Offshore Wind Legislation Debated.

2 Dec 2010

Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council identified these five areas as priority places for offshore wind.

Testimony was taken earlier this week on an important piece of legislation meant to layout the regulatory framework for offshore wind farms in Michigan (currently the state has no specific regulations for wind farm permitting).  Among others, the Michigan State Chamber of Commerce, members of the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council, and a number of state environmental groups testified before the House Energy and Technology Committee.

Highlights of the proposed legislation (House Bill No. 6564):

• The MDNRE (which may not be around for long) would hold most of the power in regulating wind farms on Michigan’s Great Lakes.
• 90 days after passage, the MDNRE must identify those areas that are not suitable for wind development due to environmental, recreational, commercial or military factors.
• Great Lakes bottomlands available for wind development would be leased through public auction (with a 3% royalty payment to the state based on gross revenues from the electricity produced).
• The bill would: (i) prohibit turbines within three miles of shore, (ii) require county board approval for turbines from three to six miles from shore, and (iii) require that the state be the sole regulator of turbines beyond the six-mile point.

This week’s hearing was the first time testimony has been taken on the 60-page bill, so it seems very likely to remain in committee as the lame-duck Legislature nears the end of its term.  As a result, the complex offshore wind legislation will probably have to wait until Governor-elect Snyder and the new legislators take office in January.


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