The Wind Energy Resource Zone Board has issued its final report, identifying the four regions in Michigan with the highest level of wind energy harvest potential. The report, which looked only at commercial- or utility-scale wind energy on land, was submitted to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).
The final report incorporated the concerns of people who submitted comments by mail, e-mail and in person at the two public hearings held in Bad Axe and Scottville, Mich. It identifies the same four regions with the highest level of wind energy harvest potential as in the proposed report issued June 2.
The proposed and final reports identified the same four regions all located in the Lower Peninsula: one in the Thumb and three along the western side of the state. Region 1 includes parts of Allegan County; Region 2 includes parts of Antrim and Charlevoix counties; Region 3 includes parts of Benzie, Leelanau and Manistee counties; and Region 4 includes parts of Huron, Sanilac, Tuscola, Bay and Saginaw counties.
The final report reiterates that the transition to increased wind energy development in Michigan will depend on a number of factors, such as state and federal policies and incentives, community acceptance, wind resources, land availability and economic considerations. Another factor that may affect the scope and pace of wind energy development will be the ability of the electric transmission system to support the delivery of such power to customers.
Now that the final report has been submitted, transmission companies and electric utilities have the task of identifying, for planning purposes, the electric transmission facilities needed to deliver the estimated minimum and maximum wind energy potential from each of these regions. They are required to submit this information to the Wind Energy Resource Zone Board, which will review that information.
Following that, the MPSC will then issue a final order that designates the area of Michigan likely to be most productive of wind energy as the primary wind energy resource zone and may designate additional wind energy resource zones.