The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe will install its first wind turbine this fall.
In 2004 the tribe began a wind feasibility study with the U.S. Department of Energy. The original project was limited to powering greenhouses, but was expanded to include heating and cooling homes. The electricity will be linked into existing power lines and the Consumers Energy electric grid through a negotiated agreement.
The project was coordinated through the Tribe’s Housing and Planning Departments, Seventh Generation Cultural Center, the United States Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tribal Housing Manager April Borton is happy to see the project moving toward completion because of the benefits her tenants will see.
“We are happy to make this a reality and lower tenants’ costs,” Borton said. “Luckily, we got the grant money and other funding as well.”
More wind turbines could be built in the future in various locations if the first proves to be successful.
The project faced common concerns of other wind turbine projects. The public was concerned about noise and potential threats to flying wildlife, but apparently there is no need to worry. Tribal officials were quoted as stating that the wind turbines are virtually silent and studies indicate zero negative impact on local birds. “Cars driving by will kill more birds than a wind turbine.”