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.
Author Note: This post received tremendous response last year. Since that time the political mood in Huron county has changed to be more cautious of Big Wind projects. Set back and sound restrictions have put a damper on many future projects. We would like to hope that we had something to do with this new attitude. This is a repost from April 2105.
In only a few short years, Huron County Michigan went from a sleepy rural county internationally known for its navy beans and sugar beets to the premier wind energy and animal product producer in Michigan. Hundreds of wind turbines dot the county primarily along the western edge facing Saginaw Bay. Wind and Factory Farms have changed the landscape and threatens to permanently change the culture of this agricultural and tourist area north of Detroit. Currently there are over 300 wind turbines in place. If plans continue at the current rate, Huron County will become dense industrial energy corridor consisting of over 1200 wind turbines over 300 foot tall converting wind for an energy hungry economy. In addition, industrial farming has taken over the community with at least 21 factory farms holding in estimated 800,000 animals in production with 24×7 operations. The most in Michigan.
Wind energy and CAFOs have radically changed the landscape of the Upper Thumb. Traveling up Pinnebog Road off of M-53 I always enjoyed my first glimpse of the sunset of a Friday night has we neared our cottage after a long week working in Detroit. Those memories are gone. Between the smell of the CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and the Wind Turbines the remote nature of the Upper Thumb’s interior is now under the consistent glare of lights, and towers. The eye burning stench of holding ponds with tons of manure from 1000’s of penned up animals is more prevalent then ever. These are not your idealistic 4-H farms, but industrial operations. The publication, Food & Water Watch, classify Huron County is one of the few extreme areas in the nation for factory farms.
Huron County is located at the northern tip of Michigan’s Thumb and is surrounded on three sides by water – Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. With over 90 miles of shoreline tourism from nearby Detroit, Flint and Saginaw. Huron County’s most important industry is agriculture, as with most of the other Thumb counties. However this designation will undoubtedly change was this area becomes an industrial wind energy zone with over 1600 Mega Watts of electricity produced annually.
This change is not limited to the Upper Thumb. Now this same industrial push is happening in Logan County Ohio, Henry County Indiana and other areas of the Great Lakes region.
Re-posted from 2012
“By signing that contract, I signed away the control of the family farm,
and it’s the biggest regret I have ever experienced and will ever experience.”
Gary Steinich, Cambria, Wisconsin. June 2011
A sad and disheartening story of three Wisconsin farmer’s experiences with a wind developers. The first is a personal narrative of Gary Steinich’s dealing with Florida Power and Light near the Wisconsin Town of Cambria. He outlines how he was lied too, sees huge portions of his land taken out of production, fields sub-divided by access roads and cable rights of way, removal of 1000’s tons of top soil and how he has to ask permission to walk on his own property.
This is an open letter first posted in 2011. It includes pictures of development taking place and an actual copy of the lease that Gary and his father signed. Truly recommended reading if you’re considering signing a wind farm lease.
The important message here is to hire an attorney experienced with wind lease agreements and land zoning and mineral rights.
Wisconsin Farmers Regrets Saying Yes To Turbines
With the self-imposed wind moratorium all but finished in Huron County several wind projects are slated to start up in the Upper Thumb this fall. Renewable Energy Systems Americas will begin construction on 47 wind turbines in Dwight, Bloomfield and Lincoln townships, while Huron Township will begin with 25.
The project, entitled the Deerfield Wind Energy project, will provide up to 200 jobs during the peak of construction and up to six permanent jobs once construction is completed. Currently more than 215 local landowners are participating in Deerfield Wind Energy
The 72 turbines will generate 150 megawatts enough to power 50,000 to 60,000 homes. Cadillac-based Wolverine Power Cooperative is the power purchaser.
In a new trend to appease landowners, RES Americas, told county officials earlier this year that every landowner within 2,100 feet of a turbine would receive royalty payments, even those with or without turbines.
Deerfield Wind Energy is scheduled to reach commercial operation by December 31, 2016.