When energy companies decided that the Thumb of Michigan was the best place in the state to locate wind turbines, they essentially decided to move into the community and become our neighbors.
And as everyone knows, there are few secrets between close neighbors.
That’s why we were pleased to see DTE Energy take precautions to halt its wind energy production after a recent turbine failure in Chandler Township. And, we were pleased to see DTE Energy provide a detailed explanation for the incident at a recent meeting of the Huron County Board of Commissioners.
Nobody likes secrecy when it comes to the important things in our lives. When our tax dollars are being spent by politicians, we want to know the why and how of it. When we go to the doctor’s office, we want to know all test results and medical possibilities.
Our government has had to go so far as to pass laws to make sure that information cannot be hidden from the public. And, from time to time, newspapers must use those laws to pursue information that they feel should be reported to the public.
It’s too bad that government officials do not always understand the importance of public information. From local townships and cities in the Thumb all the way up to our nation’s capital, you can find people elected to office who want to do business behind close doors and not keep the public informed.
Private business is different. Businesses don’t have as strong an obligation to reveal information to the public.
Yet even private businesses know the value of making public announcements about construction of a new factory or the closing of a business location.
DTE Energy is a company that is private, yet operates in many ways that are public. The utility comes into our homes and our communities and must cooperate with local, state and federal laws to ensure safety and reliability.
While it is unfortunate that DTE Energy had a turbine blade break for the second time in Huron County, the company appears to have taken the high road by putting safety first and explaining exactly what happened in a farm field at Echo Wind Park. We found the details informative and helpful to understand the situation.
The 164-foot blades of the turbine weigh nearly 6 tons apiece. They are manufactured by another company on another continent. When the blade broke it splintered into three sections, a piece of it landing 80 feet away – on an access road to the turbine.
DTE Energy and turbine supplier General Electric are beginning a search for answers. We hope they can find the answers needed to ensure our wind parks are safe and productive.
No matter what they find out, we hope they continue to be honest and open to the people of the Upper Thumb, which has far more wind turbines than anywhere else in Michigan.
We have given them our skyline.
We appreciate their honesty and openness.
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