Lewis Milford: Michigan Renewables Cheaper than Coal: Another State Success Story.
Report on effectiveness of Michigan’s requirement for 10% of energy to be achieved through renewables showed:
- Generated over $100 million in investments in the state, spurred manufacturing, and created jobs.
- Created more than 100 megawatts of new renewable capacity in the state, putting it on track to meet its 10% requirement.
- Cost of these new renewable projects — including, wind, solar and hydro — is less than the cost of a new coal plant.
- Both DTE and Consumers Energy anticipate exceeding the laws target requirements for renewal production.
Lewis Milford is the President, Clean Energy Group (CEG). The full article can be found at the Huffington Post.
The residents of Munger near Bay City have opted out of a wind farm project that promised to bring at least 12 jobs and $108,000 in direct income to 9 of the 413 families that populate the area. NextEra Energy had planned on placing nine turbines within Merritt Township as part of an overall plan that also includes Bloomfield and Gilford Townships Those communities have already approved the placement of up to 70 proposed turbines.
The issue looks to have divided the community as the nine property owners would have received a reported average of $12,000 per year in lease payments from the wind development. It’s unclear if this development will impact the rest of the $250m project.
NextEra Energy is based in Juno Beach Florida with 2010 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity, and approximately 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada.
To be clear, the recent settlement of a lawsuit by 20 residents of Ubly Michigan with major wind developers is private and undisclosed. Anyone pointing to a single reason for the settlement on this particular case is speculating.
However it’s a now a matter of public record that the wind farm defendants in the Ubly case did unsuccessfully attempt to prevent the opinion of a local property assessment firm that showed that the plaintiffs suffered a reduction in property values approaching $1 million. This negative impact on property values mirror several landmark cases seen in Western Europe where wind energy has been growing over the last decade.
In a case in England in 2008 a homeowner prevailed in a lawsuit with her local government. Jane Davis was told she will get a discount on her council tax because her £170,000 ($268,000) home had been rendered worthless by a wind turbine 1,000 yards away.
Even the real estate mogul Donald Trump is not immune from the negative impact of wind farms. Trump is in the process of developing a golf and hotel resort in Scotland. Plans for development of 11 turbines near the resort in an offshore development have caused Trump to claim it will ruin the views from his new championship golf course north of Aberdeen Scotland. Trump wrote the authorities, “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history.” Trumps project is valued at $1.18B.
The Ubly case, while settled, may open up the proverbial can of worms as other nearby residents of established and projected wind farms attempt to sell their home or family farms in the months and years ahead.
From 2012 – An undisclosed settlement of a lawsuit filed by 20 residents claiming that the construction and operation of the wind farm caused the plaintiffs to suffer adverse health effects, emotional distress and economic damages. Court documents from the Huron County Clerk’s office list the defendants as John Deere Renewables, Deere & Co., Noble Environmental Power LLC, Michigan Wind 1 LLC and RMT Inc.
The lawsuit filed May 11, 2010 in Huron County noted the plaintiffs were seeking in excess of $25,000 with injunctive relief ordering the companies to cease and desist their activities.
Property Value Drop Due to Nearby Wind Farms A Potential Consideration of the Settlement
A key element that may have led to the settlement was evidence introduced by the plaintiffs that pointed to loss of property value. The wind companies unsuccessfully attempted to exclude the opinion and testimony of the plaintiffs’ property valuation expert, L. Mark St. Clair of Vasser, who inspected the plaintiffs’ properties. His opinion noted an $829,545 combined loss in property value since Jan. 1, 2009. St. Clair’s website notes that he provides appraisals for litigation dealing with Commercial-Agricultural-Industrial in the Bay, Huron, Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac and Tuscola Counties.
Judge M. Richard Knoblock denied the motion by the plaintiffs’ to exclude St. Clair’s opinions and testimony on Dec. 23.