I’ve been on the west side of Michigan for a little R & R for the past week While on vacation, we took a drive up US 31, between Scottsville and Crystal Lake through beautiful rolling hills, picturesque farms and blue lakes.
While driving through the countryside, I noticed giant billboards and hundreds of yard signs for and against the Gail Windpower project.
The Duke energy Gail Windpower project is a wind farm in development that will consist of 108 wind turbines each 538 feet tall. The wind farm will cover 12,000 acres (18.75 square miles) of scenic lake Michigan shoreline. Supporters of the project claim, optimistically, that the wind farm will provide power for 60,000 homes. (When the wind is blowing).
According to Duke Energy:
Duke Energy is currently developing a new commercial wind power project in Benzie and Manistee counties, Michigan. The Gail Windpower Project will consist of wind turbines capable of generating 200 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity – enough to power up to approximately 60,000 homes. The project will encompass approximately 12,000 acres of land.The Gail Windprower project will consume 19.75 square miles of land to provide electricity for 60,000 homes. Compare the Gail Windpower project to a natural gas power plant, such as the Zeeland ‘peaker’ station that occupies a total of 30 acres. Within that 30 acres, the station generates enough electricity to power over 800,000 homes on demand. Rain or shine. Wind or no wind.
Duke Energy is working closely with landowners, government officials and other stakeholder groups to make the Gail Windpower Project a reality. As is our standard practice, we are also in contact with all appropriate state, county and local agencies to thoroughly evaluate the potential impacts of construction and windpower operations.
Landowner benefits include steady income from land-lease agreements, wind turbine fees and revenue sharing. In addition, landowners can still use their property for other purposes, including farming, ranching and recreation.
Community benefits include a new source of tax revenue that the community can count on year after year, a large number of construction jobs (and a smaller number of operations jobs), and emissions-free electricity generated locally. Communities with wind energy projects also see an increase in direct and indirect economic activity, particularly during the construction phase, when hotels, restaurants, groceries, pharmacies, parts suppliers, service providers and various other vendors benefit from additional business.
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