Residents Voice Strong Support for Wind in the Thumb
72% Support Replacing Coal
with Wind and Solar
impact of wind development ripples through local economies bringing
new sources of revenue to rural communities
Mich., May 9, 2016 — Over the past several months, Wind Works Michigan and 5
Lakes Energy conducted public engagement meetings in Gratiot, Sanilac, and
Tuscola counties of Michigan’s Thumb. At each meeting, information was
presented on the economic benefits of wind development, its effect on
agriculture, how renewables compare to other sources of electric generation,
and addressed wind myths with facts.
Throughout the meetings, attendees responded to polling questions using
hand-held clicker devices.
results of these polls have been very positive, with local residents voicing
strong support for wind energy in their communities” said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt. “One of the most
interesting finding is that 72 percent of those surveyed support replacing Michigan’s
coal fleet with renewables like wind and solar; and two-thirds believe Michigan
should invest in more renewables as coal plants are retired or taken off-line.”
shows strong support for wind energy:
Revenue Sources Help Rural Communities
date, Michigan has 279 megawatts of
wind capacity under construction
according to the American Wind Energy Association. “This investment in wind is
also an investment in jobs for local communities,” said Skip Pruss with 5 Lakes Energy.
“The economic impact
of wind development ripples throughout local economies. New tax revenue paid by
wind developers brings in millions of dollars every year to help pay for
schools; county and township services like roads, police and fire departments;
and programs for seniors and veterans. This new source of revenue helps keep
more money in the pockets of the citizens.”
businesses also see an increase in their business as developers use local
service stations, hardware stores, restaurants and hotels in their day-to-day
operations. “In fact, one hotel in Huron
County reported an 89 percent increase in their revenue as a result of a wind
project development in the area,” added Pruss.
“Wind energy provides farmers a new source of reliable,
consistent income that helps protect farmland and the future of agriculture
here in the Thumb and throughout the state,” said Jim Byrum,
president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.
Port Hope, Michigan dairy farmer, agrees. “As a farmer, I have figured out that
in any area you produce what you can and what you can sell. To produce wind energy,
we need adequate wind, a relatively sparse population, and we need a market. We
have all of those things in this area.” He added, “The income is stable and the benefits are large. These
wind turbine developments can help keep the farmer on
the farm.” Wind towers require only about an
acre of land, so they do not greatly impact crops or livestock production.
wind provides 4.19 percent of Michigan’s electricity needs, with 1,531
megawatts of installed capacity from wind.
That’s enough to power more than 437,000 homes. The Department of Energy
Wind Vision report projects that Michigan could
produce enough wind energy by 2030 to power the equivalent of 710,000 American
homes. “That’s a lot of potential for further economic development for Michigan
at a time when many small, rural communities are struggling to make ends meet
and the bulk of their revenue streams are in the hands of state policymakers,”
has a lot to gain by investing its energy dollars locally with renewables. Wind
developments offer the opportunity to capitalize on jobs and economic
development while keeping the air and water clean, and ensuring Michigan’s farm
families and rural lifestyle can stay economically viable,” said Soholt.
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Wind on the Wires is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance
renewable energy in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind developers,
environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups,
clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services
to the wind industry.