Wind turbine proposal sparks controversy among residents - WNEM TV 5

Wind turbine proposal sparks controversy among residents

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Wind turbines generate clean energy and controversy and they populate several farms across Mid-Michigan.

A company unveiled its vision to add another turbine to a local community.

"I'd like it to move forward as quickly as possible," said Aaron Berger, farmer in Shiawassee County. "It's going to be a financial influx into our own farm operations and in the neighborhoods. It'll raise the voltage and give us a lively equity that is our own."

The project is proposed by an energy company called Apex. They want to build enough wind turbines in the area to power about 32,000 homes.

"The proposed project is 120 megawatts of wind power across four townships in the northwestern Shiawassee County," said Scott Hawkin, director of development for Apex.

The project is facing some stiff opposition. In an informal meeting residents packed into a banquet center. Many said they were worried about how the turbines would affect their way of life.

"Bunch of red lights blinking all across the horizon. I've heard the noise is awful," said Janice Ostipow, resident.

Some said they like the idea of clean energy, but the proposal needs to be amended.

"The current setback is 1,200 feet to a home, not to a property line. So basically, they're trespassing on my property. With the shadow-flicker, if the blade was to fall, it could end up in my house and kill somebody," said Theresa Bandkau, resident.

Local leaders are excited for the money that would be pumped out from the turbines.

"The wind turbines are all taxable, so there is a steady tax revenue stream that flows to local communities, flows to the county, flows to the townships. And that tax revenue funds a number of public services," said Skip Pruss, former director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.

Berger said the benefits of the wind turbines far outweigh the annoyance.

"I got cows at home. They moo at night. Dogs bark. Wind mills will just be another thing," Berger said.

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