By Bill Petzold
DENMARK TOWNSHIP — Representatives from Citizens for Informed Decisions for Denmark Township battled the wind and rain Monday to carry on their fight against wind energy.
A small delegation of Denmark Township residents gathered outside the Richville American Legion hall with signs and umbrellas to show their opposition to the proposed wind energy project. Inside the building, representatives from Invenergy, a company that develops wind, solar and natural gas power generation facilities, spoke with guests about their questions and concerns at an open house for the Reese Wind Energy Project.
“We’re glad Invenergy is here today,” CIDDT president Mark Burkitt said. “We’ve been anxiously waiting for them to arrive, and some of us are wondering what took so long. Ever since we had an informational meeting over a year ago, it seems like it’s been very difficult to get information and facts from them regarding the wind project here. It just seems like everything’s so shrouded in secrecy, and mainly that’s because there’s a gag order, a confidentiality clause between the wind energy companies and the land owners, and this prevents them from disclosing any information.”
“We’re not concerned about how much they’re making; we’re concerned about the placement, the location and the details regarding the project: exclusionary zones, things like that. We’re very concerned about protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents.”
Reese resident Margaret Countegan gripped an umbrella in one hand and one of the signs emblazoned with the words “Get the Facts” and the CIDDT web address.
“We’re not just fairweather citizens,” Countegan said. “I live in Denmark Township. When I look out my kitchen window I count 33 turbines already erected in Blumfield Township, and they’re going up in Gilford Township. … Wind energy is … the most expensive alternative energy, and we’re already paying a surchage, an alternative energy tax on our electricity bill. … I’m for looking into alternative energy sources, but not the most expensive.”
CIDDT members cited numerous reasons to oppose the Reese Wind Project, including inefficiency of the turbines, the quality of the materials used to build the machines as well as the country of origin of the parts and the machines’ visual impact on the landscape.
Representatives from Invenergy spoke with residents to answer their concerns. Several displays were set up inside the hall with information about the proposed wind farm and Invenergy’s other projects, which include the Gratiot County Wind Farm near Breckenridge. Invenergy public relations provided a statement from Vice President of Development Kevin Parzyck, who was scheduled to attend the open house later in the day.
“Today’s open house is part of the open dialogue we’re conducting in Tuscola County as we continue to engage the community with regard to our wind farm plans,” Parzyck said. “The Reese Wind Project will be our second such facility in Michigan; we are proud of the success of our Gratiot County Wind farm, which began operations earlier this year.
“In fact, Invenergy has an outstanding track record of successfully owning and operating wind energy projects across the United States. We take seriously our commitment to thriving, enduring partnerships with the communities in which our projects are located.
“As we create new sources of clean, homegrown energy, we’re proud to invest in the economic growth of our host communities through job creation, annual tax revenue, payments to landowners, and increased commerce for local businesses and services.
“We look forward to a long and successful relationship with the community here in Tuscola County.”
For information on the reason CIDDT is opposed to wind energy projects in Denmark Township, visit www.ciddt.org. For information about Invenergy and its projects, visit the company’s website at invenergyllc.com.
Bill Petzold is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.