In 2007 Mark Hull, now project manager for Beebe Community Wind Farm in Ithaca, Michigan, started going around and speaking to local farm owners within Gratiot County. His proposition? That the farmers consider leasing portions of their land toward a community wind energy project. The response was largely positive. Beebe Community Wind Farm now has 20,000 acres ready to be used for wind turbine installations. Now, through an agreement with wind turbine manufacturer Nordex USA, the community wind farm is ready to become more than just an idea and a name. Soon, it will be a fully functioning wind farm.
Nordex is providing more than just the turbines for the 300 megawatt capacity operation. Since the project is run primarily by Hull in cooperation with local agricultural farmers, some experience in wind farming was needed. According to Mark Hull, the company’s expertise has been instrumental in getting the project beyond the concept phase. “Including them (Nordex) in the project team has considerably accelerated our development efforts,” said Hull.
The project will include the use of 125 of Nordex’s 2.4 MW turbines, which are designed specifically for low wind sites by incorporating a super long rotor blade. The project has secured several connection points on a 345 kV line and been granted a special use permit from the county. Wind measurements have been taken at the site for the last two years using meteorological towers and sonic wind detections systems called SODARs.
The project has phase one of construction slated for 2012 and will continue with two more phases over the following two years. Sales of the power are being addressed in on-going negotiations.