As the country’s global energy demand increases, so does the importance of finding a renewable energy source. In today’s society, renewable energy plays an integral role in providing people with environmentally friendly, clean and inexhaustible electricity and heat. Michigan has the opportunity to implement clean energy practices through wind turbines. By installing both on- and offshore wind power sites, Michigan can become a leader in renewable energy. Michigan legislators need to find a way to provide funding for large-scale wind turbines and construct wind farms within the state.

An offshore wind farm with 36 turbines began operating off the coast of the Netherlands in 2007. The operation currently provides power for about 100,000 households. The turbines are located six to nine miles offshore and are not, for the most part, visible to people on a nearby beach. The first proposal for the same type of wind turbines in Michigan off the coast of Lake Michigan near Pentwater was shut down last year after strong opposition by the Lake Michigan POWER Coalition — a non-profit organization committed to preserving and protecting Lake Michigan’s resources.

Wind turbines are one of the best sources of renewable energy because once they’ve been built and put into place, they only require wind to function. America’s energy needs have steadily increased in recent years, and if Michigan could supply its own renewable energy, then the state could reduce its energy expenses and become more economically self-sufficient.

Legislators need to reconsider the proposal to install turbines in Michigan. One of the main arguments against wind turbines is their unpleasant appearance and size. Many opponents claim that turbines will reduce the property value of lakefront homes if they are visible. However, if the turbines are placed far enough offshore, potential tourists and local residents should not be able to see them except on extremely clear days. And if turbines were constructed in Lake Michigan, they would be built a large distance from land to ensure the highest wind power.

As a state with a history of industrial manufacturing, Michigan has the infrastructure needed to produce wind turbines. If the wind turbine plan was put into effect, recycled oil tankers could be used to install the wind turbines far offshore, since this type of ship is large enough to transport the massive turbines. Implementing the project with recycled oil rigs would be an additional benefit and make the process more sustainable. Additionally, this plan would provide a boost for the Michigan job market, which the economy could certainly use.

The principle argument against wind turbines is the aesthetic concerns from waterfront homeowners and cities that rely on the tourist industry. But by placing large wind turbines far off coastlines, that concern can be eliminated. Wind turbines are a tremendous source of renewable energy, and the Michigan Legislature needs to find funding for turbines and create a plan to implement them.

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