LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - Emotions ran high Tuesday night as many residents voiced theirconcerns over the future of tourism in Ludington. Others at thewind turbine meeting were in favor of the alternate energy and thepossibility of creating a new industry and more jobs.
The developers of the proposed project, Scandia Wind, made its presentation to apacked house at West Shore Community College. The project calls for100 to 200 wind turbines to be placed in the waters of LakeMichigan, about 3.7 miles off shore.
The 1,000 megawatt Ludington Wind Farm would span 100 squaremiles between southern Mason County and central Oceana County.
The turbines would sit about 300 feet above the water andproduce enough energy to power thousands of households.
The key to harnessing and transferring the energy is theexisting Ludington pump station that would act as a battery,developers say.
"(The) Ludington area for offshore wind power is the best sitein the United States of America," said Harald Dirdal of ScandiaWind.
But there are many concerns and drawbacks, including aestheticsand the impact on fishing, boating and the environment.
The first negative gasp from the audience came when developersshowed a mock-up display of what the wind farm would look like fromthe shore line.
"Pentwater is almost 100 percent reliant on tourism," oneresident said.
And developers say placing the turbines farther off shore andout of sight would increase costs dramatically. They also admit,some birds will die. But the wind farm will produce natural reefsfor fish, according to a Scandia Wind representative.
Members of the boating industry expressed concern about the sizeof the project.
"It could be devastating to our economy," said Ken Friedrich ofthe marina industry. "All we have left in Michigan is tourism andrecreation and boating."
The developer's main selling point is that building thefoundation alone could produce 2 million man hours and createthousands of short- and long-term jobs to maintain thefacility.
"There will be a boom in this city," Dirdal said. "That thiscity has never seen."
The unique properties off Lake Michigan will require newtechnology to put the turbines in place. The project's cost isestimated at $3 billion and could take between five and 10 years toget up and running.
Neither city or county officials have taken an official positionon the issue. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality andArmy Corps of Engineers are responsible for any offshorefacility.
Because this is a new endeavor, the project may require newstate legislation to get off the ground.
If and when Scandia Wind gets all the permits and approvals tomove forward, it will sell its shares in the project to anothercompany that will do the construction.
A series of public meetings will continue in January.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow made roads "treacherous" Sunday and urged people to stay home if possible.