Michigan wind farms meeting goals, but disturbing neighbors

By CAITLIN McARTHUR
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan is on pace to meet its renewable energy targets, largely thanks to wind power, but issues of transparency and turbine placement have some asking whether the shift toward wind is a smart one. The Great Lakes State is well on its way to drawing 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the end of the year, as required by a 2008 law. Public Service Commission (PSC) Communications Specialist Judy Palnau said that achievement is thanks to a huge effort from utilities, with wind farms and turbines going up across the state. To date, Michigan has 18 operational wind farms with another two in development, according to the PSC. The primary location for wind energy in the state is Huron County because of its wind capacity.

Tax ruling could power wind energy projects

By PATRICK HOWARD
Capital News Service
LANSING – A recent personal property tax ruling that will cost counties millions of dollars in revenue could prove vital for utility companies and energy inducing manufacturers around the state. The State Tax Commission ruling allows energy companies to pay substantially less in personal property taxes and gives a break to state manufacturers as well. Companies that build wind turbine blades, “casts” – which house the turbines — and related parts now pay significantly less in property taxes as a result of the ruling. In his State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder stressed how the reduction on taxes for industrial equipment will effectively boost the economy and create jobs. Mark Clevey, who is the manager of renewable energy programs at the Michigan Energy Office, called the tax ruling a positive for the future of state energy businesses.