Consumers Energy adding more wind energy

The company has signed a contract with GE to supply 62 wind turbiness for the Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County.

The contract calls for GE to provide the turbine units, each with a capacity of 1.7 megawatts (MW) for the Cross Winds Energy Park, scheduled for operation in late 2014.  The total installed generation capacity of all 62 units is 105.4 MW.

“We’re making excellent progress in the development of our second wind farm.  We’re pleased to reach this agreement with GE for its 1.7-100 turbine, reported to be the most efficient of its class in the world today,” said Jack Hanson, senior vice president of energy resources for Consumers Energy. “Providing renewable energy to Michigan is part of our promise to provide low cost, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for our customers. The state’s energy reform law provides the legislative direction to make this happen.”

“The Consumers Energy project marks the second major installation of the 1.7-100 in Michigan and we are excited to be part of the state’s energy transformation,” said Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE’s renewable energy business.

The contract, awarded as part of a competitive bid process, is contingent upon approval by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), obtaining a special use permit from Columbia and Akron townships in Tuscola County, and executing an interconnect agreement with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) and International Transmission Company (ITC).  Consumers Energy recently issued a Request for Proposal for the balance of a plant engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Cross Winds project.
Consumers Energy estimates that about 155 jobs will be created for Cross Winds construction, expected to begin later this year.  The company is actively working to qualify for the federal production tax credit for wind projects in order to reduce the cost of Cross Winds and provide savings for its electric customers.

Michigan’s 2008 energy law requires that 10 percent of the electricity that Consumers Energy provides its 1.8 million customers comes from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro by 2015.  Under its MPSC-approved renewable energy plan, completion of Cross Winds will help enable Consumers Energy to meet the renewable energy standard.

Wind generation is a key part of Consumers Energy’s Balanced Energy Initiative, a comprehensive 20-year plan to meet the needs of its 1.8 million electric customers with a balanced energy portfolio, including energy efficiency, renewable energy and customer demand management.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.