MESICK – A wind developer that has approval to measure wind speeds in Osceola County has made an application to construct an almost 200-foot-tall measuring tower in Wexford County.
NextEra Energy seeks to place a 196-foot meteorological tower on property about four miles southwest of Buckley in Wexford Township, according to a permit application submitted to the Wexford County Planning Commission.
Erecting the tower would require a special-use permit from the commission. The commission will consider the permit at its May 14 meeting.
According to the permit application, the location of the testing tower would be in Wexford Township in the far northwest corner of the county somewhere north of West 6 Road and just east of North 7 Road.
NextEra spokesman Steven Stengel said his company is exploring the area for wind development but is very early in the process. NextEra is headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida.
The company describes itself as the largest generator of wind and solar energy in the country. It already has permission to construct a similar wind measurement tower in Osceola County’s Sherman Township.
One more additional tower, for a total of three between the two counties, may be possible, Stengel said, but he did not know where the third tower might be located.
Wexford County Zoning Administrator Mike Green said it is the first permit application Wexford County has received for a wind tower.
Similar to the approved but not yet constructed Osceola County tower, the Wexford County tower would hold instruments to gauge wind speed and direction. The sensors provide some of the information developers need to make a determination if the area is suitable for wind power development.
Stengel said NextEra has talked to some property owners in Wexford County about leasing property for wind development, but he doesn’t know the outcome of those discussions.
If everything goes well, the earliest any wind turbines could be constructed is 2016.
“We like the state very much,” Stengel said.
Stengel said any development is in the early stages.
“We don’t know if this is a viable location or not,” he said.
Green said the planning commission will decide whether or not to approve the wind measuring tower. Those affected by the planning commission’s ruling would be able to appeal the decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals. NextEra would have the opportunity to approach the zoning board of appeals if the planning commission denies the special use permit.
The Wexford County Planning Commission meets 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 14, at the Wexford County Human Services Building, 401 N. Lake St., Cadillac.
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