Michigan Energy Battle May Mean More 500 Foot Wind Turbines in Communities [Michigan Capitol Confidential]:
"Residents in some rural communities are concerned that a deal in the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature to increase renewable energy mandates on utilities will result in their homes being surrounded by 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbines.
The deal is the result of lawmakers trying to satisfy three special interests that have competing goals as they rewrite the state utility regulation law.
Senate Bill 437, introduced by Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, would amend a current law that allows non-monopoly electricity generation firms to compete for up to 10 percent of Michigan’s commercial and industrial electric power market.
Customers of these generators believe the bill would end the electric choice program.
The state’s big utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy, want to get back the complete monopolies they enjoyed in their service areas before a 2000 law opened the market to competition.
Republican legislators are divided on ending electric choice, which is strongly favored by the businesses that benefit from its lower prices.
But the legislative proponents do not have enough votes in their own caucus to protect market choice. So they have offered to make a deal with Democratic legislators, who mostly side with environmentalist and wind-industry interests that want to increase the number of wind turbines.
Current law mandates that electric utilities get at least 10 percent of their power from renewable sources, including windmills.
The proposed deal would increase this requirement to 15 percent by 2020, with a 35 percent goal by 2030.
But grass roots organizers and citizens in the communities most likely to be targeted for new industrial wind farms fear the prospect of hundreds of new turbines and towers spreading across their landscapes.
...“The state legislators appear to be thinking of making yet another increase to their ignorant mandate for so-called green energy,” he said.
“Let's focus on safety, health, welfare and property rights, then if they can be done safely and fair to all, fine, move forward,” Sonck added.
“Currently, our planning commission is waiting for answers to safety questions, which to date after multiple requests have not been answered,” he said..."