Citing its economic benefits, many rural communities across Michigan have reiterated strong support for wind energy in the state.
“Having spent my entire working life with the stress of farming and its financial uncertainty, I know a lot about facing lenders and creditors and asking them for more time to meet financial obligations. Wind income is a gift,” says Keith Iseler, a retired farmer in Huron County. “For farmers, wind energy is a crop to harvest, with no expense or risk. That is especially true right now, since commodity prices have been headed down for close to two years and are likely to remain low. Having that reliable income pumped into farms in the Thumb, which is spent at local businesses, helps the whole region.”
“Wind energy has become a big part of our long-term planning to meet our goal of providing low-cost, dependable electric service,” says Melanie McCoy, superintendent of Sebewaing Light & Water, a local utility company in Huron County. “The Thumb has a fantastic wind resource, which means the cost to produce renewable energy here is much lower than in other parts of the state. Purchasing low-cost wind energy helps us keep our rates low, which is a direct benefit for our customers, as well as small businesses and the community.”
“When wind developers engage the community and work together with community members and leaders, wind power can bring many economic opportunities and much-needed revenue to our communities. That’s what happened in my community in Gratiot County,” explains Don Schurr of Greater Gratiot Economic Development.
“Wind power creates new economic opportunity through property tax payments from wind developments, which are used for many things, including local road improvements and infrastructure, school improvements, local parks, senior services, and public safety. In addition, wind creates jobs by employing folks who install and maintain wind turbines, as well as bringing workers to the region who pump additional resources into communities.”