Views of Wind Development from Michigan’s Windfarm Communities

February 2017
Sarah Mills

In June 2016, landowners in ten Michigan townships with utility-scale windfarms were mailed a survey about their experiences with wind energy. These townships collectively host over a third of the state’s utility-scale wind turbines and represent a wide range of geographies (the Upper Peninsula, Northern Lower Peninsula, and the Thumb), prevailing land uses (farming, recreational, or forest land), and size of windfarm (6 to over 80 turbines). Additionally, these communities represent a wide spectrum of different responses to wind development, from communities that have halted any future wind development to those that have eagerly welcomed additional turbines. The survey sent to these landowners aimed to gauge their attitudes about wind energy in their communities, and then tried to understand what might account for the different experiences so that other communities who are considering wind development can ensure that it respects local community values