Wind farm group hopes to clear the air

Katrice Perkins/ Daily Mining Gazette L'Anse community members gather to discuss the RES group's proposed wind farm and zoning ordinances at the American Legion in L'Anse on Thursday evening. The presentation was led by Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition director Kevon Martis and hosted by the L'Anse Township Planning Commission.

L’ANSE — The Renewable Energy Systems group is planning to have an open house on February 21 at the L’Anse American Legion from 6-8 p.m.

RES Senior Development Manager, Mason V. Sorenson said the purpose is “for the community to talk about the project.”

Sorenson believes there has been much speculation and spreading of wrong information. For example, he said he does not know about a project that is proposed to have 133 turbines, contrary to public belief.

“That is incorrect. We’re looking into 30-55 turbines,” said Sorenson.

He said, “We’re surprised about the misinformation. We want to share as much accurate information with the community as possible.”

Sorenson said the wind farm project is still in the beginning stages. The group is still conducting research on about 19,000 acres in Baraga County, with only about 100 of those acres proposed to be used for the wind farm.

Sorenson would like people to know the research process is long so that they can reduce as much risk and harm as possible.

He said the potential impacts are greatly reduced because of the studies they do on, birds, migratory systems, seasons and more.

RES has been in “close communication” with U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources.

“They review our results and that helps determine where we might put them (turbines)” said Sorenson.

Turbines are typically used to generate electricity.

“It has the potential to bring down energy rates,”  said Sorenson.

He said RES is aware of the extremely high rates that the residents pay and that it “could certainly overall lower the cost.”

Sorenson said all electrical energy sources have trade-offs, but the wind farm is beneficial to the community.

He specifically mentioned economic benefits. The farm construction could bring up to 300 jobs, with a permanent hire of six to eight people for full-time “well-paying jobs” once the farm is up and running. Sorenson also said RES would be paying “a lot “ of money to L’Anse for property taxes.

Sorenson was there for the presentation from Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition director Kevon Martis on Thursday evening and was able to hear some of the concerns and answer a few questions.

He stated the group will have more information at its open house and said, “We’re hoping that you all will come back and hear another side of the story, not quite as evil as Mr. Martis suggests… I would like for everyone to keep an open mind,” said Sorenson.

Community members in attendance said they plan to visit the open house.

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