Living with wind turbines


I understand that there is an effort to construct an additional wind turbine industrial park in Schoolcraft County and the surrounding areas.

I have a home in Garden, Mich., and I can give you my experience and observations on the 13 wind turbines in our community. This is only my opinion and I am sure there are others but for what it’s worth I wanted to share my experience. I also appreciate that there are financial considerations for those leasing their property to the developers and property tax benefits to the county. I don’t participate in either. I do not lease any land to the developers and last I checked my property tax has not decreased even though I am convinced my property value has plummeted due to the wind farm project.

My Garden home stares down all 13 wind turbines and this is what I have observed over the last two years.

1. The obvious complaint is the destruction of the view and landscape. But it’s really more than that. The turbines are a “draw of your eye” and in my experience, they are all that you can really see. No matter how hard I try to enjoy my old view, you cannot see anything but those spinning blades. They just pull your vision in their direction and everything else is lost.

2. The noise. Outside will never be the same. The noise never stops and this includes both the day and night. Last summer I tried to camp out in a tent with my 5 year old son. After an hour of a steady and relentless roar, we packed it up and went inside. We have never used that tent at our home again

3. Light beacons. Forget about the stars, at night you will only see the flashing of red beacons. Similar to the noise, they never stop and at times it seems like we live at the end of a runway at a busy metropolitan airport.

4. Property values. I am not sure but I don’t think a home has sold in the area sense the turbine complex went up. That is, other than the homes the electric company purchased to resolve “issues.” Think about it, if you were looking for a home in the U.P. would you buy one in a wind turbine development? I don’t think people live here for that lifestyle.

I often travel through Traverse City and last I looked I did not see any wind turbines in the home of the company that is driving this development. Why is that? Based on their marketing efforts and similar topography you would think Traverse City would have hundreds of wind turbines.

The representatives from the wind turbine companies will likely challenge these observations but when they do so remember this. They don’t live in it. We do and until they build them in their neighborhood they have no credibility on this issue.

The one thing we have in the U.P. is the beautiful country and all that comes with it. When you are faced with that decision about wind turbines in your area make sure you remember it’s not just about you. It’s about your neighbor, your community and our way of life.

Jim Skinner