Have you heard about the industrial-scale wind turbine project by global developer RES, threatening the wild Michigamme Highlands and Huron Mountains of Marquette and Baraga Counties? Learn more about the developer’s plans, zoning information, maps, hazards for migrating birds, bats and treaty-protected natural resources, noise and light pollution, industrialization of undeveloped lands, regulatory information, and more.
Scope of Wind Turbines
RES Wind Energy has proposed to construct 133 wind turbines in the most remote portions of Baraga and Marquette Counties. RES refers to the Baraga County portion of their build-out plan as the “Summit Lake Wind Project”, which stretches from Herman to the McCormick Wilderness.
RES intends to construct wind turbines on the two highest natural points in the State of Michigan: Mount Arvon, and Mount Curwood. Both of these peaks, located in rugged forest lands, are increasingly popular with tourists.
Fewer details have emerged concerning the Marquette County portion of the RES wind project, impacting the Yellow Dog Plains from ridges south of the Huron Mountain Club to remote lands north of the McCormick Wilderness.
Size of Wind Turbines
RES intends to erect 499′ tall wind turbines atop some of the highest points in our region.
How tall is 499′? For the sake of comparison:
- The Bishop Baraga Shrine in L’Anse is only 35′ high
- Marquette’s historic Landmark Inn is 92′ high
- NMU’s Superior Dome is 150′ tall
Why does RES specify that their turbine heights would be “499 feet” rather than “500 feet”? The Federal Aviation Administration’s “Obstruction Lighting and Marking” rules were revised in 2016; federal regulations now view all structures taller than 499 feet as “obstructions”:
“The height of a structure identified as an obstruction has been lowered from 500 feet above ground level (AGL) to 499 feet above ground level, by amendment to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 77, Safe, Efficient Use, and Preservation of the Navigable Airspace (75 Federal Register 42303, July 21, 2010). Accordingly, all structures that are above 499 feet AGL are considered obstructions and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will study them to determine their effect on the navigable airspace. This will ensure that all usable airspace at and above 500 feet AGL is addressed during an aeronautical study and that this airspace is protected from obstructions that may create a hazard to air navigation.”
Lighting of Wind Turbines
Since wind turbines present hazards to aviation, wind turbine obstruction lighting additionally specifies that tower hubs be marked by “red flashing, strobe, or pulsed obstruction lights” and these “flashing, strobe, or pulsed obstruction lighting should be synchronized to flash simultaneously.”
Is the RES Project compatible with the wild, undeveloped Michigamme Highlands?
What are the risks and environmental impacts?