We have attended multiple Minden Township Planning Commission and Minden Township Board meetings regarding the new Minden Township Solar Ordinance.
We have several concerns that we would like to address, starting with what appears to be the lack of knowledge that DTE is working to bring solar farms into Minden Township. With over 600 citizens in Minden Township, and only a handful in attendance makes it seem like there has not been enough communication regarding the solar farms, and we want to bring this topic to the attention of as many people as we can. The impact of the solar farms will be significant, and we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to have a voice before there isn’t a chance to do so.
Several of the questions that were discussed at this meeting included things such as setbacks, numbers of acres it takes to produce the desired megawatts, devaluation of the land, change in weather patterns, future plans for further development, health concerns, and much more. The DTE representatives, planning commission, and township board members did respectfully answer all the questions presented, which we are thankful for, but we personally think more people need to be made aware of these questions and answers before moving forward.
One of the specific questions asked was how many acres it will take to produce 1 megawatt. One of the DTE representatives said it takes between 6-8 acres per 1 megawatt. They are looking to produce 200 megawatts, which equates to between 1,200-1,600 acres of farmland. Additionally, a question was asked about the expected timeline a solar farm will be in place. 30-40 years was the answer to this questions. That is an entire generation of farmers who may not have the opportunity to farm if the solar farms are put in.
Another question brought forward was whether we want to take farmland and have it turned into industrial property. In Minden Township, citizens have worked a lifetime to develop farmland, and there was a lot of discussion surrounding the loss of the farmland. Again, the impact of this decision is significant and deserves the attention of all the citizens of Minden Township.
We suggest that citizens contact any of their local government officials, such as the planning commission board, township board, the county commissioner (Jon Block, firstname.lastname@example.org), or our U. S. Rep (Lisa McClain, Cole Wood is Lisa’s Thumb area liaison email@example.com) with any concerns you may have.
You can find contact information for the other local officials at https://mindentownshipmi.com/.
The next meeting is January 10th, and we want to encourage the citizens of Minden Township to do research, to get a better understanding of the solar farms, and to come prepared to talk with the planning commission, board members, and DTErepresentatives about the pros and cons of the solar fields. While there are tax benefits earned from the solar farms, we encourage everyone to think about preserving the rural character of the community we live in.