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DTE meeting promotes wind generation

DEERFIELD TWP. – DTE Energy brought environmental activist Peter Sinclair to the Deerfield Township Hall Friday evening to tout the benefits of renewable energy and wind generation.

Sinclair, an award-winning videographer from Midland, gave a presentation aimed squarely at Kevon Martis, an anti-wind activist who was in North Branch Township on Feb. 19 to tell people that wind generation is too expensive.

According to Sinclair, that’s not true and “unsubsidized wind is on of the lowest electric generation options.” He added, “Wind should pass hydro sometime this year,” for low cost.

“How is it the rest of the world gets it and the U.S. doesn’t?” he asked. Sinclair noted the General Motors is currently investing $5 million worldwide in a renewable energy project.

Sinclair said that while wind and natural gas are currently neck and neck for price, wind has an advantage in that while the price of wind is stable, natural gas prices are highly volatile.

He predicted the future of electrical generation in the U.S. is going to be “a lot of solar, a lot of wind and a little bit of gas.”

Sinclair, who has been a frequent sparring partner with Martis in the fight over wind, spent much of his time attacking the Blissfield man’s position. Where Martis complained that wind has been heavily subsidized, Sinclair pointed out that nearly every new technology from the Erie Canal in 1821 which opened the Great Lakes region to settlement to the Transcontinental Railroad to cell phones have been technology that has been subsidized at some point. But, he said, wind subsidies dropped 67 percent between 2009 and 2017.

He counters Martis claim of wind unreliability by noted that during the polar vortex, the Salem nuclear reactor shut down when ice clogged its cooling water intakes. He said all forms of electrical generation have shutdowns for various reasons and can be planned for.

He noted that while Tesla has gained a reputation as an automaker, it’s actually the world’s largest lithium ion battery maker and it’s currently building industrial-sized installations that can store electricity generation by solar during the day. He also pointed to a 40-year-old facility near Ludington that pumps water from Lake Michigan up into a reservoir when the wind is blowing, so it can pour back through hydro generators when it’s not.

Township officials have yet to make a final decision on wind energy projects in North Branch, Burlington and Burnside Townships.