Proposed Adams Wind Project, Stanton Townships | News, Sports, Jobs


SOUTH RANGE – The townships of Adams and Stanton both have upcoming public meetings on a proposed wind turbine project.

Circle Power, a company based in Royal Oak, Mich., Is looking to build 12 wind turbines for the Scotia Wind project – four in Adams Township and eight in Stanton Township. The 575 foot turbines would be located on land owned by Lake Superior Timberlands.

The turbines would be located at a different location further on the same property than a previous project led by Farm Wind Energy. This project was abandoned in 2015 after encountering a lack of community support.

Unlike the Farm Wind project, which would have required Adams Township to change its ordinance, the Scotia Wind project meets the township’s current requirements, said Chris Moore, partner at Circle Power. The Adams Township ordinance includes restrictions limiting the sound level to 55 decibels at the neighboring property line and setbacks of at least 3,000 feet from the nearest property line.

Moore said Circle Power’s projections showed decibel levels of 40 or less anywhere outside the property. The amount of shadow flicker should be less than the standard of 30 hours per year in a building less than a mile away, Moore said.

“We can meet all the requirements of the ordinance and still have a successful wind project, because the wind here is fantastic” Moore said.

The person behind the first project in Adams Township had approached Moore and some of the other directors in 2016 when they were working at another company to help them fund the project.

After Moore’s arrival in 2018, Circle Power purchased the project’s assets, which consisted mainly of data from a wind measuring tower.

“We were aware of the resistance of David (Hokens, owner of Farm Wind Energy), so we made a certain movement as to the destination of the wind turbines, but in general, it is the same landmass”, he said.

Adams Township and Stanton Township both have public meetings on the upcoming project. Adams Township Supervisor Gerald Heikkinen said the township is planning to hold a town hall regarding the project. He is looking to have it in July after the coronavirus restrictions were lifted to allow more people to attend.

The Township of Stanton will receive feedback from residents during a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Township of Stanton hotel. If more people show up than can be in the room, the hearing will be moved to the neighboring Liminga Fire Department building.

Based on comments received from the public at township meetings so far, Circle Power could also roll back one or two of the turbines, Moore said.

“We are evaluating that as well, trying to be responsive to what people have asked” he said.

About a dozen residents of Adams Township attended a council meeting on Tuesday to hear about the project. Among those who took the floor, all were opposed to the project.

“If it was feasible, UPPCO would do it”, said resident Bill Manderfield. “There are only certain people in this room who benefit from it, and none of us.”

Don Jarman, owner of the Mosquito Inn in Toivola, described the impact of a wind farm of nearly 400 wind turbines on the property values ​​of his old home in Illinois, a city of 300 people. His tavern, which had been valued at $ 650,000, sold for $ 350,000. . He had to sell his house for $ 84,000 after buying it for $ 250,000, he said.

Work on the ground had also made it unsuitable for future use, he said.

“If you want to see a devastated place, I’ll take you out of my pocket and pay for your hotel and take you to Illinois,” he said. “And I will fight tooth and nail.”

Although individual locations have seen write-downs or longer lead times to market for properties near wind farms, studies in the United States have generally shown minimal impact in either case on property values. .

A University of Rhode Island study examining more than 48,000 homes within a five mile radius of wind turbines found no statistically significant drop in home prices; the lower bound of statistically possible impacts was a 5.2% decrease.

The impact was larger in European studies, with a German study showing a drop in property values ​​of more than 7% within a mile and a half, and up to 23% for older homes in rural areas.

Citing anecdotal evidence the other way around, Moore said a development near his first wind farm in Illinois sold out in less than a year after having had no sales in the previous five. This was more due to the economy, he said.

“Overall, studies show that people don’t lose money on property values,” he said. “They don’t go up, they don’t go down.

Residents also questioned the potential health effects of the flickering shadows caused by the turbines. So far, peer-reviewed studies have not found any links between wind turbines and reduced physiological health. They linked the turbines to higher levels of discomfort, which could lead to effects such as disturbed sleep, according to a review from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Responding to residents’ demands to ban wind farms, township lawyer Kevin Mackey said the township’s hands were tied. In the absence of a zoning ordinance, it can only pass ordinances setting up standards. The township cannot ban anything that is allowed under federal and state laws, he said.

“If it’s overly regulated, it means they can’t do it, and they’re suing you…” he said. “And you lose.”

The projects are financially feasible because of tax breaks and other incentives, including a federal payment of 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour, Mackey said.

“You talk to the wrong people” he said. “If you’re really against it, you need to talk to elected officials in the state and the federal government. “

There are still a number of regulatory hurdles to overcome with the project. Circle Power has yet to obtain approval from several agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. FAA approval is required for anything over 200 feet; the turbines are scheduled for 575, Moore said.

Several residents have expressed concern about the potential impact on bats. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has estimated that wind turbines kill about 500,000 birds per year.

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