WUOMFM

DTE will 'refocus' future wind energy plans after Huron County voters reject more turbines

May 3, 2017

DTE is looking to focus its wind energy development beyond Huron County after voters there rejected proposals to expand the number of wind turbines in their county.

Huron County has more wind turbines that any other county in Michigan. That's thanks to the favorable winds that make that part of the Thumb ideal for wind energy projects.  

But on Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly rejected two proposals to add dozens more. One of the proposals would have let DTE erect up to 70 additional wind turbines.

Supporters of the expansion pointed to wind energy jobs and the millions of dollars in tax revenue generated by the existing turbines as reasons for expanding the project. But opponents say the wind turbines are negatively affecting the ‘quality of life’ in Huron County.

Matt Wagner is DTE’s renewable energy development manager. He admitted many voters didn’t see the benefit.

“You know, I think some people just couldn’t answer the question ‘How does this benefit me directly?’” he said.

Wagner said DTE will refocus its future wind energy development plans elsewhere in Michigan.

A new state law requires Michigan utilities to buy or produce at least 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2022.