Wind energy in Michigan: 3 new wind farms

The new wind farm projects — in Lenawee County and Michigan’s Thumb — are expected to increase the state’s wind power capacity by 61% to 374 megawatts. That would generate electricity for more than 84,000 households.

Michigan has lagged other states in developing wind power even though it has several areas ideally suited for it.

The three wind farms are to provide power to Consumers Energy beginning in 2012. They are:

• Michigan Wind 2 in Sanilac County (90 megawatts);

• Blissfield Wind Energy in Lenawee County (81 megawatts);

• Harvest II in Huron County (59.4 megawatts).

John Deere Wind Energy, based in Johnston, Iowa, already also owns the state’s two existing large wind farms.

"We intend to lead the nation in making our nation energy independent," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who lauded the projects in a speech at the Michigan Energy Fair, which began Friday at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi.

The wind farms and a new landfill gas-electric generation facility in Lenox Township that is to be developed by Waste Management Renewable Energy will enable Consumers Energy to obtain 6.2% of its power from renewable-energy sources by 2012, up from the current 4%. Under Michigan law, it must reach 10% by 2015.

Granholm also announced that nine Michigan companies will get $20 million in clean-energy manufacturing grants — money that comes from the federal stimulus program.

The companies are: Amptech in Manistee ($573,000), Great Lakes Industry in Jackson ($2.5 million), Grid Logic in Metamora ($5 million), Heat Transfer International in Kentwood ($2.8 million), Innotec in Zeeland ($1.2 million), KC Jones Plating in Warren ($300,000), Polar Seal Window in Grand Rapids ($200,000), URV USA in Rochester ($4 million) and Ventower Industries in Monroe ($3.5 million).

Granholm and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who also attended the event, stressed the importance of making sure that new clean-energy products and technologies are made in the U.S., particularly in Michigan.

"We have to incentivize manufacturing of wind turbines here," Stabenow said.

Of the 8,000 parts in a wind turbine, "we can make every one in Michigan," Stabenow said. "For me, the magic word is manufacturing."