This video has been edited to clarify the role of a farmer in the story.
CONWAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) – The site of a proposed solar power plant is causing a stir near Fowlerville.
Conway Township is slated for the plant and is holding its first public hearing about changing solar energy ordinances.
A director with Chicago-based Ranger Power said there are no permits just yet for this plant but they are closely watching Monday night’s public hearing.
“The reason why this location is well suited for solar development is proximity to large load centers. So in this case, serving Lansing and Flint area,” said Ranger Power Development Manager Drew Vielbig. “Headland Solar will produce power for roughly 30,000 homes without creating greenhouse gasses.”
Project leaders said the land for the plant has been would be leased out from already interested area farmers. The proposed site spans 1,500 acres near north Fowlerville road and Mohrle Road. If plans move forward, developers expect to provide tax revenue and power to nearby communities.
But many residents said they don’t feel the plant is right for their town.
“This is a really nice community that’s growing. A lot of people put everything into their homes and it’s so worrisome,” said resident Kelly Ralko, a former Conway Township Planning Commission member.
More than 200 people filled the Fowlerville Junior High School’s auditorium. The turnout had Ralko hopful.
“I feel like this shows how concern people are and they really want to be involved in the process and what renewable looks like in their township. Whether it is on the small scale or larger scale, I think everyone needs to be involved,” she said.
Not all who attended the meeting opposed the farm. One grower showed support for the project.
“The struggles of figuring out whether you can continue to do something your family has been doing for decades. That’s what’s at risk” said Brendan Miller. “If we don’t allow farmers to diversify their income, if we don’t allow farmers to do something to benefit their coffers. you’ll see more farmers go out of business in the next 20 years,”.
This isn’t the only solar farm project in mid-Michigan. Granger Waste Service is also interested in expanding its renewable energy service with a proposed solar project near Locke Township.