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More wind turbines coming to county

Construction of a third wind energy farm will begin in the spring.

Exelon Generation will be building 68 wind turbines in Bridgehampton, Marion and Custer townships, according to Communications Manager Kristen Otterness.

She said the company is still finalizing site plans and the contractors have not be selected the Michigan Wind 3 project. Exelon also is still in the permitting process for the project, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2016.

This wind farm will produce a total of 150 megawatts and will connect to the new ITC high voltage lines, Otterness said.

These turbines will be GE models, and while similar to the existing windmills, will be more efficient, she said. The new turbines will have a tip height of 499 feet, a little taller than the existing turbines. The tip height of the Michigan Wind 3 turbines is about 20 feet taller than the tip height of the Michigan Wind 2 turbines.

“Michigan Wind 3 is an investment in the future of the communities in Sanilac County. Exelon estimates the community will receive more than $50 million in tax payments over the life of the project. Landowners participating in the project also will see land-use payments over the life of the project that will support the rural economy while preserving family farms for generations to come,” Otterness stated.

Exelon built two other wind farms in Delaware, Marion and Minden townships a few years ago.

There was some controversy over the turbines in Bridgehampton this summer. However, instead of trying to prevent wind turbines, Bridgehampton farmers and landowners urged their planning commission to loosen restrictions so it would be worthwhile for the wind energy company to invest in their township.

On Sept. 10, the township approved the new setbacks the planning commission recommended.

According to planning commission Chairman Mary Bokach, the commission changed: the inhabited structures setback from 1,600 feet to 1,320 feet unless the landowner provides written permission to place a turbine closer; the non-participating setback from 1,320 feet to 750 feet (1.1 times the tip height); cable depth from eight feet to five feet.