Detroit Edison and Michigan-based Heritage Sustainable Energy have started commercial operation of a wind farm that will supply the utility’s customers with enough electricity to power about 2,000 homes.
The wind farm is the first constructed and operated in Michigan under the state’s energy reform law that will have 10 percent of the utility’s power generation come from renewable sources such as wind power and solar by 2015. The wind farm was built after the utility signed a 20-year agreement to purchase wind power and renewable energy credits from Heritage.
"This is a way to provide our customers with renewable energy, but also to provide Michigan with sustainable economic development opportunities that have a meaningful impact on our customers’ lives," said Anthony F. Earley, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, the parent company of Detroit Edison. "We’re focused on finding clean, cost-effective new sources of energy."
Traverse City-based Heritage Sustainable Energy installed seven large-scale wind turbines at a 2,000-acre wind farm near Cadillac in order to fulfill its agreement with Detroit Edison. The wind turbines, which are capable of producing about 14 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, are 403 feet tall from ground to the tip of the upright blade. The project created 100 construction jobs and four full-time jobs at the site. The wind farm now is producing 19 MW from nine wind turbines.
"This is a noteworthy milestone in Michigan’s energy future," said Marty Lagina, chairman of Heritage Sustainable Energy. "The agreement with Detroit Edison has allowed us to grow our business, as well as provide Michigan residents with an ability to shrink their carbon footprint."
Detroit Edison expects the majority of its renewable energy to come from wind resources. The company has acquired easements on 75,000 acres of land in Huron County in Michigan’s Thumb region for development of large-scale wind farms. The company also has two solar energy pilot projects that could produce about 20 megawatts of power.
To meet the state’s renewable portfolio standard, Detroit Edison expects to add about 1,200 megawatts of renewable power. The company plans to contract with third-party producers, like Heritage, for half of that capacity, and plans to own renewable energy projects to meet the remainder.
DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, coal and gas midstream, unconventional gas production and energy trading.
By José Santamarta, www.dteenergy.com