Blissfield Advance Letter to the Editor 2/25/2011
The developers make claims about increased tax revenue, but the truth is that the turbines may pay no local taxes whatsoever. Wind turbines are typically built on land owned by a farmer or absentee landowner, so, since the turbine developer does not own the land on which the turbines are located, the turbines are taxed only as personal property and not as real estate. Furthermore, Senate Bill 34 (SB 34), sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs, would eliminate the personal property tax. Are the developers, then, telling the townships how much tax revenue the turbines will generate while quietly lobbying to eliminate the same tax? And are the developers disclosing that, while our local mom and pop businesses pay ALL school taxes, wind energy developers are not subject to the school operating millage but pay only the relatively tiny sinking fund or debt retirement millage? Or, since school revenue is one of their main selling points, are the wind industrialists willing to voluntarily pay the operating millage as any other commercial or industrial operation would, just for the sake of fairness?
We would all love to reduce our dependency on foreign oil; however, industrial wind turbines are not the answer. In Michigan, almost no electricity is currently produced from oil, but industrial wind turbines use oil in energy production. In fact, each turbine nacelle holds approximately 200 gallons of oil, so, with 200 turbines proposed for the area, 40,000 gallons of oil would be suspended 300 feet in the air! None of this even considers the amount of energy that is used in the manufacturing, transportation, construction, backup and maintenance of the wind turbines. One study suggests that wind turbines will not produce enough energy over their lifetime to equal the energy consumed to create the installation in the first place.
Did you know that the two countries with the highest number of installed turbines (Germany and Denmark) also have the highest electric rates among European countries? And that Holland, home of the windmill, has recently decided to abandon their wind projects in favor of more nuclear energy?
Jim Binns, lifelong resident of Riga Township.