GARDEN – More than 70,000 megawatt hours of renewable, clean electricity are being produced annually by the Heritage Garden Wind Farm, located on the Garden Peninsula in Delta County.
The wind farm is the first wind energy generating facility in the Upper Peninsula, becoming fully operational in September 2012.
The electricity the farm produces is equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power almost 7,000 average households – nearly half of Delta County’s households.
The farm consists of 14 wind turbines for a total installed generation capacity of 28 megawatts.
However, the facility has not come without controversy. Critics of the first wind energy farm in the U.P. are asking a judge to intervene before more turbines are erected on the Garden Peninsula, according to The Associated Press.
A request for an injunction was filed March 13 in federal court in Marquette, two months after a lawsuit was filed. Opponents said the turbines near the village of Garden are noisy, have reduced property values and are a threat to birds.
Heritage Sustainable Energy, based in Traverse City, has said ongoing avian and other wildlife assessments at the wind farm show mortality rates in line with other sites across the country.
The company also claimed wind power doesn’t generate carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas pollutants and eliminates production of harmful particulate matter, sulfur, mercury and other emissions associated with fossil fuel generated electricity.
Tax revenue from the wind farm is expected to generate regular royalty revenues, which will be paid to 53 participating landowners within the wind farm unit. The royalties are estimated to be between $250,000 and $400,000 annually, dependent on energy production and wind speeds.
During construction, more than $10 million was injected into the local economy, according to Heritage Sustainable Energy. Also, more than 40 local and regional businesses were used for site work, equipment, fuel, supplies, maintenance, materials, food and lodging.
The wind farm is anticipated to provide five to six permanent jobs for maintenance and operation technicians stationed in Garden.
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