UPPER THUMB – The focus of wind development is blowing in a different direction in Tuscola County and on into Huron County as well.
NextEra Energy Resources LLC is applying for special land use permits for wind development in Juniata Township as part of their Pegasus Wind Energy Center. The township board will review the applications during a special public hearing 7 p.m. Monday, at the township hall.
“The plan for that project is 63 turbines with 31 in Juniata Township and 32 in Fairgrove Township,” said Bryan Garner, manager of communications for NextEra Energy Resources. “It is a $200 million investment, and would generate about 150 million megawatts of power. There would be 350 construction jobs during the project, and then seven to 12 full-time jobs when completed.”
If all goes according to plan, completion of that project is expected by the end of 2018.
“Over the life of the project – 30 years – it would generate about $35 million in property taxes and for the landowners,” Garner said.
Although townships around Juniata have been receptive to wind development, there are concerns turbine construction in Juniata would be too close to the Tuscola Area Airport.
“The total height of the turbines to the tip of the blade is just under 500 feet,” he said. “We understand the concerns about the airport and we will be working with the airport and the township. The Pegasus Energy Center will tie in with our Tuscola Wind I and Tuscola Wind II in Tuscola County, and with our Pheasant Run (wind) farm in Huron County.”
Even though NextEra is working on the Pegasus Wind Energy Center, it doesn’t mean then have given up on the proposed Tuscola Wind III project in Almer and Ellington townships.
Earlier this month, U.S. Federal District Court Judge Thomas Ludington sided with Almer Township officials against NextEra Energy Resources LLC in lawsuit filed by the energy company. Tuscola Wind III LLC, which is a subsidiary of NextEra, filed a lawsuit against Almer Township and the township board alleging there was an effort to stop the energy company from developing a wind farm of 55 turbines in those two townships.
Despite the decision the issues between Almer Township and NextEra’s Tuscola Wind are not over, according to Garner noting NextEra has not given up on developing Tuscola Wind III.
“Only part of the lawsuit was decided on,” he said. “There are still other issues.”
Tuscola Wind III has a similar lawsuit pending against Ellington Township that is still pending in court.
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