CARO – A town hall meeting on renewable energy will be conducted from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at Caro High School, 301 North Hooper St.
State Rep. Gary Glenn, chair of the Michigan House Energy Committee, will be there, and other legislators from Huron, Sanilac, Tuscola and Lapeer counties have been invited.
The meeting is expected to focus on future development of wind energy in the Thumb, but Glenn said in a press release that anyone wishing to speak either in favor of or opposed to future wind projects or on any other energy-related policy is welcome to participate.
Glenn, of Larkin Township, represents Michigan’s 98th District. He is also the associate speaker of the house pro tem.
“I strongly oppose our state government dictating to local communities and mandating that they must build a certain type of energy source,” Glenn stated in the release. “More broadly, I believe that requiring energy providers to compete – and letting homeowners, business owners, schools, and all other ratepayers choose where they buy their electricity – will help hold down our electricity rates and keep Michigan competitive for new industry and jobs.”
“I’m particularly interested Friday to hear the views of citizens in the region of our state that’s recently been in the bull’s eye of public debate over the role wind projects in particular will play in Michigan’s energy future,” he added.
Officials from Glenn’s office said Wednesday that Rep. Edward J. Canfield, who represents Huron and Tuscola counties, is unable to attend.
The state last year increased Michigan’s mandate for renewable energy.
The law calls for requiring electric providers to produce 15 percent of their power from wind or other renewable sources by the end of 2021, up from 10 percent currently.
The law also set a non-binding goal of meeting 35 percent of Michigan’s power needs by 2025 through a combination of renewable energy and energy conservation.
Current state law mandates that only 10 percent of electricity sold in Michigan can be purchased from sources other than the state’s two major utilities – Consumers Energy and DTE Energy. Glenn favors lifting that 10 percent cap and allowing all electricity users to choose where they buy electricity.
Huron County leads the state in wind energy production. By year’s end, it’s expected that there will be 473 turbines producing electricity here.
Earlier this month, residents in county-zoned townships turned down two proposed wind farms by a 2-to-1 margin in Huron County.
DTE Energy had proposed a 70-turbine wind farm for Lincoln, Dwight, Sigel and Bloomfield townships.
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC had proposed a wind farm in Sigel and Sherman townships.
And in Sand Beach Township, a measure to restrict wind turbine noise was approved, making it impossible to develop NextEra’s planned turbines for that township.
NextEra had planned on building a total of 60 turbines, some of which were also to be located in self-zoned Delaware Township in Sanilac County.
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