BAD AXE – County commissioners want a little more assurance – and insurance – that a developer has solid plans to deconstruct wind turbines once they’ve reached longevity.
Colorado-headquartered RES Americas plans 72 turbines for north and northeastern Huron County, in Dwight, Huron, Bloomfield and Lincoln townships.
It would cost more than $108,000 per turbine, or about $5.1 million total, to take down the 47 turbines aimed for county-zoned townships Dwight, Bloomfield and Lincoln after the 20- to 25-year life expectancy, according to a company official. Huron Township, where the developer plans the remaining 25 turbines, is self-zoned.
The decommissioning bonding was based on the same used by DTE Energy for its Sigel Wind Farm, which Board Chair John Nugent called the “gold standard.”
“If you’re following theirs, I don’t know how you can go wrong,” Nugent said.
“That’s exactly what we did,” said Brad Lila, RES development manager.
Commissioner David Peruski – also president of Peruski Insurance in Bad Axe – said he found no issue with wording. But as with other wind projects, Peruski said a deposit control account and corporate guarantee should be in place before accepting.
The roughly $108,000 covers the teardown of one turbine and three to four feet of underground concrete foundation, Lila said.
“We had third party studies done for the decommissioning costs,” Lila said. “That cost does not include salvage value.”
Commissioner Sami Khoury asked where the defunct turbines would be taken after being displaced.
“Where do they go? Are they recyclable?” Khoury said.
Lila said the steel is salvageable – “With salvage value, we’ve had companies say they’ll do it for free” – but was unsure of the fate of fiberglass components.
Khoury also asked of transportation costs associated with wind turbines. Peruski said he had spoken years ago with a representative of Manitowoc, a crane company, about costs of getting workers and equipment on site.
“Fifty grand. Every day,” Peruski said.
“That’s right,” Lila said.
In February, county planners agreed to wait for more information before approving RES Americas’ Deerfield Wind Project. At that time, while reviewing a site plan, they had not received the decommissioning plan.
“We are going to get a corporate guarantee together,” Lila said.
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