Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DTE Announces Three Wind Farms for the Thumb Area

This project has been in the planning stage for a few years now - looks like they finally have the sites secured, and will get to work next year on construction. These will be the first wind farms constructed and owned by DTE.

UPPER THUMB — It’s no secret DTE Energy has had its eye on the Thumb as the home of future wind projects it will develop.

The company has acquired easements on more than 80,000 acres, and the company’s had representation at numerous county and local government meetings dating back to at least 2007. The company has made it clear it is very much interested in developing and owning wind farms in Huron County.

Today, the company has announced it will build its first three wind farms in Huron and Sanilac counties as part of its efforts to expand the company’s renewable energy resources.

“We’re real excited about getting the first projects going up in the Thumb,” Chuck Conlen, DTE Energy director, Renewable Energy told the Tribune. “ ... We’ve been working on this a long time.”

The Minden, Sigel and McKinley wind farms — which together will generate approximately 110 megawatts of electricity — will be sited on nearly 15,000 acres in Bloomfield, Sigel and McKinley townships in Huron County, and Minden and Delaware townships in Sanilac County. Company officials estimate about 50 wind turbines will be needed to generate the power at the wind farms. The total investment is expected to be about $225 million investment.

They haven't determined which turbines they will purchase - but they are leaning towards those that are built in Michigan.

Head Close Up(Chuck Conlen, DTE Energy director, Renewable Energy) said DTE Energy has not selected which type of turbine will be used in the three wind farms, though it has received bids two weeks ago from turbine manufacturers and the average turbine submitted in the proposals is 2 megawatts. The company’s team currently is reviewing to determine which unit has the best reliability and will perform best at those three sites, Conlen said. A secondary consideration will be whether turbines are built with components manufactured in Michigan.

“We want to build the renewable energy industry as much as possible within the state,” said Senior Specialist Scott Simons, of DTE Energy, Media Relations.

The wind farm development is part of DTE Energy’s plan to meet Michigan’s renewable energy goals. DTE Energy expects to add about 1,200 megawatts of renewable power, or about 10 percent of its power, by 2015. The company plans to own facilities to supply up to half of that power and contract with third-party producers for the remainder.

Policy works. The farms should be completed by late next year or early 2013.

Now just imagine if we had set our RPS higher...