Michiganders debate over offshore wind

June 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM
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LANSING, Mich., June 11 (UPI) -- It's too soon to put a limit on the offshore wind energy potential in the Great Lakes region of the United States, a Michigan advocacy group said.

State Republican Reps. Ray Franz and Greg MacMaster, from districts in northern Michigan, introduced legislation banning research in or production of wind energy in the Great Lakes sharing a border with Michigan.

The measure would prohibit the leasing for the "placement, construction, operation or maintenance of any structure to research wind energy development, any wind turbine, or any equipment or structure related to a wind turbine."

Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council James Clift told Michigan Public Radio it was too soon to limit offshore wind.

"We have a number of universities who have gotten grants to do research on offshore wind," he said in an interview published Monday. "It may be decades down the road, but to restrict our ability to even learn the possibilities there is extremely shortsighted."

A 2010 report from the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council says 35 percent of Michigan's Great Lakes are considered favorable for wind energy development.

MacMaster and Franz said they're concerned about the potential damage to offshore wind technology during the state's rough winter.

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