CASS CITY – Proponents of wind energy in the Thumb held the final of four “community conversations” Monday night and a majority who attended left in favor of wind turbines.
Wind Works Michigan touted benefits to the tax base and local economy, farmland preservation, and stable farm income as reasons why wind energy is good for rural communities.
Gratiot County is looked at as a national model for wind farm planning, said Donald Schurr, president of Greater Gratiot Development, Inc.
“Wind is, from my perspective in a rural area, it’s bringing opportunities for the community to have wealth opportunities,” he told a crowd of about 50 people – during the two and a half hour meeting – who were both for and against the renewable energy source.
Of those in the audience that participated in polls throughout the presentation, 44 percent were strongly in favor of wind turbines, and 28 percent strongly opposed them. The remainder of the audience was neutral.
Audience members were given a “clicker” to vote on a variety of wind-related questions.
Other issues presented included how wind turbines affect property values, state, county and local zoning issues, environmental factors and decommissioning the turbines.
The study cited by pro-wind officials that said there is a chance that wind farms may increase property values was challenged by members of the audience.
There were also representatives present from DTE and 5 Lakes Energy of Lansing, a consultant on clean energy public policy.
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