Michigan’s largest wind farm to date, 213 MW, is now being built near Breckenridge. Eighty or more turbines have been installed. When finished, there will be 133 1.6 MW GE turbines in the wind farm.
A wind company, Invenergy, will own approximately ½ and the other ½ will be owned by DTE. The electricity generated by Invenergy will be purchased by DTE under a long term contract.
There seems almost universal support in Gratiot County for the wind farm now, but Don Schurr, President of Greater Gratiot Development, indicated at a November 10 Wind Working Group meeting that there were plenty of questions, discussions, and planning that led to the wind farm. He pointed out that the wind farm will help preserve agriculture in the county and that good farmlands need to be protected.
Rich VanderVeen, Wind Resource LLC and a partner in the project, said there were countless meetings with local leaders and residents to explain the project and answer questions. He jokes that the project required 50 cups of coffee per MW. All that coffee and time has resulted in widespread support for the project.
Local economic benefits are significant:
- $50 million in taxes over 20 years
- More taxes than county’s 10 biggest taxpayers combined
- $2 million in annual lease payments to 240 property owners
- 15 technicians to maintain wind farm
We will all enjoy the environmental benefits that come from clean, renewable power and these projects will help expand the wind manufacturing industry in Michigan. This success story is directly tied to Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard, the state mandate to have 10% of our electricity come from renewable resources by 2015. State policies that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy can make a big difference for our environment and economy!
Source: John Sarver