Thursday, May 19, 2011

Windy Thumb

More wind energy coming to the Thumb, provided they can sell it to the Big Boys. Higher RPS anyone?

Landowners, area residents and anybody who was interested on Wednesday night attended an open house with Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy.

NextEra hopes to install about 100 megawatts of wind power in the Bay-Tuscola county area, and officials from the company say the company's open houses serve as a way to begin building what could be a 30-year relationship with the community.

Mary C. Wells, a NextEra spokeswoman, said many landowners are signed up to lease their land for the potential development but more are still needed to reach the goal of 9,000 acres.

And, before any construction can begin, the company must reach power purchase agreements with a utility company.

This would be a 66-turbine farm, with energy output comparable to those already running or in the process of being built in the area. Look at all the turbines over there...

John Deere Renewables has two wind farms in the Thumb area, with 48 turbines near Ubly and 32 turbines near Elkton. Consumers Energy purchases the power generated by those wind farms.

DTE in April announced a $225 million investment to build three wind farms on 15,000 acres in Huron and Sanilac counties, to produce about 110 megawatts of electricity annually.

And in Gratiot County, Chicago-based Invenergy is in the early stages of expanding its four-township, 125-turbine, 30,000-acre wind farm development to five more townships — Lafayette, Emerson, North Star, Newark and Hamilton — in southern Gratiot County.

NextEra is a major player in wind energy in the US, operating 67 projects in 16 states. Sure would be nice to welcome them into the fold - here's to hoping they can get what they need to make this work.