Shiawassee County residents not exactly blown away by proposed wind turbine project

SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI (WLNS) – Plans to build a new wind farm in Shiawassee County have been met with some resistance.

But despite the pushback, Apex Clean Energy, an independent renewable energy company, continues to pitch its project to residents who live in the county.

Dozens of people packed inside a conference center in Owosso Wednesday night to get some more insight about this controversial plan.

Apex wants to build approximately 60 wind turbines that would encompass land in four townships: Middlebury, Owosso, Fairfield, and Rush.

The company’s goal is to start construction on the project by fall of 2018.

Here’s what it’s proposing: The wind turbines would cover 16,000 acres of land, where about 140 families live.

Apex says it would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the township which would then positively impact residents, businesses, schools, and law enforcement.

The company also says studies show it will increase property values.

But those who live in the county aren’t exactly blown away. Residents say turbines can be detrimental to a township because of the noise, their height, and trespass zoning.

Many are concerned it will ruin the view of the country side and property values.

6 News talked with representatives from Apex Clean Energy tonight, as well as concerned residents who live in the county. Opinions on the project are pretty split.

We’re excited about this project, Scott Hawken said. He’s the Director of Project Development for Apex Clean Energy.

“We’re excited about renewable energy in Michigan, I mean a project of this size would employ up to six to eight full time employees in the county, it would bring $12 million worth of tax revenue. That’s a big economic stimulus to a county and we want folks to understand that.”

“I’m convinced that this is the single biggest, largest, negative impact of anything in Shiawassee County in my lifetime,” Robert Callard said.

Callard is a long-time resident of Shiawassee County. He said for 27 years he worked for the Michigan Department of Transpiration, evaluating the socioeconomic environmental impacts of big projects like this.

Callard said he lives in the southwest corner of the county. He said although he’s not directly affected by this, he has some serious concerns.

“I mean, it’s a drastic change. Just think about it ya know, 60 story things out there and there are noise problems there’s no doubt about it.. I mean these are 600 foot tall.”

“This is a rural community and they’re come into a rural community thinking that they can kind of fool the people,” One concerned resident, who asked to be unnamed, said. “It’s not going to happen. We’re going to fight it; we’re going to fight it tooth and nail until people realize that this is an investment company. This is not about energy.”

The county commissioners are now considering a wind energy moratorium.

In the meantime, the company has not applied for permits on this project; however Apex officials say they plan to submit a special use permit, with a site plan to the county.

If the county does not approve the permit, the project is a no-go.


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