RES proposes wind turbines in L'Anse

Published: Dec. 28, 2017 at 5:44 PM EST
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Renewable Energy Systems has proposed 30 to 50 wind turbines to be put throughout the Weyerhaeuser land in L'Anse township. RES officials said this area is good for power which, in turn, is good for the Upper Peninsula.

"You guys have a higher price of electricity than the other parts of the United States and wind power right now is one of the cheapest power that exists," said Mason Anderson, the RES Senior Development Manager.

So far two RES representatives have met informally with L'Anse township, the Baraga County Board, and zoning members.

"We aren't going to be issuing out tax permits anytime soon, and we have a lot of fact-finding to do right now," said Pete Magaraggia, the L'Anse Township supervisor. "Currently we are researching, just trying to figure out what the tax capture would be, which is a formula derived by the state so know what the benefits are."

Right now RES is conducting both wind and wildlife studies to see if the L'Anse area is even feasible for wind turbines. A 20-mile transmission line would also be set up if the project is approved.

"It would be trenched underground from windmill to windmill and then it goes to a substation and then a substation to transmission lines, to outside of Baraga," said Magaraggia. "So this would be a major project."

Baraga Townships said their participation depends on project approval, a decision that could be a long way in the making as the wind mills come with opposition.

"It will change the landscape forever, there's noise with them and issues with lights on them because they are 500 feet high," said Magaraggia.

L'anse township said they will not only consult Garden Peninsula for wind turbine feedback, but also the local community.

"It's not going to be a board decision," said Magaraggia. "There's going to be a lot of public input to see which way the public wants to go."

RES said this is just the early stage of development as their studies could last years. They hope to have an open house with the L'Anse community in early 2018 to share more information and to hear feedback.