BAD AXE – DTE Energy is set to give its first public glimpse into a new wind energy project that could be the biggest in the county in recent years.
A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Huron County Expo Center. County planners set the venue anticipating a large crowd.
A project planning area covers more than 39,000 acres and 61 square miles across four townships: 22,080 in Lincoln and 5,760 each in Sigel, Dwight and Bloomfield. Jeff Smith, the county’s building and zoning director, says not all that land will see turbines.
Smith previously said over 900 mailings were sent to landowners and that his office hasn’t sent that many before.
“It’s a huge list of property owners,” he said.
Smith said he hadn’t seen a map of the turbine layout, but “it’s obviously one of the biggest ones we’ve seen lately.”
“It is a large project area,” he said, adding DTE’s requested wind energy overlay district abuts existing ones.
However it’s similar in size to other projects, just more spread out because the county’s new wind ordinance sets stricter setbacks for turbines, Smith said.
DTE recently said it was too early to speculate on the number or size of wind turbines for the project, and that planning has only recently begun.
The utility said in a letter to the county dated Feb. 24 it has over 25,000 acres of that already under lease or in negotiation. The letter shows hundreds of landowners have signed on.
By comparison, DTE’s Echo Wind Park in Chandler and Oliver townships, with 70 turbines, covers nearly 18,000 acres. About 115 landowners take part in that project. And the Pheasant Run project, with 88 turbines, covers about 20,500 acres in Grant, Oliver, Sebewaing and Winsor townships, but in 2014 DTE bought half the turbines, which split it into two projects with 44 units each.
The incoming 72-turbine Deerfield wind project will span about 24,380 acres in Lincoln, Bloomfield, Dwight and Huron townships.
In a separate project, DTE plans to start building its Pinnebog Wind Park on 13,000 acres in Oliver, Chandler and Colfax townships this spring. It would add 30 turbines.
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