BAD AXE – Two Huron County officials head to Lansing on Tuesday to take part in a state wind energy forum.
Commissioner David Peruski and Carl Osentoski, executive director of the county’s Economic Development Corp., both will be panelists at a “Huron County Case Study” at American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) second annual Michigan Wind Energy Forum.
Peruski said he plans to talk of the “Huron County experience” with wind turbines – a brief history and what has been good and bad.
“Topics I would hit on would be how we’ve done with taxation and property tax and how zoning issues are different in Huron County than in others,” Peruski said.
He said he also wants to focus on wind turbine noise and setbacks – from the perspective of both those embracing and others who are not happy – future remedies and requirements for developers to work with public officials and residents on shadow flicker and agricultural issues.
As to why the board of commissioners in October selected Peruski to attend, he said his guess is that District 2 – Bingham, Grant, Paris, Sheridan and Sherman townships – has had the longest history with wind turbines. Commissioner John Nugent said Peruski has taken the “most neutral position possible” toward wind development in the county.
Peruski said it is important to make known to AWEA – the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry with more than 1,200 wind developers, utilities and researchers, according to its website – how much of an impact wind turbine developers have had on the community, both positive and negative.
He said he plans to discuss what has gone right and wrong with wind projects in Huron County, and “what we’ve learned from that.”
“The single biggest thing is handling future projects,” Peruski said.
Carl Osentoski participated in last year’s forum. He said he hasn’t prepared talking points or a PowerPoint, but would like to speak on the economic impact of turbines and respond to audience questions regarding construction and long-term jobs.
“When under construction, there’s a great deal of jobs,” Osentoski said.
As for long-term job creation related to wind energy, “we don’t see as much as we had hoped,” he said, adding that the ratio has changed from one job for every 10 turbines to one per 15.
Other panelists include Scott Viciana, vice president of Ventower, a wind turbine tower fabricator and supplier; David Shiflett, project manager at Geronimo Energy; and Matt Wagner, wind development manager at DTE Energy.
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