Michigan state representatives, Jon Bumstead and Ray Franz, are working to ban wind turbines.
Local school, Grand Valley State University, currently has a 3.7 million dollar project int he works for assessing wind out on Lake Michigan. The goal: to gather real time data from the lake. The project could fuel additional projects involving wind turbines on the lake. The buoy for the project is set to float four miles out on the lake, outside of Muskegon.
Though the law likely won’t be passed in time to stop the GVSU project, Franz and Bumstead hope to prevent future projects like it, including preventing potential wind farms, from occurring.
Utility companies in Michigan have concluded that wind energy is “the most cost-effective, scalable means” of receiving electricity from a renewable source, according to the West Michigan Wind Assessment.
It is the hope that wind energy will help to reduce MIchigan’s dependency on foreign or nonrenewable sources of energy such as coal and oil.
Meanwhile, Bumstead has spouted off numerous reasons why offshore wind turbines are detrimental to Michigan including diminishing property values and destroying lake views. Bumstead has also stated that wind turbines are quote, “not cost effective,” a risky statement. It should also be noted that the wind turbines would, in many cases, be too far off shore to be visible to the naked eye.
Franz may not be any better, being quoted as saying that wind turbines are “not environmentally sound.” Continuing on to mention that the Great Lakes are our “greatest asset,” many feel Franz should consider focusing on other issues affecting the lakes rather than opposing wind turbines; which could ultimately benefit the state and are not detrimental to the lake as claimed.
Michigan currently ranks 14th in the nation, behind many other states who are embracing renewable wind energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Wind turbines would boost Michigan’s already crippled economy. Landowners can lease out miniscule portions of their property at up to $5,000 per turbine per year. Estimates released by Michigan State University and the Land Policy Institute state that if wind turbines were installed on 15% of available land, nearly 25.5 million dollars would be paid out to landowners.
A recognizable boost to the economy, as wind turbines can be installed on farms, outside of schools, health care facilities and potentially on the lake. The turbines take up very little space, allowing crops to be grown around them or cattle to graze around them. The payment per turbine could be used by the land owners for whatever necessary, such as art supplies for schools or toward a much needed new roof for a barn.
With all of this information, it is hard to believe that either representative would be against bettering the state of Michigan. Wind turbines, no matter where they are located, are not detrimental to the environment. Furthermore, they are cost-effective and can be extremely beneficial to the economy.
If you wish to contact either Reps. Jon Bumstead or Ray Franz about this issue, please click on their names.
Muskegon Chronicle; “Lake Michigan Buoy Approval Puts Wind-Assessment Project in Motion”; Eric Gaertner, March 25, 2011
Muskegon Chronicle; “West Michigan Lawmakers Propose Total Ban of Wind Turbines on Michigan’s Great Lakes”; Dave Alexander; April 6th, 2011
West Michigan Wind Assessment; Issue Brief #2
Michigan State University & Land Policy Research; “Michigan’s Potential Benefits from Wind Power Deployment”