House Bill 6564 would introduce a number of rules for offshore wind farm development in Michigan’s portion of the Great Lakes.
The bill prohibits wind farms within three miles (4.8 km) of shore, and requires county boards’ consent for projects within six miles (9.6 km) of shore.
It requires leases for bottomlands to be sold through public auction. A process of nominating geographic areas for leases would begin within 180 days of the bill’s passage.
Leaseholders would pay 3% of gross electricity revenues to the state.
The bill would also confirm the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) as the primary agency regulating these projects. The department would issue permits for site assessment and construction.
Michigan borders four of the five Great Lakes, more than any other state. But while offshore wind farms are planned for the Great Lakes waters of Ohio and New York, no serious proposals have been proposed for offshore Michigan.
On the other side of the Great Lakes in Canada, Ontario’s environment ministry has proposed that all wind farms be at least five kilometres (3.1 miles) from shore.