- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Paving the way for wind farms: Planning commission approves local wind farm ordinance

There aren’t any wind farms in Holly Township, yet, but the Planning Commission approved a new ordinance that will regulate the use of wind farms in the township, be it for personal or industrial uses.

 The unanimous vote was cast at the regular commission meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, however, it still needs Township Board approval. Tony Engleberg, chair of the Planning Commission, said he is confident the ordinance will pass.

 Engleberg said there have been “feelers put out” on certain township properties, like the old golf course, for wind and solar energy generation.

 He said that Glen Mitchell, who owns Mitchell Farm, has been approached.

 Mitchell said Ranger Power dropped off some information, because they were looking for possible solar farm locations on more than 150 acres. They opted for a north Shiawassee County location instead.

 He said the township passed a similar solar ordinance this past spring.

 “Looking at the wind maps, Holly is not in an area where we would expect an influx of wind farms or even personal windmills,” Engleberg said.

 However, he said that the technology and wind patterns do change, and the ordinance can make someone who is interested in either solar or wind energy adaptable to those changes.

 “Currently Holly Township has no regulation (and therefore no way to approve) any proposed wind farms or even someone wanting to put one up on their property for personal use,” Engleberg said.

 The ordinance the commission approved outlined in specific detail how Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) may be harnessed in the township.

 It sets limits on noise the turbines can make, and prohibits them from being placed in a location where they can create flickering light for residents. The blades are so large, that should the sun rise or set behind the spinning wind turbines, they’re large enough to make the light flicker as it enters the home, which was a complaint at the wind farms in Gilford Township (Tuscola County).

 It also sets the distance from which a turbine can be from adjoining properties. The ordinance states that the distance between the turbine and property lines shall be equal to 400 percent of the height of the tower, including the top of the blade in its vertical position.

 The minimum lot size would be two acres.