Parts of the U.P.’s first wind farm have already been built.
More parts of it will be going up next year.
Heritage Sustainable Energy of Traverse City has built the first commercial wind turbine on the Garden Peninsula.
The company hopes to have 13 more turbines completed next year.
Garden Township Supervisor Morgan Tatrow says the one existing turbine is very impressive, and he thinks the wind farm will be beneficial for the peninsula.
Garden Township resident Cliff Stollings would not share that viewpoint.
He turned Heritage down when it asked to lease some of his land.
The first turbine is about 1–point–2 miles away from his home, and he says that’s about as far away from a turbine that he thinks anyone should live.
Stollings says potential health risks to area residents have not been studied.
When we spoke with Tatrow several weeks ago, he said most peninsula residents support the wind farm, although there’s been no official attempt to verify that.
Tatrow says there has been no survey sent out and no non-binding ballot referendum done.
He says in discussing the issue with township residents over the last few years, most have told him they like the wind farm proposal.
Fairbanks Township Supervisor Ron Collins agrees.
He says he formed his viewpoint that most residents support the wind farm as a result of the township’s most recent election three years ago.
Collins says wind farm opponents were defeated handily when they tried to run against incumbent township board members who were known wind farm supporters.
Heritage won’t stop with the 14 turbines that are going up within the next year — the company plans to dot the landscape with many more.
Collins says after the initial 14 turbines are completed, the company will take a three-year break and then build other turbines on the Garden Peninsula.
We’ll continue following the project, and we’ll have more stories on it as they develop.