Wind Plant A Work In Progress In Michigan

The Gratiot County Wind Project in Michigan might not be moving along as quickly as planned, but the developers behind it want everyone to know that work is proceeding. To make the point, they held an early-autumn groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site near the town of Breckenridge.

The 212.8-megawatt (MW) capacity plant project, on about 30,000 acres of private land about dead-center in the middle of Michigan, is employing some 200 construction workers in getting 133 GE 1.6-MW turbines in place. Invenergy, the developer, said Aristeo Construction, “long associated with its work in the auto industry,” is doing the civil, concrete and erection phases for the project.

Gratiot wind project, Michigan, GE turbines

image via GE

Once completed, Invenergy said it will own 69 of the plant’s turbines through a subsidiary, while DTE Energy will own 64 turbines and purchase the remaining power from Invenergy under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

So when can we expect this operation to swing into action? Well, we reported last December that Invenergy had said construction had begun on the project, then billed as a 125-turbine, 200-megawatt capacity plant. At the time, Invenergy said it expected work to be completed “in late 2011.” The latest statement from the company pushes that back, saying the plant “will commence commercial operations in the first quarter of 2012,” while a project manager told a local newspaper that work would be completed by March 2012.

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.