photo: Martin Pettitt via flickr
Developing offshore wind farms on the Great Lakes has been touted as an overlooked resource in a number of studies and indeed a few projects are in the planning stages. Which, seemingly on cue, has aroused opposition to them on the usual grounds, as the Detroit News reports:
A Canadian company's plan to place hundreds of wind turbines in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie has more than a few people on both sides of the border up in arms.
Lynn Kotwicki is one of them. The Royal Oak resident has raced sailboats on Lake St. Clair for years and can't understand why anyone would think it was the right place to generate electricity from wind.
"We've had three races canceled in the last 10 days," she said. "And each time, it was because there was no wind."
The article goes on to describe the various groups opposed to putting wind turbines in the Great Lakes and their arguments against them. All are the usual suspects, with concerns about property values declining for those in sight of the turbines at the top of the list.
"It's frustrating--you pay a premium for the land because it sits on the water and then you pay those taxes each year," said [Jennifer Hoover]..."And they can just come in and, on their own whim, decide to throw 50 windmills out in front of our homes."
We've all heard this one before with both onshore and offshore wind farms. Thought putting offshore wind farms in the Great Lake would be easier than anywhere else? Nope.
Which isn't to minimize concerns about siting them: Though I'm a big proponent of deploying much more wind power, at the same time I don't count myself in the crowd that thinks they are beautiful. In fact I find them quite disruptive visually and particularly out of scale in many of the places where they work best. Careful siting, paying attention to absolutely minimizing disruption is essential.