The question was simple enough. “Does anyone offer a Tour of the Michigan Wind Farms in the Upper Thumb?” We had been to a wind farm tour during the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival in August but we were unsure about getting a tour the rest of the year. So we were pleased to discover that DTE Energy has a Discovery Center in Michigan’s Upper Thumb. Touring a Wind Farm can be another thing to do if you’re visiting Caseville, Port Austin or Harbor Beach this summer.
Wind Farm Tours Available from Harbor Beach 4th of July Weekend
We also found that tours are going to be available from Harbor Beach’s Maritime Festival on July 6 and 7th. DTE will offer free guided tours leaving Friday and Saturday at 10 am-Noon and 2 pm. You will tour the Sigle Wind farm in the eastern Upper Thumb. Sigel is one of three DTE Energy’s first wholly-owned and constructed wind parks and was energized on Dec. 21, 2012.
The facility is located on 15,000 acres spread over roughly 600 square miles in Huron and Sanilac Counties in Michigan. The total generation facility includes 69 wind turbines, three electrical substations, and associated electrical collection system. The parks generate 110 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, capable of powering 25,000 homes in Michigan.
Group Tours of Michigan’s Upper Thumb Wind Farms
If you have a family, a workgroup or a bunch of friends that would like to explore and tour a wind farm, tours can be scheduled by calling Michael Sage at 989.269.5805.
Hands-On Exploration of Michigan’s Renewable Energy
The Discovery Center is equipped with state-of-the-art multi-media capabilities and renewable energy education videos. You can make your own wind turbine and actually create your own electricity with some hands-on interactive displays. You can also view the operations control center that manages all the wind farms that DTE operates in the Thumb. The Discovery Center is located within the Huron Renewable Energy Center, a management and operation center created from a closed retail store that DTE renovated and opened in 2016.
The Discovery Center’s also offers educational videos focus on how renewable energy came to be such a major part of Michigan’s Upper Thumb and how the technology is contributing to Michigan’s economy. The Discovery Center is located at DTE’s Huron Renewable Energy Center at 1000 S Van Dyke Avenue in Bad Axe.
The secessionists have hired attorney William Fahey of Okemos to request Lake and Chandler Townships form an arrangement utilizing Michigan Public Act 425 to conditionally transfer their properties to Chandler Township. This would allow energy companies such as DTE to use their land for wind energy development. If allowed, Lake Township’s area would shrink by 40% by ceding the land to Chandler Township. It’s also unclear if those not wishing to leave the township will be forced to also move to comply with the provision of contiguous borders outlined in the Act. The patch work of landowners who wish to succeed are denoted in Pink in the map below.
The issue will be discussed in a special meeting this evening, May 21st, at 7:30pm at the American Legion Hall at 4995 N. Caseville Road, Caseville, MI.
“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.
The folks at MidAmerican Energy put together this terrific video that shows the entire process of raising a wind turbine like those in the Thumb. The video is a little over five minutes and includes factoids during the entire process.
MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa’s largest energy company, provides electric service to 732,000 customers and natural gas service to 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.
In a statement on Friday March 13th. Michigan’s governor Snyder pressed for targets for renewable energy that will exceed former governor Jennifer Granholm’s targets of 25% renewable energy by 2025. Snyder’s goal is 30 to 40 percent renewable energy, coupled with waste elimination by 2025 .
He declared , “Decisions we make in the coming years will keep energy more affordable and available through a variety of sources while we continue being good stewards of our lakes, air and land,” Snyder said. “We also must ensure that Michigan — not Washington, D.C. – will determine how we move forward, transitioning from the sources of yesterday to newer, cleaner methods.”
When speaking on March 13th at the Detroit Electrical Industry Training Center in Warren, Snyder said the state has an energy capacity problem, in part because 10 coal power plants will be retired in the coming years. This comes as our economy continues to grow and demand increases, making our infrastructure and natural assets even more important to our future.
The governor also called for significant changes to the way regulated utilities are allowed to account for waste reduction investments. He noted “Right now, our law prevents utilities from spending more than 2 percent of their budget on waste reductions, even if that forces them to buy expensive equipment.”
Its unclear what impact this will have on the current debate now happening in Huron County, Michigan on placing a moratorium on new Wind Turbine projects in the Upper Thumb.