Wind turbines could be constructed in Muskegon County as soon as next year if a California-based developer’s plan moves forward.
The Casnovia Township planning commission shared details on Sempra Renewables’ proposed Kenowa Ridge Wind Energy Project at a public hearing Thursday.
The commission requested more information on the project before voting.
They have the power to request changes before approving or denying the project. If the planning commission greenlights it, the plan would go before the township board for a vote.
Casnovia Township documents show the developer wants to build up to 31 wind turbines.
Lisa Briggs, who handles community and government affairs for Sempra Renewables, said the company requested a special use permit from Casnovia and Tyrone townships.
The company already has a wind farm in Huron County; it began operating last year.
“We have to do sound studies to verify that these machines are not going to be producing a sound any higher than allowed by the county ordinances,” Briggs explained over the phone. “In fact, we’ll be doing everything in our power to keep them much lower.”
Noise is a top concern for Marina Ferrell. She’s a new mom who lives about a half-mile away from one of the proposed turbine sites.
“If it’s something that’s going to be right there – I can see it. I can hear it all hours of the night. I would want it to be benefiting locally,” Ferrell said of the power the energy project could produce.
The company says it plans to sell the energy the wind farm creates to Michigan companies.
Ferrell found out about the proposed wind farm when she received a notice from the township about Thursday’s public hearing.
Her mother, Kari Georgopulos, stays at Ferrell’s home on Laketon Avenue often. She’s hoping to learn more about how the wind farm may change the area.
“It might sound all good with the green energy and everything, which I’m totally all for right now, but on the other hand, what is the after-effect?” Georgopulos questioned.
Briggs explained to 24 Hour New 8 what people can expect as far as noise.
“In general, people will hear a whoosh if they’re standing under them, but by and large, you’re talking about a sound that if you’re within 100 to 1000 feet, it’s really not all that impactful,” Briggs said in a Monday phone interview.
Briggs said the company began talks with township leaders in November 2017. They made their official request for a special use permit on June 6.
If the wind park is approved by the board, the company would start construction no sooner than late next year, according to Briggs.
The Casnovia Township Zoning Administrator declined to comment about the project, but a township attorney said there will be another public meeting about it on Aug. 21.
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