Michigan’s Renewable Energy Mandate Causing Harm, Probably Unconstitutional

Michigan’s Renewable Energy Mandate Causing Harm, Probably Unconstitutional

Kevon Martis — Michigan Capitol Confidential — January 18, 2014

Michigan wind energy promoters have used the state’s recently released report to conclude that 30 percent renewable energy generation is readily achievable.
But this is a distortion of the report.
While the paper says it is “technically” possible for Michigan to generate 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources, the report’s list of caveats to that statement paints a starkly different picture.
A look at the report shows that not only is 30 percent is wildly unrealistic, but Michigan’s current mandate of 10 percent by 2015 is causing economic and physical issues already. It is also probably unconstitutional because of the limitations written into the law.
How close is too close?
Regarding wind turbines, the report says:

“[S]etback distances [from turbines to homes] need to be greater than 2 km [1.25 miles] in hilly terrain.

Every operating Michigan wind plant currently has setbacks that are far closer than the recommended 1.25 miles. In fact, this proposed distance is currently five times farther than the setbacks typically found in Michigan wind plants.
This large setback effectively precludes all onshore wind development in Michigan unless a developer is willing to buy and bulldoze every house within that radius. Such a strategy would certainly eliminate human health impacts from turbines noise, preserve more agricultural land and allow greater turbine density. But wind developers adamantly refuse to do so.
How loud is too loud?
Regarding noise, the report has bad news for wind developers who regularly declare wind turbine noise limits of 45 or 55 dBA as “safe” and no louder than a library.

“[I]t would be advisable for any new project to attempt to maintain a mean sound level of 40 dBA or less outside all residences as an ideal design goal.”      Read full article here…..

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