© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Clinton County exploring moratorium on utility renewable energy projects

Wind Turbines
Pixabay Creative Commons

Officials in Clinton County are considering a one-year moratorium on all new utility sized wind and solar energy projects.

If the Clinton County Board of Commissioners approve the moratorium, 11 townships in the county would be prohibited from accepting applications for new solar and wind farms. That's as some residents have voiced criticism of new renewable energy construction.

Doug Riley, community development director for Clinton County, said concerns from residents include the impact on farmlands and the aesthetic impact the projects would have on the region. He added some residents also want the county to only produce "our fair share" of solar and wind projects and avoid doing more than what would serve the county.

Riley framed the moratorium as a chance to allow the county to examine its existing zoning laws for renewable energy projects and evaluate those concerns.

“The purpose of the moratorium is to study those regulations," Riley said. "All those (concerns) would be studied during that one-year moratorium."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's MI Healthy Climate Plan calls for achieving carbon neutrality in Michigan by 2050. Part of this goal includes supporting investments in renewable energy as well as electric vehicle plants to combat carbon emissions.

While state officials laud these projects for supporting economic development and expanding job growth, some residents are uneasy with the state offering financial incentives for the investments. And many large-scale projects, like the megasite proposal in Eagle Township, have generated scrutiny from locals.

Riley said he understands some people would oppose a moratorium on new wind and solar projects.

"Certainly, there's folks that don't feel there's a need for a moratorium or fear that is just going to delay potential renewable energy projects," Riley said. "So we definitely understand and hear both sides of those arguments."

The county’s planning commission is holding a public hearing on May 11 to discuss the potential moratorium. That group would have to send the measure to the Clinton County Board of Commissioners for a final vote.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!