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Contractor prepping land for 30 new wind turbines

HURON COUNTY – DTE Energy says a contractor is preparing land in Chandler, Oliver and Colfax townships for 30 new wind turbines.

Residents in the area should see workers from Livonia-based Aristeo Construction surveying land, collecting and analyzing soil samples and establishing a lay down area to store equipment, materials and office trailers, DTE Energy Spokesperson Vanessa Waters said in an email.

“We anticipate starting construction in the spring of 2016, once all preliminary work is complete,” Waters said.

Township officials have conditionally approved the Pinnebog wind project.

It’s a redo of a larger one that last year got the go ahead from nearby Meade Township officials, but which residents voted against in a referendum. There, officials were hopeful DTE’s estimated $4 million in tax revenue over 20 years could be used toward public improvements, like roads.

Waters said the utility does not have specific information for potential tax revenues for the Pinnebog project.

“However, we can say the local communities will receive significant tax revenue for the 20-year life of the project,” she said. “These funds can be used for schools, roads, police and fire, and other community needs.”

Site plans are not finalized, so DTE can’t confirm how many landowners would receive direct payments in royalties, according to Waters. She said current and future DTE project operations in Huron County through 2019, however, could generate $25 to $30 million in tax revenues.

Proposed turbines border Meade Township to the west and southwest, and are near DTE’s 18,000-acre, 70-turbine Echo Wind Park in Chandler and Oliver.

“Although slightly higher generating capacity, the dimensions of these turbines will be essentially the same as our Echo Wind Park turbines,” Waters said.

DTE plans to use General Electric 1.7-megawatt turbines, which stand 315 feet with about 160-foot blades.