Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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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