Several state and federal agencies are opposed to a wind farm proposed for Adams and Stanton Townships. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) cited concerns over potential effects on local bat populations as being the main driver in denying a permit to Circle Power.
James Mihelcic from the Guardians of the Keweenaw Ridge says the group is preparing for more work ahead.
In their application, Circle Power had already talked about possible sites in Gratiot Lake and Toivola.
The group formed to oppose commercial wind energy developments in the area in recent months. Circle Power has 60 days to file an appeal to the decision.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service recommended against a previous plan for the location as early as 2017. In its conclusion then, the agency wrote, “Based on our review of the information currently available concerning wildlife use of the Keweenaw Peninsula, we recommend identifying an alternative project site…”
EGLE’s Water Resources Division used a more recent memo from FWS to justify its denial. “Furthermore, the proposed project will have significant adverse effects on the natural resources
associated with the take and habitat degradation of the Northern Long Eared Bat. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) June 11, 2021, letter and Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (MDNR) July 12, 2021, letter express significant concerns regarding impacts to threatened species, as well as the lack of an analysis of alternative sites for a utility wind project.”
Circle Power had submitted a 20-page document detailing the steps it planned to take to monitor the potential installation’s effects on wildlife. It was willing to feather its turbines, the process of turning the blade direction so that they don’t spin as much even in the presence of wind, during peak migratory periods. For six weeks in the spring, and another six weeks in the fall, the turbines would not be generating any power at dawn and dusk. Teams would also be paid to track carcasses found in the clearing surrounding the base of each turbine. Those mitigation efforts were not enough for regulatory authorities.
Several of the documents making up correspondence between Circle Power and the respective government agencies can be found here.