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2 large renewable energy projects planned for Muskegon County

By Jon Mills/WZZM-TV • Sep 30, 2018 at 12:00 PM

MUSKEGON — Two large-scale renewable energy projects are proposed for rural land along M-46 in Muskegon County.

One is a solar project that could be built on 1,900 acres of land the county owns at the wastewater treatment facility. The second is just east of that location on various parcels of private land in Casnovia Township.

Studies show the wastewater property that's currently used to grow crops could support a solar project capable of producing 125 megawatts. At that size, it would be the largest solar project in Michigan.

On Sept. 25, the Muskegon County Board of Public Works agreed to ratify, approve and confirm previously executed solar lease, easement and real estate purchase option agreements with Muskegon County Solar Project LLC, a subsidiary of Tradewind Energy Inc.

The action will allow the company to assign the agreements to Consumers Energy, which is considering moving forward with the solar project. Kansas-based Tradewind Energy and Muskegon County originally entered into a solar lease agreement in August 2016.

The wastewater facility is 11,000 acres. The property under consideration is south of Apple Avenue.

The proposed project would not impede wastewater operations, officials say.

Consumers Energy is pursuing a clean energy plan, and the company opened its GVSU Solar Garden earlier this year. The solar panels at that site can produce 3 megawatts.

East of the wastewater property, Casnovia Township's Planning Commission is considering a wind project.

Sempra Energy wants to build 31 turbines on farm land the company would lease from property owners. If built those turbines could produce 100 megawatts. The project is meeting strong opposition from residents.

Both projects remain proposals. If either is built it would likely be two or more years before they could go online.

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