Turbine tourism: Bus tours of a wind-energy park are a big hit
Michigan now has nearly 900 wind turbines, and that lit a lightbulb in the entrepreneurial mind of retired teacher Gene Jorissen. Last summer, he started leading hour-long bus tours of the turbine-dotted Lakes Winds Energy Park in the western part of the state. From Livingston Daily:
The bus stops 1,000 feet from a turbine, and passengers get out. “People want to know, how noisy are they? So, we sit and listen. We talk about various concerns people have about them,” he said.
Then, the bus stops at his cousin’s house. The cousin has one of the turbines on his property. The cousin lets Jorissen bring his tourists right up to the turbine and stand under its massive 476-foot height to get a feel of just how big it is.
“You can walk around it. But you can’t climb it. You can touch it. But you can’t go inside,” Jorissen said.
This summer, buses were full, and there often were waiting lists, said Jorissen, who is continuing tours through Saturday.
Tours “have become a big hit,” added Dan Bishop, Consumers Energy spokesman. “Eco-tourism, right here in Michigan.”
We told you in April that some Lake Winds neighbors were suing to block construction of new wind turbines. It’s good to hear that others in the area appreciate these revolutionary devices — and are finding novel ways to make a buck off them.
Wind turbines new Mich. tourist attraction,