Family Sees New Crop of Wind Turbines Emerge

Workers prepare a foundation for one of the 56 wind turbines in the Lake Winds Energy Park.

George Sadler has watched the seeds of renew­able energy sprout from the ground in Mason County, where we are building the Lake Winds Energy Park. As foundations were poured and access roads built, Sadler eagerly anticipated the day when crews would begin to erect a 500-foot wind turbine in one of his cornfields.

“You bet,” he said. “We’ve been with this project 100 percent.”

Sadler, 76, and his son, George P. Sadler, granted easement rights for about 240 acres of their land for the 100-megawatt wind farm that’s slated to begin operating by the end of 2012. The elder Sadler sup­ports the Lake Winds Energy Park because of the eco­nomic and environmen­tal benefits it promises for the peo­ple of Mason County. The project will produce $33 million in direct and indirect economic impact for the area, including an infusion of sorely needed tax revenues.

“Over 10 or 20 years, some real good will come of that money,” Sadler said. “This will help pay for basic ser­vices, maybe get us some roads paved, pick up refuse and fix up the town hall. All the people will get a little piece of the pie.”

Generating electricity from wind power also helps offset emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and provides a homegrown renewable source to help balance Michigan’s energy portfolio.

“It’s just common sense,” Sadler said. “Someday we’re going to run out of gas and oil and we’re going to need to have electricity from solar, water and wind for power.”

The Lake Winds Energy Park is the prod­uct of a shared vision between Consumers Energy and local residents in Mason County, Sadler said.

“The Consumers Energy people listen to us,” he said. “They’ve been very helpful and are right there with any­thing we need.”