A heated debate is happening over wind energy in Mid-Michigan.
Energy companies said they want to keep building turbines in Michigan’s wind rich Thumb, but some locals are saying enough is enough.
It will be up for a vote of the people in less than a month.
“I think the wind turbines are a no go,” said Tanner Carr, Huron County resident.
Residents have mixed feelings about a push from DTE that is underway to bring a new wind park to Huron County.
“Filion Wind Park is a plan, wind energy park plan, that involved 70 to 75 turbines. The layout is still in flux in Lincoln, Dwight, Bloomfield and Seagle Townships,” said Matthew Wagner, manager of renewable energy and development for DTE.
The plan would span across 20,000-24,000 acres.
“We’re expecting it to generate about 150 megawatts and we’re excited about it,” Wagner said.
He said one of the main benefits includes clean energy.
“Wind energy is part of the clean energy future that DTE is trying to help Michigan and the county with,” Wagner said.
Another benefit is tax revenues.
“Revenues that come in, we’ve estimated that with this park there will be over the next 20 years, about $27 million in tax revenues,” Wagner said.
At the end of the day it is entirely up to the community as the new plan awaits voter approval on May 2.
Some of the most common issues residents complained about were the turbines are an eyesore, they take up too much space and they make too much noise.
Carr said he isn’t just against the new proposed additions, but wants to see what is already built taken down.
“I think they should take down what they have and just eliminate them period. I could see if there’s a benefit to it, but there is no benefit,” Carr said.
Wagner said if this does pass it will be the last of its kind from DTE in Huron County.
“This project is important, but it would be our last project. That’s why we’re asking people to vote yes on these ballot questions,” Wagner said.
The DTE wind energy plan is not the only project residents will vote on on May 2.
Next Era Energy is working to bring more wind turbines to the area with a new park called the Huron Wind Energy Center.
“We’re planning for somewhere between 60 to 70 wind turbines,” said Ryan Pumford, developer for Next Era Energy.
Pumford said the addition will stretch across a few townships.
“The plan is for it to be in parts of Seagle Township, Sand Beach, Sherman and Delaware – which is in Sanilac County,” Pumford said.
While the area already has plenty of wind turbines, Pumford said the new plan still has a lot to offer.
“Over the life of the project it’s gonna generate nearly $40 million in tax revenues for Huron County and residents,” Pumford said.
The future of these plans are in the hands of residents who will vote for approval on May 2.
“If the voters vote yes on May 2, the next step is finishing the permitting process. That can take a number of months and then we would be ready to begin construction,” Pumford said.
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