From 2012- The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a proposed Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) line has passed its first regulatory hurdle. The $5 billion transmission line to send power from wind farms off the East Coast cleared a hurdle, allowing the Google backed project to move to the next step in the approval process, officials said. The AWC, which would transport up to 7,000 megawatts of power, is also backed by a private company called Good Energies, and Japan’s Marubeni Corp.
The project faces regional and federal regulatory hurdles which backers hope to clear within two years so it can nail down financial agreements and start transmitting power by the end of 2017. Google is investing 37.5% of the equity in this initial development stage, with the goal of obtaining all the necessary approvals to finance and begin constructing the line. When completed, the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone will stretch 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia and will be able to connect 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines. That’s equivalent to 60% of the wind energy that was installed in the entire country last year and enough to serve approximately 1.9 million households.
This compares to the Thumb Loop transmission line project now underway in Michigan’s Thumb region.
Google – The wind cries transmission
Chicago Tribune – Google-backed wind power line clears hurdle.
Succession from Township
From 2012 – Huron County, Michigan – During a monthly meeting held at the Chandler township hall it was revealed that several landowners holding wind lease agreements wish to cede from Lake Township. The move by these landowners looks to be a result of the 207 to 128 defeat by Lake Township voters of a wind zoning ordinance favorable to wind development. The wind leaseholders are requesting their properties scattered within the first 2 plus miles of Lake Twp north of Kinde Road be transferred to Chandler Township to allow for wind energy development based upon Chandler Twp’s favorable zoning regulations to wind development. It’s unclear if these landowners are homestead residents of Lake Township.
Chandler Township is part of the Harvest Wind II project consisting of 33 wind turbines being developed by Exelon Wind LLC. DTE has also announced its intention to begin work on a 70 turbine project also located in Chandler Township.
Lake Township Could Shrink by 30% under Proposed Land Transfer
The Huron Daily Tribune is reporting that Lake Township is at risk of losing up to 4,000 acres in a proposed transfer to Chandler Township sought by property owners holding wind lease agreements. If the agreement is ratified by both township boards, Lake will cede over 1/3 of its total acreage to Chandler Township. Lake Township’s size is currently 13,248 acres.
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. ThumbWind.com 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.
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.
ThumbWind.com 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 ThumbWind.com will be there.