The studies of Muskegon County officials, in collaboration with Gamesa USA, have indicated that a 100-megawatt, $300 million commercial wind-energy farm could feasibly be constructed on the county’s 11,000-acre wastewater site, which could be completed by 2013.
Benefits of the wind farm include “lease payments for the wastewater fund; personal-property taxes that would go through the typical allocation formula to all taxing entities; generating work in the industry for some local businesses; and possible expansion of the wind farm to interested, nearby property owners” (Source).
Citizens’ concerns regarding the development of the wastewater site include the possible loss of personal-property taxes and potential turbine-related deaths of migratory birds. A bird study is due to be completed before the installation of the turbines along with additional wind-speed testing. Muskegon County must also arrange a power-purchase with a utility company and secure approval to connect to the power grid before plans move along.
The execution of the project is further delayed by ongoing talks between Gamesa and Scandia Wind, who seek to form an agreement to create a private development team. Muskegon County Wastewater department staff continue to make preparations for the wind farm while they await consensus, measuring wind speeds with a portable testing unit and appraising underground facilities in anticipation of connecting power lines to future turbines to get electricity to the substation.