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Resident suggests limit on turbines

BAD AXE – Two weeks ago, County Commissioner Clark Elftman announced he wouldn’t run for public office again when his term expires next year, after a decade on the board.

Reading from a list he regularly brings to meetings, Elftman’s only comment before moving to the next was that it “should make some people happy.”

Then, perhaps another surprising statement: 484 wind turbines in Huron County is “enough.”

“We’ve done our part for the state of Michigan,” Elftman later told the Tribune. “I’m not anti-wind, I’m not pro-wind. But 500’s enough. I’ve always felt that way.”

On Tuesday, a resident called on him to take the notion further.

“I was quite intrigued to read Mr. Elftman’s comments in the paper, and I must say that I agree with him; 485 turbines is about enough in Huron County,” said Robert McClean, a Paris Township resident, during public comment.

“I would call upon Mr. Elftman to bring a resolution to the table stating that enough is enough.”

Describing Elftman as the “most liberal” of commissioners on wind turbines, McClean said he was glad Elftman made the remark.

To which Elftman responded sternly.

“I’m not bringing a resolution (to this board) based on my personal opinion,” the commissioner said.

At 328 turbines currently turning and plans for up to 500 by 2017, the county has the most of any in the state.

Between 500 and 700 was an estimate officials say was made years ago for a “saturation point” – the maximum amount of wind turbines the county could have.

With most utilities having already met or on track to meet a 10 percent renewable energy state mandate, its unclear how many more acres developers may eye for wind projects in Huron County.