utility definitely made an effort to answer all of his questions but he was still approaching the wind turbines with what he believed was healthy skepticism.

“I think there’s a lot of hard feelings between parts of the community and Consumers Energy,” Jefferies, who is a member of the Good Neighbor Fund board, said. He was a member of the group Citizens Alliance for Responsible Renewable Energy.

Bill Olson said he lives near a turbine and found it to be very, very quiet – quieter than the expressway that is 5 miles away, he said.

Olson said he had some questions on flicker but he felt they were answered.

Bev Smalley said Consumers projected about 1.5 hours of flicker a year on her home in a pooled parcel. Mary Gustafson said the projection for her was about 3.5 hours. Consumers Energy spokesman Dennis Marvin noted that any of the projections are likely on the high side since the model doesn’t take trees or other structures into account and also overestimates the amount of sunlight for the area.

“It’s a worst-case scenario,” Marvin said of the model.

Ron Lundberg, a member of the Riverton Township board, attended to get a little information for himself and his board.

“It looks like they’ve got good info on what’s going on here,” Lundberg said.

Michael Shoop, the township supervisor for Branch Township, said he came out of curiosity more than anything else.

“You never know where they are headed in the future,” he said.

New County Commissioner Bill Carpenter said he was there to gather information on the issues and wanted the company’s point of view on things.

“I’m kind of on a learning mission,” he said. “I’d like to know what’s going on.”

Source:  Brian Mulherin - Daily News Staff Writer | Ludington Daily News | www.ludingtondailynews.com 13 September 2012

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

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