This week, John Deere announced three new wind energy developments in Michigan. The company says that one of them will be in Lenawee County, and the other two in the Thumb region over by Lake Huron. MSU Extension's Doctor Lynn Hamilton tells us that she thinks Michigan has been doing a decent job of setting itself up for wind -- and other green -- energy projects, even if it did leave the gate a little later than some other states.
The Thumb has more turbines than any other part of the state, and Doctor Hamilton say that's partly just because plenty of wind is generated by the nearby lake. However, she also says that West Michigan hasn't heard much talk of such projects simply because developers don't think residents here would want 400-foot turbines dominating the attractive Lake Michigan shoreline:
Russ Lundberg, with the Huron County Building and Zoning office, tells us that another reason why the Thumb gets most of the wind farms is the size of land parcels there. He says that, out that way, you'll see larger plots of land owned by farmers, so it's easier for wind companies to negotiate leases. Rather than leasing land from several owners for their turbines, they only have to deal with a few. He also says that his county continues to hear of new wind energy developers who want to build in the area, and describes the county's relationship with them as cooperative, despite the concerns of some residents about noise issues.