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Township holds informational meeting on wind turbines

An informational meeting was held Tuesday night about wind turbines and why many townships across the state have rejected wind energy development.

The company wanting to build the turbines chose not to attend the meeting.

DTE Energy has plans in the works to build a wind farm in Beaver Township.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said John Hilden, Beaver Township resident.

Hilden said he would like to see a wind farm in his neighborhood.

DTE Energy is looking at possible sites in Bay County and Beaver Township is one of those locations.

“I know there’s other people who disagree with that because of the noise factor, but they improve everything so I think it’ll be a good idea,” Hilden said.

One member of the Beaver Township board said he had been approached by DTE about putting turbines on his property. He said he is conflicted because he knows there are strong feelings both for and against a wind farm in his community.

The meeting was held at Zion Lutheran School in Beaver Township.

“The way this meeting is set up with the pro voice and the con voice, they just create an atmosphere where people aren’t learning. You know there’s finger pointing and there’s things said that are hard to understand and we just found those not to be productive. We welcome questions. We want to be open and forthright. We’ve just seen this environment is not conducive to that,” said Matt Wagner, spokesperson for DTE Energy.

Wagner is the manager of renewable energy for DTE Energy. He wants residents to know if everything goes to plan, it will be awhile before a wind farm goes up.

“We’re talking sometime after 2020 at the earliest,” Wagner said.

Even though representatives from DTE Energy were a no show at the meeting, Wagner said the company is planning its own series of open houses for the residents.

“Be on the lookout in the next couple of months,” Wagner said.

As for Hilden, his mind is already made up.

“I’d like to see it take place. Hopefully I’m around. I feel good now, but you never know,” Hilden said.

Jan Devos opposes the wind turbines.

“What do we do? Are property values going to plummet? I’ve done some research where it indicates that it does. Is DTE going to reimburse us,” Devos said.

The planning for the project, like where the turbines will go, is still in the works.

The township also needs to create an ordinance to allow the turbines to be built.

Township Supervisor Steve Gray said he is remaining neutral on the issue. In the meantime, he wants residents to remember not everything about wind turbines is bad.

“One of the big pros would be additional revenue to the township, which we could use for roads, or water or a fire truck, awhole host of issues,” Gray said.

Gray said this was the first of many informational meetings the township will hold. The next step is to take it to the planning board. From there a final decision will be made on the turbines.