In Community Wind Faces Roadblocks, IPR News Radio explains that the village of Northport owns the hill behind its new sewage treatment plant, and a planned wind turbine about half the size of the windmill outside Traverse City will supply half the electricity for the plant.
Tom Gallery and more than a dozen other investors formed a private company and put up their own money to finance the turbine,allowing them to use federal tax credits and incentives that would not be available to the village of Northport.
Despite the benefits of local owners generating clean energy and using it on site, community wind projects are rare in Michigan. And Steve Smiley says it's because the state makes them difficult to do. "Every time we turn a corner someone's putting up a wall in front of us."
Smiley is the project manager for Leelanau Energy. He says, under state rules, there's an incentive to keep these projects smaller by paying less for the electricity as the projects get bigger. Originally, the Northport turbine was designed to supply all the electricity at the sewage plant. But at the lower rate, the numbers didn't make sense.
And Smiley says if state rules required a fair price for all community wind it be a lot easier to do. "We wouldn't have to go through tons and tons of paperwork and complications and have twenty or thirty people involved for a year just to try to do a piddly little project."
Read on for the rest of this interesting piece - what do you think?
The Grand Vision Energy Working Group invites you to the first of a series of forums titled “Focus on Energy” addressing topics important to our vital regional energy needs. The forums will provide forward- looking conversation highlighting the energy-related challenges and potential solutions that require our focused attention over the next few years.
Pre-registration is encouraged but not required – just send an email with your name and the number of attendees to email@example.com.
November 4, 2010: Feed-in Tariff January 13, 2010: Natural Gas Combine Cycle January 15, 2011: Energy Expo February 3, 2011: Hydraulic Fracturing March 3, 2011: Energy Efficiency April 14, 2011: Energy Economics
Can Northport be fully powered by renewable engery? A group in Northport seem to think so. The Northern Express reports:
The two medium-sized wind turbines will generate approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours per year. They won’t completely power the village, but they will generate enough electricity to power the town’s new waste water treatment plant and a portion of other municipal facilities, said Douglas McInnis, president of the 20-member Northport Energy Action Task Force.
The rest of the energy will come from solar, geothermal, possibly a future biomass plant, and energy conservation initiatives. The task force has plans to help people winterize and retrofit their homes as well as educate people on the various state and utility rebate programs such as energy-efficient appliances and CF bulbs. If state funds become available, the group will apply for a grant to help with their plans for educational programs, home energy audits, facilitating installation of energy saving components and developing local citizens, business and government partnerships which in the future might help these initiatives become self sustainable.
October 16, 17 and 18th will find people from all walks of life gathering on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, MI for the 8th annual Great Lakes Bioneers Traverse City Conference. Organizers expect over 800 participants over the three day conference weekend.
Bioneers is a national conference that attract people from all walks of life who care about sustainable social change, green building, environmental justice, how we educate our children, and how we grow our food and care for our planet. It takes place at a number of satellite sites, and speakers are beamed in from the "headwaters" conference in San Rafael, CA. This year the Bioneers are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the organization and founder Kenny Ausubel will be one of the speakers.
Friday night at 8:00 PM in The Milliken Auditorium will be a Water Festival Concert featuring members of the Earthwork Music Collective. Seth Bernard and May Erlewine will be joined on stage by Breath Owl Breath, Susan Fawcett, Darlene, DeDe Alderman and others. On Saturday night at 7:30 PM at the State Theatre, the documentary film "Fierce Light" will be shown. This documentary explores what ignites the fire inside and take an active part in a cause. There will also be a dance and mixer featuring Jamie Register and the Glendales. Get all the details at Great Lakes Bioneers or call them at 231-947-0312.
A hoop house is little more than big sheets of plastic stretched covered-wagon-style over a series of metal arches. As the program relates, these no-tech greenhouses can trap enough heat from the sun and soil to keep things like spinach, kale, and even salad greens growing well into the winter.
April is a month that folks seem to think about more wisely using resources. This week's Enterprise has a nice feature on community power consultant and Leelanau resident Steve Smiley.
Smiley’s home serves as a case study for the Michigan Energy Office, Department of Labor & Economic Growth and is an example of energy (and fuel) savings.
...Smiley said he hopes his home’s carbon-neutral energy consumption will become more the rule than the exception. His vision for Leelanau County includes the creation of shared utilities (heat, water, electricity) which are powered by natural fuel from the sun and wind and renewable sources such as trees, which absorb carbon.
The photo is Windmill by j lakechick and seeing it made me think about how once necessity forced folks to take advantage of the energies inherent in nature as a matter of course. Funny how we appear to be returning to that point.
The Record-Eagle reports that plans for a wind farm in Centerville Township are on hold until at least next year while the township drafts a zoning ordinance to regulate commercial windmills. Industrial wind company Noble Environmental Power has agreed to not submit a formal application until the wind energy ordinance is completed. According to the story:
The Connecticut-based company, which specializes in wind energy, earlier this year identified about 8,000 acres of land along County Road 645 north of Cedar as suitable for a cluster of wind turbines that each would stand nearly 400 feet tall and could generate up to 1.5 megawatts of power.
The TC Record-Eagle reports that Centerville Township planning commissioners will meet April 4 to begin work on a zoning ordinance to regulate commercial windmills and address public concerns about height, noise, property setbacks and environmental impact.
Noble Environmental Power, a Connecticut-based company that specializes in wind energy, identified about 8,000 acres of land along County Road 645 as suitable for between 40 and 60 turbines. Each 390-foot turbine could generate up to 1.5 megawatts of power.