Second wind energy project called off

February 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The second wind energy developer considering building turbines in southeastern Lenawee County has canceled its project.

New zoning regulations in Riga and Palmyra townships and a Federal Aviation Administration finding that several of the proposed 492-foot turbines encroached on the airspace around Toledo Express Airport in Swanton, Ohio, were too much to overcome, juwi Wind spokesman Aaron Peterson said.

After the initial notices of hazard were issued by the FAA, juwi, a German energy company with its U.S. headquarters in Boulder, Colo., requested further study of the situation. Peterson said juwi later requested that study be terminated due to the likelihood a number of the turbine sites would receive a determination of hazard.

The sites had originally been cleared by the FAA because someone at the FAA did not realize the proximity of Toledo Express to 63 of the proposed 87 turbine sites.

The revised finding showed the turbines could be between 324 and 354 feet tall, depending on each turbine’s location.

On Jan. 26, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a request from Consumers Energy to relocate the turbines Blissfield Wind Energy LLC had planned to build in the Blissfield area to either Gratiot or Ionia counties. Consumers has a contract to buy electricity from Blissfield Wind’s turbines.

In requesting the move, Consumers said “a zoning ordinance made further development of the project in Lenawee County unlikely,” according to the MPSC’s order.

The juwi and Blissfield Wind projects were the two wind energy projects that had proceeded to the point of leases being sought for turbine sites and proposals being brought to local governments.

A third company, Orisol Energy U.S. Inc., erected a meteorological tower in Fairfield Township to measure wind speeds, but that tower is to be taken down under a court order that says it violates the township zoning ordinance that limits towers to 39 feet in height. The tower is 262 feet tall. The lack of frozen ground has prevented the use of the heavy equipment needed to dismantle the tower, township supervisor Curt Emmons said.

The proposed wind projects stirred debate in the Blissfield area, especially in Riga and Ogden townships, where a new zoning ordinance addressing industrial wind turbines in Riga Township was upheld by voters and recall elections removed two Ogden Township officials.

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