Michigan Adds Wind Power, Green Jobs

If you’re going to go for renewable wind power, why not maximize the investment and build out the turbines in state? That seems to be the thinking behind Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm’s recent announcement of a power purchase agreement between Consumers Energy and Traverse City-based Heritage Sustainable Energy that will result in the first large-scale production of utility-scale wind turbines fully made in Michigan.  The agreement is expected to create 100 green jobs for the state.

Under this agreement, Northern Power Systems will build the direct drive wind turbines in its Saginaw, Michigan facility where it will employ up to 137 workers by 2014.  The company will also call upon its substantial supply chain resources in Michigan, which includes a strategic supplier, Merrill Technologies Group, also located in-state.

wind farm

image via DynGlobal

The turbines will then be shipped to Heritage Sustainable Energy’s wind farm located in the Upper Peninsula’s Garden Peninsula, where 80 direct and indirect jobs will be created to support the project development, installation, and operation phases. Heritage Sustainable Energy will then sell the power it generates to Consumers Energy, supplying residents of some of Michigan’s northernmost climes with renewable energy.

“We now have an original equipment manufacturer planning to produce a significant number of top-of-the-line, utility-scale turbines right here in Michigan,” said Andrew S. Levin, Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG), in a statement. He went on to note that the deal includes potential jobs in manufacturing, construction, and technology–welcome news, no doubt, to a state with nearly 13% of its population currently unemployed.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.