Michigan wind farm dodging legal hurdles

Jan. 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM
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LANSING, Mich., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Michigan utility company Consumers Energy aims to complete a new wind farm in the state despite legal challenges from local residents.

Consumers Energy is putting the finishing touches on a 100-megawatt wind farm in Mason County along the state's east coast.

County citizens in early January filed a lawsuit against Consumers Energy, complaining about zoning permits regarding the wind farm's construction. Consumers Energy has foundations built for about half of the 58 wind turbines planned for the Lake Winds Energy Park.

Dennis Marvin, a spokesman for renewable energy developments at the utility company, told Michigan Public Radio it was tough to find a good spot for the wind farm because of the lack of transmission lines.

"The best wind in Michigan is in the thumb area and that's why most of the wind development is occurring in the thumb," he said. "What they lack is adequate transmission capacity to support all the wind development."

Mason County citizens filed an injunction in the county's circuit court seeking to block construction. The case is pending.

Legislation passed in Michigan in 2008 requires utility companies to get 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015. Consumers Energy said it expects to reach 8 percent by 2012.

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