Thursday, Sep 29, 2016
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Riga Township turbine project in jeopardy

BLISSFIELD, Mich. — Developers say the new regulations on wind turbines approved by the Riga Township Board might completely preclude the development of wind energy in the township.

Doug Duimering, Exelon Wind’s regional manager of business development, said the wind turbine developer cannot go forward as planned with its three-township-wide wind project with Riga’s new ordinance in place.

“With the limits they passed in the ordinance [Wednesday] night, we cannot place a single turbine on land leased in Riga,” Mr. Duimering said.

Those limits include a new setback restriction that will not allow the wind turbines to be placed as close to property lines as the plan needs and the sound restriction is too low of a decibel level.

Exelon had planned to place 45 turbines across Palmyra, Ogden, and Riga townships. The developer had already leased over 4,500 acres of land in Riga that it is now unable to use.

Still, Mr. Duimering said the ordinance might still be changed with less restrictive regulations if Riga residents petition for a referendum.

But in the meantime, the company is focusing on Palmyra and Ogden townships, which are both still in the process of amending their zoning ordinances.

“[The wind projects] could be placed within the Palmyra and Ogden townships,” Mr. Duimering said. “So we continue to work with Palmyra and Ogden to place a well designed project in those townships.”

Exelon is one of four developers hoping to place a total of 200 wind energy projects across Riga, Ogden, Palmyra, and Fairfield townships. Riga is the first township to amend the zoning ordinance that will regulate turbines.

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