Four faculty members at Michigan's Grand Valley State University have been awarded a grant to explore potential conflicts with locating wind power facilities in coastal areas of Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties.
The project team includes Erik Nordman, coordinator of the natural resources management program; John Koches, senior program manager at Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI); Kurt Thompson, research associate with AWRI; and Paul Isely, associate professor of economics.
The team received $139,912 from Michigan Sea Grant to examine the issues surrounding wind farms, which include environmental, social, economic, aesthetic and policy concerns.
Nordman, who serves as principal investigator, says the goal of the project is to help communities avoid conflicts over wind energy development.
‘There are a lot of benefits to wind power, such as mitigating climate change and reducing coal or natural-gas imports from other states,’ says Nordman. ‘But, challenges include how wind turbines might affect tourism and the environment, like birds and bats.’
The findings of the study, expected to be complete in May 2011, will be available to government representatives, environmental advocates, business groups and residents.
SOURCE: Grand Valley State University