Proposed wind farm in Muskegon and Kent Counties causing turbulence among residents

Posted at 4:41 AM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 05:36:40-04

CASNOVIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A proposed wind farm in Muskegon County is causing some turbulence for people against the idea.

A meeting was held in Casnovia Township Planning Commission Thursday night over what would be called the Kenowa Ridge Wind Farm Project that would stretch across parts of Muskegon and Kent Counties.

The farm would include 31 wind turbines, each nearly 500 feet tall.

"These are nearly 500 foot tall towers, that's taller than the statue of liberty they are very large," says Rick Sible, a resident against the wind farm project.

Many residents say they have health concerns when it comes to the turbines, some worried about the shadow flickers they would make, and the noise coming from them.

The project is spearheaded by Sempra Energy, a spokesperson for the company was at Thursday's meeting and told residents it could bring clean energy and jobs to the area.

"Economic development. You're bringing in construction jobs, all of the benefits that go with that spending, you're bringing in money through farmers with lease payments that's reinvested back into the community, and of course tax dollars coming into the Township," says community affairs manager for Sempra Energy, Lisa Briggs.

Sempra experts estimate $750 thousand in annual payments to landowners who allow turbines on their property, and that if the company is ever sold all permit obligations, lease commitments and community commitments remain in effect regardless of ownership.

"These are controversial projects, they just are. And I hope as in other communities once the project is up and running, it's no longer strange and people get used to it and realize there is a benefit to having these projects in their communities," says Briggs.

No decision was made at Thursday's meeting. The planning commission will meet again on October 25th to further discuss the wind farm project. If the planning commission votes to move forward, it would go to the Casnovia Board of Trustees who will make the final decision.