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Apex Clean Energy rep says proposed wind farm won’t be operational until at least 2024

BELVIDERE TOWNSHIP – A wind farm project proposed for Montcalm County wouldn’t be operational until at least 2024 in a best case scenario.

That’s according to Apex Clean Energy Public Engagement Manager Brian O’Shea who gave a presentation about Apex’s proposed Montcalm Wind project to the Belvidere Township Board on July 14. About 30 people were also in attendance in the audience.

“We haven’t decided to bring our full presentation to Belvidere Township until now,” O’Shea noted. “We’re looking at land in nine different townships for our energy project for Montcalm Wind, but there’s only a small portion of that in Belvidere Township so that’s part of the reason why we haven’t been out here until the Planning Commission starting working on its wind ordinance a couple months ago. We figured, well, if they’re going to start talking about wind, we should show up and talk about our project and answer questions to the best extent we can. The vast majority of the township, we’re not even looking at.

“Best case scenario, this is still a few years off,” he added. “We’re still signing land, we don’t have proposed turbine locations, we don’t have a full project design. Even if everything went well and townships had ordinances that could accommodate a project, we wouldn’t have the project up and running and operational until 2024 at the earliest, and that’s probably an optimistic time frame.”

Tarin Minkel of Belvidere Township followed O’Shea’s presentation with her own presentation regarding what she would like to see in an updated wind ordinance for Belvidere Township.

Minkel noted the township’s current ordinance only allows a maximum building height of two and a half stories (35 feet). She requested the township limit wind turbine height to 500 feet from the tip height with a four times the tip height setback from non-participating property lines.

Minkel would also like the township to use Lmax noise measurements limiting turbine noise to 50 decibels from a property line and 35 decibels from a dwelling. She also requested the township implement an overlay district to specify turbine location for the future protection of the rest of the township.

“I really hope that we are able to protect the health, safety and welfare of our township residents,” Minkel said in conclusion.

O’Shea said he didn’t take issue with Minkel’s request for an overlay district.

“I don’t think that’s a bad idea,” he told the township board. “If you want to do an overlay district that’s an appropriate way to say, you know, wind energy doesn’t make sense everywhere. That might be something interesting for you all to pursue.”