A Free-Market Energy Blog

Rural America vs. Big Wind (Fulton Township, MI Says NO)

By Sherri Lange -- May 4, 2022

“Krista Kester of rural [Nebraska] said the noise, visual blight and lower land values she expects with proposed wind farm would be devastating to the countryside where her family built a house about 20 years ago. ‘I spend virtually all my time when the weather is permitting outside, I mean I’m an outside gal, that’s just what I am and the notion of that being gone was, you know, really disturbing.’”

– Quoted in Dan Swanson, “Opposition Rising Against Gigantic Windmill Turbines,” News Channel Nebraska, April 26, 2022.

It’s a quintessential American Midwest town that, among other things, hosts Food With Friends events. The last thing the neighbors want is politics necessitated by a government-enabled project that negatively affects their economics and even health.

A four-hour meeting this April 20 by the Fulton Township Board (Michigan) deliberated on issuing a special land use permit application to Heartland Farms Wind Project, consisting of 84 sites and 72 turbines in Fulton, Washington, Newark, New Haven, North Shade and North Star Townships.

The Fulton Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously against the utility scale wind farm, good news to the large majority of the 100+ participants. The project’s parent, Invenergy, a Chicago based wind promoter/developer, is back to the drawing board.

Bryce: 328 Project Rejections

The macro picture of project pushback of government-enabled wind and solar projects has been chronicled by the leading energy journalist/researcher Robert Bryce. “This morning, I published a piece in Forbes which includes the latest updates to the Renewable Rejection Database,” he wrote.

I was compelled to write this piece because the big media outlets continue to ignore, or minimize, the anger in rural America over the encroachment of big renewable projects…. The vote in Otoe County is the fifth rejection in 2022. It also marks the 328th time that government entities from Maine to Hawaii have rejected or restricted wind [and solar] projects since 2015….

… you won’t hear about these hundreds of rejections from the Sierra Club. Nor will you read about it in the New York Times even though the resistance to the encroachment of big renewable projects is so widespread, and so many communities in New York are rejecting wind and solar projects…. Nor will you hear about the widespread resistance to renewables on National Public Radio, which as I explained in a March 7 article for Quillette, has been publishing pro-wind propaganda that is masquerading as news.

Nor will you hear about it from academics at elite universities like Princeton, Stanford, and the University of Texas, who are producing elaborate net-zero models that require deploying massive amounts of wind-energy capacity.

Bryce continues:

  • Much of the opposition is centered in the Midwest, which has the nation’s greatest concentration of turbines. Opponents have banded together to block wind projects in at least half a dozen states, including Nebraska, South Dakota, Indiana, and Michigan. Disputes are still being waged in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Maryland. Intense opposition also exists in parts of the Northeast, including Maine, New York, and Vermont.
  • Dan Litchfield, a senior manager at Invenergy, “one of the world’s largest wind-energy developers,” indicates that “A lot of people tell me they like the look of wind turbines,” he added. “They find them graceful.” But opponents in signatures garnered by the wind company in South Dakota, Lincoln County, easily defeated a 150-turbine project.
  • In Maine, plans to erect turbines atop ridges have outraged people worried about marring the rugged landscape and hurting tourism. The group Friends of Maine’s Mountains has been fighting wind-energy developments in the state Legislature, before regulatory panels and in the courts. It has managed to slow or stop nearly all of the proposals.
  • Flash mobbing in Indiana: some claim opponents are well organized and branded, Tee shirted, and pamphleteered. “Gregg Townsend, the auditor in Tipton County, Indiana … said activists would “gin up anger and frustration” in many counties. He blames them for stopping wind projects in Tipton and at least six other Indiana counties.”

Conclusion

The unanimous decision to deny Heartland Wind the total access needed for its master plan speaks to the growing ferment of angst and anger against taxpayer-pocket-heavy developers.

Congratulations to the residents of Fulton Township, and applaud Melissa Zemla, Treasurer, Chad Marecek, Clerk, and Trustees Robert Baxter and Michael Oberlitner. As Robert Bryce reminds us: “Rural America gets bad vibrations from big wind.” The bottom line is that, as noted, people care about their health, their economies, and their rural lives.

4 Comments


  1. Richard Greene  

    This article is deceptive.

    What the people in nearby Gratiot County, Michigan did,
    is to reject MORE windmills. They already have lots of them.

    The reader gets a different impression from the article.
    And that is dishonest, whether intentional, or unintentional.

    MW County
    Beebe Wind Farm 81.6 Gratiot County
    Beebe 1B Wind Farm 50.4 Gratiot County
    DTE/Invenergy
    Gratiot County
    Wind Project 213 Gratiot County
    Polaris Wind Park 168 Gratiot County[52]
    Pine River 161 Gratiot, Isabella Counties

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Michigan

    Reply

  2. Sherri Lange  

    Richard…not sure how you feel “misled.”

    The article merely reflects on THESE SINGULAR decisions, while noting that a rather large fly was in the ointment for the largerscale “linked” development proposed. Actually, for both projects.

    It is fairly well known that MI has gobs of turbines. We assume readers know this.

    Sorry if it was not more clear.

    Reply

  3. Michael Spencley  

    Richard Green fails to recognize that this article was about the resistance to wind projects in the Midwest and beyond. This resistance has come as a result of the many existing industrial wind turbine projects that are wreaking havoc on the flora, fauna, humans, and landscapes. Your acerbic comment is not accurate as there were obviously no misleading statements. Perhaps you should read it again in context.

    Reply

  4. Sherri Lange  

    This may be as good a place as any to refer to events in France.

    There is indeed a universal massive pushback on industrial wind. Folks and communities have had “enough.” News is spreading fast that these are expensive, unruly noise makers, including the ILFN, felt but maybe not heard, and extremely harmful to wildlife and all living things, including lobsters in the oceans (current from the cables). I think the potent information coming out of the failures of dreamscapes such as NET ZERO, and the Climate Lies, the foundation to industrial wind proliferation, will tip this scam over increasingly.

    STORY: We can expect more….this is catalytic.

    By Hannah Thompson
    A court in southwest France has awarded a couple €128,000 after acknowledging that wind turbines near their house were the cause of physical, mental, and financial problems for them.

    After six years of judicial proceedings, the court in Toulouse found in favour of the couple, who are originally from Belgium.

    The couple, known as Christel and Luc F., lives in Tarn, Occitanie. There are six wind turbines near their farmhouse property, all within 700-1,300 metres.

    The court ordered two wind farm companies using the turbines – Margnes Energie and Sasu Singladou Energie – to pay the couple €128,000 in damages in recognition of the pair’s suffering and the devaluation of their property.

    Lawyer for the couple Ms Alice Terrace, told Le Figaro: “This isn’t a case that you see every day. I think that this court decision is unheard of in France.”

    https://www.connexionfrance.com/article/French-news/French-court-finds-wind-farm-as-source-of-health-issues-for-residents

    Reply

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