Exclusive: Developer weighs in on wind project

There has been a lot of discussion about a wind farm in Houghton County.

Stanton and Adams townships would need to approve the project.

In an exclusive conversation with Circle Power, we talked about the complex process of starting a wind farm.

Circle Power Vice President Chris Moore said the timeline can be lengthy.

“The line that we interconnect with is owned by ATC. (The American Transmission Company) but the rules governing interconnection are by MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator). So it’s a very deliberative process for you to even get to connect to a transmission line. And as you are probably aware, Stanton Township is working on an ordinance right now. (And) we’ll have to review the requirements of that ordinance to see if  we need to move machines around. So all in all we are just looking to get the permits. It is a three to four year process. Construction will probably be a one-year process..”

Moore noted a, project he worked on in Illinois is similar to the one proposed in Houghton County.

He said the amount of turbines in the Keweenaw location would likely be limited to 12.

“it just becomes part of the landscape.   In fact, you asked what could happen in the Keweenaw Peninsula. The first project I built in Mendota Hills, Illinois. Eventually, it just became part of the backdrop. It’s just not something you can comprehend when it’s first coming around.  Now, I will tell you there was a guy, he lived somewhere in Illinois where they put up something like 300 turbines. Even I might have an issue with that. We really are limited at 12, because that’s really all the transmission system in the area can take.  Some people have asked us about that, like won’t you go more? But in this area, this is probably it.”

He said there are both benefits and drawbacks to wind energy.

But Moore said the Stanton and Adams wind farm will see more benefits to the community.

He noted there are studies that could address concerns brought up by residents.

“The (concerns) that come up the most often is health effects. Sound is also something that comes up. Sound is measurable, there have been dozens and dozens of studies, he said. “There are no negative health effects associated with wind turbines.  I think the American Clean Power Association does a good job of  providing information. But I would also suggest that there was a webinar that was put on by Stanton township. (It) helped facilitate. If you go to the Stanton Township website, a link to that webinar is available. The other thing is that they do provide benefits. In particular 2/3rds of the project output and hopefully the last third will be sold locally to UPPCO.”

He said the project will change as details get ironed out.

Circle power estimates Stanton and Adams townships could see about 15 million dollars in tax revenue because of the development.