All posts by ThumbWind

Author of a fun loving and event blog covering topics of the Upper Thumb of Michigan , the wind energy capital of the Great Lakes. Offering great trove of information on Wind Energy, Cheeseburger in Caseville, Saginaw Bay, Sailing,

Bill Would Allow Beach Grooming But May Threaten Right to Walk Along the Shore

Senate Bill 1052 would let beach owners groom their beaches without requiring a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. This ability has been a goal of groups such as Save our Shoreline who have been fighting to regain control over beach areas on behalf of waterfront owners for 12 years.

However columnist Michael Eckert: from the Port Huron Tribune noted that critics say the Senate Bill isn’t exactly what it seems. On its face, it is a bill to clarify “beach grooming” regulations. The proposed law would allow lakefront property owners to mow or remove the vegetation between the water and their lawns.  But it also looks to redefine where the state has control and what is deemed public domain on the Great Lakes shorelines.”

Eckert continues that “traditionally and historically, the lakes and the ground they cover have belonged to everyone. That means that everyone has a right to float upon the water and a right to walk along the beach beneath the ordinary high water mark.” The Michigan United Conservations Clubs provided testimony that shows this bill would, “…have an extremely negative effect on public access to shorelines by allowing for the creation of fences or structures that would prevent pedestrian passage along the coast…”

If passed Senate Bill 1052 the bill would overturn centuries of legal precedent by moving the boundary between public and private land somewhere offshore. It would also threaten the tradition of beach walking all of Michigan’s shorelines. would support this bill if it can be noted that the public right to access is not jeopardized. This right is critical to the traditions unique to Michigan and our tourist industry.


Lake Township Residents Still Want Action on Beach Easement Zoning

Huron County, Michigan – The Lake Township Board has been forced to schedule a hearing on May 25th, just before the Memorial Day holiday due to pressure from resident concerns over the proposed elimination of current zoning restrictions of beach easements. The Lake Township Planning Commission is currently considering elimination of Section 1203.4 regarding restrictions on beach easements in the township. The issue was tabled and the board asked Huron County Planning Commission for guidance. has learned that the State of Michigan is clamping down hard on those easements with multiple boat hoists or dockage arrangements coming out of common “access only” easements. The State is viewing such an arrangement as a meeting the criteria of a marina. Higgins Lake in Roscommon County has been the location with recent mitigation action where homeowner associations have erected dockage allowing multiple watercraft to be moored or secured within a commons area on the lake.  The State views these  arrangements as a marina.

The Lake Township board is looking to eliminate zoning restrictions which have been in effect since 2007  thinking that it may infringe upon the authority of the State of Michigan to regulate its navigable waterways. However residents currently located in easements affected by the zoning cite that the Lake Township zoning provisions offers a “guard rail” as to the proper use of an easement. Some homeowners with easement rights are mis-informed as to what their use provisions are. Some believe it includes year- around storage of boats, hoists and other recreational items. It was further noted that a total elimination of Section 1203.4 would place any improvements on easement property outside of zoning authority of the Township. The meeting scheduled for May 25th at the Lake Township hall promises to be interesting and will be there.

DTE Energy to Build 70 Wind Turbines in Huron County Michigan

DETROIT, April 19, 2012 – DTE Energy announced today that it plans to build its next wind park in Huron County, which will add another 110 megawatts (MW) to the company’s renewable energy portfolio.

The wind park in Oliver and Chandler townships is part of DTE Energy’s efforts to expand the company’s renewable energy resources. The wind park will add to the more than 500 MW of DTE Energy’s renewable energy projects already producing, or in the planning or construction stages.

The wind park will be sited on nearly 16,000 acres and host up to 70 wind turbines. DTE Energy will file for approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission this summer. If approved, construction would begin next year. The development is being part of the Harvest Wind II development. DTEs announcement effectively doubles an early estimate of 33 turbines being placed in the area.

The wind park will be on some of the 80,000 acres in Huron County where DTE Energy has acquired easements. The company has started construction this year on three previously announced wind parks, totaling another 110 MW, on 15,000 acres in Huron and Sanilac counties.

Total investment for all four farms will be about $500 million.

The company has completed wind and wildlife studies at the wind park site. DTE Energy will begin the design and permitting processes that will lead to construction.

The wind park development is part of DTE Energy’s plan to meet Michigan’s renewable energy goals. DTE Energy expects to add about 1,000 MW of renewable power, or about 10 percent of its power, by 2015. The company plans to own facilities to supply up to half of that power and contract with third-party producers for the remainder.

The majority of the company’s renewable energy will come from wind resources, but it also has a solar energy pilot program that could produce approximately 20 MW. The utility’s renewable energy capacity under contract is about 7 percent of total generation.


Sundowned U.S. Clean Energy Policies Risk Losing Lead Over China

From 2012 – Bloomburg – The U.S. government is creating a“boom and bust” in renewable energy investment that threatens to undermine its lead over China, the Pew Charitable Trusts said in a report.

China’s goal of installing a total of 160 gigawatts of wind power and 50 gigawatts of solar power by 2020 is occurring at the same time, a production tax credit, (PTC) benefiting wind producers expires at the end of the year in the US. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has been leading the charge to renew the PTC but recent votes have failed by the thin margin.

The United States could lose is dominance in wind industry and the loss of the PTC has prompted Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, to say 1,600 U.S. factory jobs are at risk. Duke Power has pulled the plug on a large wind farm in northern Michigan.

U.S. Clean Energy Policies Risk Losing Lead Over China – Bloomberg