Letters 10-17-2016

Here’s The Truth The group Save our Downtown (SOD), which put Proposal 3 on the ballot, is ignoring the negative consequences that would result if the proposal passes. Despite the group’s name, the proposal impacts the entire city, not just downtown. Munson Medical Center, NMC, and the Grand Traverse Commons are also zoned for buildings over 60’ tall...

Keep TC As-Is In response to Lynda Prior’s letter, no one is asking the people to vote every time someone wants to build a building; Prop. 3 asks that people vote if a building is to be built over 60 feet. Traverse City will not die but will grow at a pace that keeps it the city people want to visit and/or reside; a place to raise a family. It seems people in high-density cities with tall buildings are the ones who flock to TC...

A Right To Vote I cannot understand how people living in a democracy would willingly give up the right to vote on an impactful and important issue. But that is exactly what the people who oppose Proposal 3 are advocating. They call the right to vote a “burden.” Really? Since when does voting on an important issue become a “burden?” The heart of any democracy is the right of the people to have their voice heard...

Reasons For NoI have great respect for the Prop. 3 proponents and consider them friends but in this case they’re wrong. A “yes” vote on Prop. 3 is really a “no” vote on..

Republican Observations When the Republican party sends its presidential candidates, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people with a lot of problems. They’re sending criminals, they’re sending deviate rapists. They’re sending drug addicts. They’re sending mentally ill. And some, I assume, are good people...

Stormy Vote Florida Governor Scott warns people on his coast to evacuate because “this storm will kill you! But in response to Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that Florida’s voter registration deadline be extended because a massive evacuation could compromise voter registration and turnout, Republican Governor Scott’s response was that this storm does not necessitate any such extension...

Third Party Benefits It has been proven over and over again that electing Democrat or Republican presidents and representatives only guarantees that dysfunction, corruption and greed will prevail throughout our government. It also I believe that a fair and democratic electoral process, a simple and fair tax structure, quality health care, good education, good paying jobs, adequate affordable housing, an abundance of healthy affordable food, a solid, well maintained infrastructure, a secure social, civil and public service system, an ecologically sustainable outlook for the future and much more is obtainable for all of us...

Home · Articles · News · Features · 100% Renewable Energy
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100% Renewable Energy

Anne Stanton - April 5th, 2010
100% Renewable Energy? Northport is the little town that thinks it can
By Anne Stanton
Northport Village, population 648 (or so), at the tip of Leelanau County is a perfect little test town for renewable energy with its cluster of homes, quaint stores, a school, an assisted living facility, a marina, and a waste treatment plant—all within a mile of each other. It doesn’t hurt that high winds routinely whip around the village, which sits on the picturesque shoreline of Lake Michigan.
That’s why a group of villagers believes they can achieve an ambitious goal for the town: 100% renewable energy in the future, beginning with two wind turbines that will hopefully go up by the end of this year. Their ultimate goal is to also power outlying Leelanau Township (population 2,139) with renewable energy.
The two medium-sized wind turbines will generate approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours per year. They won’t completely power the village, but they will generate enough electricity to power the town’s new waste water treatment plant and a portion of other municipal facilities, said Douglas McInnis, president of the 20-member Northport Energy Action Task Force.
The rest of the energy will come from solar, geothermal, possibly a future biomass plant, and energy conservation initiatives. The task force has plans to help people winterize and retrofit their homes as well as educate people on the various state and utility rebate programs such as energy-efficient appliances and CF bulbs. If state funds become available, the group will apply for a grant to help with their plans for educational programs, home energy audits, facilitating installation of energy saving components and developing local citizens, business and government partnerships which in the future might help these initiatives become self sustainable.

This whole project was triggered a year ago with a speech that Steve Smiley, a renewable energy guru, gave at the Traverse City Economic Club.
“It really enthused me,” said McInnis, a retired engineer who subsequently asked Smiley to come up to Northport and speak to The Circle and Crackle Barrel men’s groups. “Just like me, everyone was inspired! One of our senior members said, ‘You guys sit around and talk and talk, but now here’s a chance to actually do something!’ That spurred us on.”
The group has plans to locate two wind turbines in the village on a hill above the Northport Wastewater Treatment Plant site where nothing else could feasibly be located because of the odor and low-level noise. The wind turbines will go near an existing substation and transmission line to save money. Since they will be hooked into the grid, the electrical company serving the village—Consumer’s Energy—can buy electricity generated by the turbines. One of the challenge with wind energy is that it can’t be easily stored, but that’s not a problem since Consumer’s Energy will provide a constant base load to the village.
The task force plans to buy two refurbished, mid-sized turbines for approximately $500,000, half the cost of brand new ones. McInnis said his group is now in the process of developing strategies to pay for them.
“Money: that’s the tricky part right now. We are investigating the formation of a limited liability corporation as some farmers did in Minnesota. By forming a LLC that invested in wind turbines, those farmers took advantage of corporate federal tax credits for wind power.”

If Northport formed an LLC, the investors could be paid off with revenues from selling electricity to Consumer’s Power. After the investment is fully paid back, the ownership of the turbines would go to the Village of Northport and revenues received from the power continually sold to Consumers Energy will be available for community purposes.
“We are also looking at the possibility of getting grant money or a guaranteed loan through the USDA. They have a program for funding renewable energy projects but we are investigating whether we might be eligible.”
Are there concerns about electric bills going up? McInnis said the wind turbines won’t have a direct impact on customer bills. Consumer’s Energy will buy electricity from the village for 12 cents per kilowatt hour and charge customers its standard rate, which is now about a penny below that. Consumer’s Energy is mandated by law to convert to 10% renewable energy by 2015 and these wind turbines will help them do that.
“When you look at the future, we know energy costs will go up. The cost for natural gas, propane, coal, nuclear, whatever – is going to be more expensive. By using wind energy, thanks to mother nature, we ought to have a renewable source of energy far into the future”

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