- Are contractors moving too fast on the Oceana-Mason wind farm?
- What are examples of successful wind farms in the United States?
- Why was the coast of Oceana and Mason selected for an offshore wind farm?
- Is there enough wind?
- What about birds, fish, and bats?
- Are there other wind farms as large as the one proposed off the coast of Oceana and Mason Counties?
- What is Wind-Turbine Syndrome?
Are contractors moving too fast on the Oceana-Mason wind farm?
No. We're looking at time frames measured in half decades.
The wind farm off the coast of Oceana and Mason will not have permission to break ground for nearly half a decade, even if the contractors' exploratory proposal is allowed to continue TODAY.
The state of Iowa is one of the most successful stories for wind power in America. As of 2009, 15% of the power produced in Iowa comes from wind farms (source), compared to Michigan which is currently under 2% from wind power. Iowa started placing wind farms in 2004, and now produces 11% of all wind power generated in America.
Iowans pay significantly less than Michiganders per KwH of elecricity. They have lower unemployment rates. And they have reliable elecriticy on demand. It's arguable if wind farms cause these favorable conditions, but they demonstrably have not hindered them.
Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota are additional examples of successful wind power production in the United States.
Oceana and Mason counties appear to be one of the best potential wind farm locations in America, if not the world. Here's why...
- It's close to high population areas (Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Toledo, etc.)
- It appears to have extremely favorable wind offshore (GVSU and the contractor's three year feasibility studies will determine this with more certainty)
- It has major electicity grid access close to the lake.
- It has a 1850 MW pumped storage power plant, effectively one of the largest batteries on Earth.
The pumped storage power plant is a major factor in why Oceana and Mason are a place of extreme interest for offshore wind farms.
Three years of feasibility studies are required to know for sure, and that's one reason to let the offshore wind farm contractors perform their research, alongside GVSU. But there is ample evidence from multiple sources showing excellent wind quality in Lake Michigan. The Canadian Wind Atlas shows this. As well as the US Department of Energy.
The wind farm contractors conduct three years of environmental impact studies before presenting their findings to decision making parties including the State of Michgian, The US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Coast Guard. These include studies on the impacts of bird, fish, and bat populations.
For more thorough results, Grand Valley State University is also conducting independent environmental impact studies.
The wind farm off the coast of Oceana and Mason will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world at 1000 MW, putting West Michigan on the map as a major player in the offshore wind energy industry. This is a testament to the ideal wind farm conditions in the Oceana/Mason area: Proximity to major population centers, excellent wind speeds, major power grid capacity close to shore, and the 1850 MW pumped storage power plant (one of the largest batteries on Earth).
What Is Wind-Turbine Syndrome?
Wind Turbine Syndrome is still under investigaton, with few docmented cases and no concensus over whether it exists. It is a term given to a set of symptoms experienced by a few who live very close to wind farms, usually within half a mile. It includes dizziness and nausea, concentration problems, mood problems, and headaches. Some speculate it could be a result of inaudible "infrasound" or ultra low frequency noise, which has shown to have affects on the body. Others suggest that the symptoms are identical to sleep deprivation, and are more likely caused by audible sounds from living well within half a mile from a wind farm.
Since there is no evidence of significant "infrasound" being emitted from modern wind mills, wind mill engineers have focused on making the wind mills quieter and recommend putting wind farms a distance of at least 2 miles from population centers. The modified offshore wind proposal is planned for being 4 miles from the coast.
Read more about this subject in the article "Do Wind Turbines Cause Health Problems?"