AZBA denies variance applications on Pegasus turbines

As happened in July, the Tuscola County Zoning Board of Appeals on Friday denied variance approval requests on several wind turbines associated with the Pegasus Wind Energy project.

The eight turbines are to be sited near the Tuscola Area Airport and variance approval is needed by the AZBA in order to erect them as their height (450 to 500 feet) exceeds the airport ordinance. 

Pegasus is owned by NextEra Energy Resources, an alternate energy corporation headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. NextEra presently operates three wind farms in the Thumb.

The original Pegasus project called for 63 turbines to be constructed in Juniata and Fairgrove townships. Presently, the project includes 60 potential turbines – 31 in Fairgrove Township, 19 in Juniata Township and 10 in Gilford Township. 

The AZBA on Jan. 13 and Friday at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center in Denmark Township listened to Pegasus officials give a similar presentation to the one given to the AZBA in June, when the corporation asked for variance application approval on 33 turbines associated with the project.

In July, the AZBA denied variance applications for 33 turbines associated with Pegasus. NextEra appealed the decision in Tuscola County Circuit Court, and in November, Judge Amy Grace Gierhart overturned the denial. Subsequently, the AZBA in December filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. The case is pending.

NextEra is likely to appeal the AZBA’s Friday variance denial as well.

In fall 2018, construction commenced with the building of base supports and access roads for nearly all of the wind turbines involved in the project. Though the erection of the turbines has stalled due to litigation, 18 turbines associated with the project already have been constructed. 

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