Farmers enrolled in Michigan's farmland preservation program, commonly known as PA 116, and wishing to have wind turbines installed on their land, have faced uncertainty over their status under PA 116 until now. The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) has issued a statement regarding the department's stance towards the placement of wind turbines on farmland under PA 116. The statement is favorable towards farmers with some caveats..
The statement covers three possible scenarios: the turbine will be owned by the farm, the turbine will be owned by a second party, or the farm wishes to withdraw from PA 116 for a public utility.
If the the turbine is for "personal use" or for use by a person essential to the operation of the farm, then it may be placed on land enrolled in PA 116. The MDA will consider the turbine for personal use if any one of three conditions are met. (1) "[T]he wind turbine is not connected to the public utility system and produces energy solely for use on the farm, or" (2)" the landowner maintains a valid interconnection agreement with a participating public utility, but the primary use of the turbine is for self-service power (as defined in MCL 460.10a(13))," or (3)" the landowner maintains a valid interconnection agreement with a participating utility, and the landowner is participating in a net metering program that is approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission."
Second Party Ownership
Turbines placed by persons other than the landowner, by means of an easement or lease are allowed, provided four conditions are met. (1) "The wind turbine must be placed by a public utility or the turbine owner must maintain a valid interconnect agreement with a public utility to connect to the public utility system, and" (2) "The Michigan Department of Agriculture must find that the location of the facility, and ground changing features associated with the wind generator, do not substantially hinder the farming operation, and" (3) "The facility and placement of the wind turbine must be approved by the unit of government having zoning authority, and" (4) "The landowner/PA 116 Agreement holder must agree with the placement of the facility."
Landowners who wish to withdraw from the program may do so provided: (1) "The wind turbine is being constructed by a public utility or the wind turbine owner has an interconnect agreement with a public utility, and" (2) "[t]he landowner has submitted an application for removal of the land from the PA116 program to the local unit of government having zoning authority and the application has been approved by both the local government and Michigan Department of Agriculture," and (3) "[t]he portion of the last seven years of PA 116 tax credits attributable to the parcel being released have been repaid to the Department."
Originally reported by the Michigan Farm Bureau here.
Source: Windmills OK on P.A. 116 Property. October 30, 2008. http://www.michiganfarmbureau.com/farmnews/transform.php?xml=20081030/windmills.xml. November 9, 2008.