L’ANSE – Renewable Energy Systems (RES) hosted another informational meeting at L’Anse High School on its proposed wind farm project Wednesday night, displaying visual representations of what the wind farm might look like from six locations around Keweenaw Bay, as well as a preliminary map of the locations of the 49 wind turbines.
Sean Stocker from RES said the placement was designed to “meet and exceed” current L’Anse Township zoning. The height of the proposed turbines, a Siemens S129 model, would have a tip height of 498.5 feet, mandating setbacks of 747 feet or more from any property line, and farther for properties not participating in the project
Each blade, shipped as a single piece, is more than 200 feet long.
Stocker also spoke briefly about the construction process, expected to create around 300 jobs during construction.
“RES has a history of hiring local,” Stocker said.
After construction is complete, maintaining the wind farm would create eight full-time jobs in the area.
The construction is planned to take place over the summer of 2019-20, with the turbines going into energy production in November 2020.
RES also showed a video of a blade-transport system by Goldhofer that would allow them to move blades to the construction site at a 60-degree angle, reducing the required footprint and clearance needed on corners.
Anne-Marie Griger, permitting manager for RES, spoke in brief about the environmental reviews that are taking place before the project moves forward. They included two years of helicopter raptor nest surveys, which she says turned up fewer eagle nests than in other surrounding areas.
“Most of those are, as you’d expect, along the lake,” she said.
Complete results of the surveys will not be made public until RES submits its proposal to the township, according to Griger. She said they hope to submit sometime this fall.
The presenters did not take questions from the assembled group, instead inviting them to browse through the visualizations and ask questions individually throughout the room.
Representatives from Weyerhaeuser, the landowner, were also available to answer questions.
That wasn’t enough for Robert Chenoweth, 69, of Aura.
“Not much of a presentation,” he said as he left the event.
He said he wanted more information and an open question-and-answer session to hear everyone’s questions.
Burt Mason, the president of Friends of Huron Mountains, a group opposed to the proposed wind farm, agreed.
“My frustration in this is they’re not providing the community with answers,” Mason said. “We may not like the answer, but just tell us what this project is going to mean.”
Not everyone shared Mason’s feelings.
“I thought the presentation was good,” said Roy Koski, who sits on the Baraga County Road Commission. He is concerned about the level of animosity growing in the community.
“One side is going to lose, one side is going to win, and I hope they can still be friends,” he said.
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