BAD AXE – Geronimo Energy is adding four locations for wind turbines to its 29-turbine project, while another developer will go before an appeals board for a variance to be exempted from the county’s moratorium on wind energy.
David Shiflett, project manager at Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy, told county planners last week of plans to add four additional turbine locations to the Apple Blossom project in Winsor and McKinley townships. All locations are three miles or more from the shoreline, he said.
“We are only building 29 sites,” Shiflett said.
Shiflett said adding alternate sites would be better for the project as a whole because other locations, some nearby a quarry, would be difficult to build.
Geronimo plans to obtain building permits by the end of the year and start construction in 2016, he said.
Total project area spans close to 5,000 acres. A recent turbine switch puts new ones on a smaller, 285-foot tower, with the rotor diameter covering about 50 more feet. The Vestas turbines would stand about 415 feet tall. The original turbines had a rotor diameter of about 360 feet, placed on a 315-foot tower.
Another developer is looking to move forward on a project – but they’d need special permission to do so.
Traverse City-based Heritage Energy wants to add 15 turbines to its Big Turtle Wind Farm in Rubicon Township, which currently has 10 turbines.
The developer would need a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to do so, due to the county’s moratorium on wind energy that’s been in effect for about a month.
A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the county building, in room 305. It marks the first time the Zoning Board of Appeals will decide a wind energy issue, according to Jeff Smith, the county’s building and zoning director.
The second phase of the project would add 15 Gamesa turbines northwest of the existing 10, in sections between Filion and Kinde roads in Rubicon and Bloomfield townships. The expansion would cover about 3,840 acres. Heritage says the project could be completed by the end of next year.
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