While Upper Peninsula residents are known to pay some of the highest power rates in the country, it comes as no surprise that alternative energy forums are growing in attendance.
Residents met in L’Anse to learn more about wind turbines as the community is considering a large scale wind farm.
How noisy are they? How ugly are they? And can I see them from my house? Those were a few of the questions asked to Brad Neumann, a representative of Michigan State University who presented surveyed data to the information seeking residents of Baraga County.
Neumann said, “The idea was to present the latest science so the community can make an informed decision. Not only local officials but citizens can have a better understanding and even the developer can all have a similar shared framework for this project and considering its pros and its cons.”
Neumann was invited to speak by the Baraga County Board of Commissioners, who says that the community should take in plenty of objective information.
The relevance comes from the current proposal to place a wind farm at Summit Lake in the Huron Mountains. If the project is approved, it would place nearly 50 turbines in the area.
While that project is still in a proposed status, other efforts are underway to persuade residents to invest in community solar gardens in the area.
“The Village of Baraga is considering the possibility of doing a community solar project or garden where you install lots of panels in one location and then different customers of the utility can invest through subscriptions or memberships to that community solar,” said Chelsea Schelly, an associate professor at Michigan Tech, who presented solar information to Baraga residents recently. Chelsea’s team is also working with the community of L’Anse on a similar community solar project.
A vote on the Summit Lake Wind Farm project is expected in the upcoming months.