Scandia Wind Offshore asks Ludington approval (USA)
In Ludington, Michigan, a city located in close vicinity to Lake Michigan, the city Commissioners are being asked to approve a plan put forth by Scandia Wind Offshore, a wind farm development company. This plan establishes a wind farm made up of 50 to 100 turbines that would be placed along the waters edge in the counties of Mason and Oceana.
However, much debate has occurred over the possible implementation of this development and it seems policy may be made by the State of Michigan legislature to control this issue.
Wind farms are becoming a new trend in producing electric power. These large turbines are located in areas with abundant amounts of wind that can easily produce electricity for areas in the United States. This wind farm development has been proposed in Ludington and the neighboring city of Pentwater because of the mass quantities of wind produced in the area. Although there has been much debate on this proposal, the individuals living in the area may be benefited because of the 3,000 potential jobs the farm is supposed to create. These individuals would be able to work in the regions manufacturing plant making the individual parts of the turbines. However, the Lake Michigan POWER Coalition, a group opposed to the wind farm, is hindering the building of this farm due to its concerns for the overall area. This negative feedback received from the proposed wind farm has prevented any plans to move forward with this development until further discussions of the proposal have been made.
It is assumed that building the turbines along Lake Michigan will greatly hinder the view seen on the lake as well as any recreational boating on the lake. These are two major attractions to the area and will lead to a large decrease in tourism to the area, which gains an economic boost of about $300,000 just from tourism every year. The property values of those individuals owning land along the shoreline will also be greatly affected as they are already reported to being 60% to 70% of the county’s tax base. This will also make tourists seek other areas to stay when visiting Lake Michigan causing these cities to lose much needed money.
In terms of the benefits of this development, the Scandia Wind Offshore company had originally requested a manufacturing plant to be located in this same area as the wind farm. Due to this, Mason County Commissioner Bob Erickson has stated that he was in support of this wind farm simply because of the jobs it will create for struggling individuals in Michigan. However, plans have since changed and Scandia Wind Offshore would prefer to place the plant in Muskegon where the harbor is better equipped to handle the plant. This was not the original agreement made and creates even less support for the wind farm to be placed in Ludington and Pentwater.
If this wind farm does end up being constructed in Ludington, legislative action will most likely be taken to prevent property taxes from increasing and assist those counties negatively affected by the development of the wind farm. Any policy that may be affective would take time to pass through Congress, but any help individuals in Michigan could receive would assist them. This is especially true in areas where the major boost to their economy is one that will be decreasing due to new proposals that are passed and thus harm the existing economy.
Source: michiganpolicy, May 31, 2010;