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Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge react to latest Scotia Wind Farm push

Rochester, Michigan based Circle Power updated plans last fall to locate all twelve turbines of its proposed Scotia Wind Farm within Adams Township. Originally, the proposal was to have a portion in neighboring Stanton Township as well. After both municipalities put a moratorium on any potential development for at least six months, Circle Power has refined its case for the development. You can read that here. Circle Power says nearly $16 million in local tax revenue will be generated over the life of the project, spanning decades, which would result in a net benefit for schools.

The grassroots organization Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge was formed in 2021 to oppose the wind farm. It has recently put out a rebuttal statement. Secretary James Mihelcic says Circle Power is overestimating tax benefits, the number of jobs created, and Scotia’s potential to impact energy prices.

“Regarding tax revenues, the developer assumes a 30-year design life (to inflate tax revenues) when in fact industrial wind turbines have a lifespan of 20 years. Furthermore, prior to voter passage of Proposal A in 1994, schools derived most of their education dollars from local property taxes. Now the primary source of revenue for local schools is the state-guaranteed foundation allowance of $8,700 per student. This allowance is used for teacher salaries, textbooks, and other basic operational expenses. However, any funds that result from taxing wind turbines only replaces (rather than adds to) the state contribution, so total student funding remains the same, with or without wind turbines.”

Mihelcic says a vast majority of the area’s electricity bill is related to maintenance and upkeep on existing infrastructure, not the cost of power generation itself. Utility rates for the Copper Country are among the highest in the entire nation.

Lastly, he argues that jobs will be created, but the impact on the local economy will be muted. “Regarding jobs, they are short term and many will go to out-of-state workers.”

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