HURON COUNTY, MI – Huron County residents voted “no” on two wind energy proposals Tuesday, May 2.
Unofficial results on the county’s website show the Huron Wind LLC’s overlay district proposal garnered 1,934 “no” votes, or 63.33 percent, and 1,120 “yes” votes, or about 36.67 percent. The results were nearly the same for DTE’s overlay district proposal, which garnered 1,923 “no” votes, or 63.4 percent, and 1,110 “yes” votes, or 36.6 percent.
The Huron Daily Tribune reports NextEra Energy’s proposed Huron Wind project would have been comprised of 60 turbines, primarily in Sherman Township but also in Sigel, Sand Beach and Delaware townships. DTE’s proposed development would have included 70 turbines in Lincoln, Sigel, Bloomfield and Dwight townships.
Cindy Hecht, senior communications specialist with DTE Energy, had this to say about the result of the vote:
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we remain fully committed to Huron County and appreciate the support we’ve received for our multiple wind parks already operating there. We are committed to maintaining these parks to the highest standards and to providing our customers with energy that is safe, reliable, affordable and cleaner.
“We are also a strong supporter of different community events in the county and look forward to continuing serving the community as a good neighbor and partner.”
Bryan Garner, manager of communications for NextEra Energy Resources, said by voting the way they did, “the citizens of Huron County experienced an economic setback.”
“We want to thank those who gave their time, voice and vote to support the referendum,” he said. “In the days and weeks ahead, we will review these results as we consider next steps for future development opportunities.”
Hecht said DTE also continues to look for ways to meet Michigan’s renewable energy standard.
“We are and will continue to evaluate areas statewide for potential projects and will meet Michigan’s renewable energy standard of 15 percent by 2021. Renewable energy plays an important role in meeting Michigan’s energy needs today and into the future,” she said.
In nearby Tuscola County, Almer Township residents voted down a zoning ordinance referendum pertaining to wind farms with 287 “no” votes, or 55.09 percent, and 234 “yes” votes, or 44.91 percent.
Michigan currently has 28 utility-scale wind farms in operation or under development. The majority of those developments are located in Huron County, according to a recent Michigan Public Service Commission renewable energy report. Those projects are comprised of a total of 1,234 wind turbines and have a combined capacity of 2,338 megawatts. Of those turbines, 883 are currently operational.
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