Friday, November 18, 2011

Wind Manufacturing in Muskegon?

Seems like it has been a long time since I've blogged any news on renewable energy projects in Michigan. With the solar industry going through a global shake-down, it looks like wind is it as far as new jobs go for the immediate future, and even at that, our current leadership doesn't seem interested in creating jobs or diversifying our economy anyway. So it's been pretty bleak. Good to see someone out there is thinking about it though, and Dave Alexander teases us today with this news:

Two leading West Michigan companies have joined forces to plan a Muskegon manufacturing center designed to support the state's growing commercial wind industry.

The proposed consortium of the two companies and multiple others — including at least one global firm — would not be a developer of wind farms but a group of companies and supporting agencies which wants to build parts for wind turbines, ship those parts across the globe and service the land-based wind industry.

And they want to do it from Muskegon.

The goal is to develop a Michigan Energy and Technology Center somewhere on the shores of Muskegon Lake. The manufacturing and wind industry support center would be an industrial campus with access to Muskegon's deep-water port.

Perfect. Although the Chinese are throwing a bunch of money at wind as well, shipping/lead times on turbine components can really add up, making manufacturing in America a very competitive proposition.

More coming on this Sunday at the Muskegon Chronicle, so stay tuned...

Update: It's L3 Combat Propulsion Systems in Muskegon and Rockford Berge in Grand Rapids, along with a host of other interested parties.

Besides defense contractor L3, Rockford Construction and the Spanish international transportation company Berge, the wind consortium initially includes Consumers Energy, Sand Products Corp. – owners of the Mart Dock in Muskegon – Energetx Composites in Holland and Verplank Trucking of Ferrysburg.

Also part of the group is Gamesa Energy, the Spanish energy company in the process of signing a development agreement with Muskegon County to investigate building a $300 million, 150-megawatt wind turbine operation on the county's Wastewater Management System property.

As L3 and Rockford Berge put together a more extensive list of companies wanting to be a part of the Muskegon development, the group will work with community economic development agencies, local governments and West Michigan colleges.

Very cool. Sounds like the start of a wonderful opportunity - hope the state and the feds get behind it as well.