Back when Thumbwind was launched about six years ago we undertook the the the 2011-2012 Thumb Wind Survey. It was one of the most viewed articles we posted in the early days. We predicted a total of 466 turbines in the thumb by 2017.
As of March 2017 the Huron Daily Tribune reported 473 wind turbines operational in Huron County. ThumbWind’s popular Wind Farm Map serves to track wind farms being planned or in operation throughout Michigan. We also added Wind Farm Accidents to our page.
Needless-to-say this is well beyond our expectations in 2011. The recent moratorium of new wind farms has halted several large projects in Huron County but projects in Tuscola and Sanilac continue to proceed. Development of new wind farms has turned to Mid-Michigan as of the projects are being proposed in Isabella County.
Thumbwind.com will be consolidating its tracking of projects this Fall and projecting a 2018-2020 projection by January 2018.
Voters in Michigan’s Upper Thumb rejected proposals that would have allowed two wind farm projects to proceed in Huron county.
In referendum held May 2, 2017 voters defeated a proposal for a renewal energy project by DTE Energy extending just under 17,000 acres. 70 turbines would have been placed with landowners holding wind lease agreements with DTE in Lincoln, Sigel, Bloomfield and Dwight Township. (1,110 yes to 1,923 no) On the same ballot voters also defeated a proposed project by NextEra Energy Resources in Sherman and Sigel townships. (1,120 yes to 1,934 no)
Other communities voting to restrict wind development include Lincoln Township who will be forming its own planning commission and Sand Beach Township who passed a strict sound ordinance restriction that effectively prevents wind farm development in the township.
Huron County Michigan hosts the largest concentration of wind turbines in the Great Lakes region. Currently there are 443 turbines in operation with 29 more expected completed this year. The vote now prevents landowners in the 16 affected townships from working with wind farm developers on any new projects. The restriction affects Bingham, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Dwight, Fairhaven, Gore, Grant, Hume, Lincoln, McKinley, Rubicon, Sebewaing, Sheridan, Sherman, Sigel and Winsor townships. It’s unclear if new wind development projects will be planned in the other 12 townships.
Blissfield Energy highlights the construction of the Michigan Wind 2 near Minden City. This is a five minute overview of wind turbine construction in Michigan’s Thumb.
The following was an opinion letter from Robert and Arlene Schipinski of Filion and published by the Huron Daily Tribune. The cost of self zoning efforts of several townships brings to light an important topic of high taxation for non-homestead owners of farmland and shore line cottages coupled with the frustrating inabilty to have a say on community affairs from which they are taxed.
To the editor:
Foster Swift attorneys have been representing the pro-wind in Marion Township and anti-wind in Lincoln Township. It is unethical of them to be representing both sides. They are fleecing the townships and laughing all the way to the bank. Is Lincoln Township going to be bankrupted by the board bleeding the general fund with Mike Homier’s legal fees? At approximately $2,500 to $3,500 per appearance, it adds up fast.
Township boards are not answering the questions from the public. Landowners who don’t live in the township, but have to pay taxes here, have absolutely no voice. They cannot vote on an issue pertaining to their land. This is “taxation without representation.” Landowners are being denied income from their land. In the near future if the state mandates that 30 to 35 percent of the energy come from renewable resources, farmers and landowners may not have input in wind turbine placement and may not be compensated for them.
Both sides of wind energy are frustrated with the inconsistency of the Huron County Board of Commissioners. Instead of using the processes that have been approved, they are flip-flopping their positions and adding new requirements at every chance. They are creating exclusionary and spot zoning.
John Nugent votes to pass the Lincoln overlay at the planning commission level then says it is not in compliance at the board of commissioners level. David G. Peruski helped for two years write the overlay and wind ordinances at the planning commission level but now votes for stricter standards on just wind energy. Wruble is creating the same fiasco as is in Meade Township with his five-year wind moratorium. Green energy is the future and the Board of Commissioners and the Lincoln Township Board are wasting a lot of the taxpayer’s money with their unlawful tactics.
Robert and Arlene Schipinski