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Wind turbines topic at county meeting

Koehler Township resident Mike Cromley recently addressed the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners about wind turbines and how they could help the county.

Cromley said while he was in the Upper Peninsula a couple of months ago, he came across a wind farm with several turbines, which he did not expect.

“I corralled the manager, sat down and had a talk with him. He asked me where I was from, and I said Cheboygan County,” said Cromley. “And he said, you guys have zoned us out, we can’t come down there.”

The manager gave Cromley some information about wind power, which he shared with the board of commissioners.

In the Upper Peninsula, the 53 land owners who have turbines on their property will receive nearly $400,000 a year – about $7,500 per land owner.

It takes six full-time employees to maintain and operate the wind turbines, and 75 local jobs were created during the construction.

Just during construction of the turbines, more than $10 million was injected into the economy of the area, said Cromley.

He told commissioners there were also 40 local and regional businesses, which were able to benefit from the building of the turbines as well.

Cromley said he was told from the time the land was leased from the property owners to the time the construction was complete and the turbine was producing energy was a little less than nine months.

“It takes about eight years to put up a fossil fuels plant,” said Cromley.

There are currently 14 turbines on the farm in the Upper Peninsula in Delta County. Two more are being constructed this summer.

“The county will receive $4.5 million in revenue over the next 20 years,” he said. “They now produce enough power for 50 percent of the homes in that county.”

Cromley said issues with the turbines, such as killing birds and creating a flickering effect that is disturbing to property owners have also been solved by the company.

Cromley told commissioners he had more information if they would like to review it and was told by a company official it would not be a wind turbine farm unless the community was supportive.

Cheboygan County Board of Commissioner Chair Linda Socha thanked Cromley for the information.