wind energy resource zones

On January 27, 2010, the Michigan Public Service Commission designated two Michigan regions as wind energy resource zones.

2008 PA 295, Part 4 requires the MPSC to designate a primary wind energy resource zone; and provides authority for the designation of additional zones.

The MPSC was required to base its decision on the findings of the Wind Energy Resource Zone Board, which submitted its final report on Oct. 15, 2009. In addition, the Commission was directed to consider and evaluate projected costs and benefits and other factors.

The order designates Region 4 as the primary wind energy resource zone, which includes parts of Bay, Huron, Saginaw, Sanilac and Tuscola counties. It also designated Region 1 as an additional wind energy resource zone. Region 1 includes parts of Allegan County.

The order also gives affected parties 21 days to reach agreement on a voluntary cost allocation methodology for the transmission upgrade projects needed to develop wind generation in Region 4, as designated. The current method used does not adequately address the unique circumstances of transmission needed for renewable energy development and equitable sharing of associated costs within Michigan. If an agreement is reached, then the necessary actions will be taken by the parties at the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO). If the parties are unable to reach a cost allocation treatment amongst themselves, the MPSC will pursue another process to resolve the matter.

The Commission issued the Report on the Impact of Setback Requirements and Noise Limitations in Wind Zones in Michigan on January 27, 2010. This report was submitted to the Legislature in accordance with 2008 PA 295 (PA 295), Michigan's Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act.

On November 30, 2009, reports on the necessary transmission infrastructure needed to serve the potential wind energy resource zones were filed in the U-15899 electronic docket by electric providers and transmission companies.

A public hearing was held on Monday, November 23, 2009 to take public comment for the report. The public hearing was held in Lansing and two additional satellite locations in Bad Axe and Traverse City.

The purpose of the hearing was to provide an opportunity for all interested persons to present statements, views, data, questions, or arguments concerning the effect of wind turbine setback requirements and noise limitations under local zoning or other ordinances on wind energy development in wind energy resource zones. A verbatim transcript of the public hearing is available.