New Wind Power For Michigan In 2011

Michiganders should see a big boost in wind-power production in their lagging state by the end of next year. That’s when Invenergy Wind estimates it will wrap up construction of a 200-megawatt (MW) plant it’s building in Gratiot County, in the center of the state about a half-hour west of Saginaw.

In a press release announcing that construction had begun on the project, Invenergy said the wind power plant would feed energy to Detroit Edison. Under a renewable portfolio standard passed in 2008, Michigan utilities must get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. Invenergy said it expects the 30,000-acre Gratiot County plant to power more than 50,000 Michigan homes once it goes online.

Wind turbines, Michigan, Invenergy

image via Invenergy

More immediately, the project is bringing jobs to the state with the nation’s second-highest  unemployment rate. Inevergy said about 150 skilled construction workers would work on building the plant, which will consist of 125 1.6-MW GE turbines. Inevergy said Aristeo Construction, “long associated with its work in the auto industry,” will do the civil, concrete and erection phases for the project. The company has installed or is under contract to install nearly 1,000 MW of wind energy facilities, but this its first project in its home state — not a surprise given that the Michigan Energy Systems Bureau reports the state had just 144 MWs of wind power installed as of the end of 2009. Still, this month Michigan did announce a deal that will result in the large-scale production of utility-scale wind turbines at a Saginaw plant.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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