Wind Farm Open House: Local revenue estimated at $34M over 25 years

Katrice Perkins/ Daily Mining Gazette Third-party wildlife biologist Chris Ollson answers questions from the L’Anse community at the Renewable Energy Systems open house on Wednesday evening.

L’ANSE — Renewable Energy Systems held an open house for the community members of L’Anse to discuss the proposed Summit Lake Wind Project on Wednesday evening at the American Legion hall.

Mason Sorenson, RES senior development manager, said the meeting was “a way to start the conversation.”

He encouraged community members to ask questions and speak with the experts who were available and offered a short PowerPoint presentation to give more information about RES, the project, what stage the proposed development is in, economic benefits and potential jobs.

The experts were there to allow community members the opportunity to address questions one on one and in smaller groups, regarding each person’s respective sections of the project.

Some of those experts were Sean Flannery, the director of permits; James Hatch, meteorological evaluation tower coordinator; Chris Ollson a third-party wildlife biologist; and Brian Lammer, a company vice president.

One of the benefits RES stressed was the income and potential jobs that would come to the area.

The project is estimated to be in place for 20-25 years. Throughout that period, the local revenue was estimated to be $34 million, with $2.5 million generated in the first year of operation.

That revenue would be distributed between L’Anse Township, Baraga County and the school districts, Sorenson said, estimating the township could receive $300,000 in tax revenue in the first year.

After the presentation, the hosts took questions from community members. About 100 residents were in attendance, with many wanting to be heard.

TOMORROW: Local residents offer input and questions regarding turbines operating in winter weather, roads, public access including hunting to the site, conforming with zoning ordinances and other issues.