Michigan Inks Biggest Wind Project Yet

Now that a major power company has signed a long-term deal to buy its energy, Stony Corners Wind Farm becomes the most ambitious wind power project yet to get the green light in Michigan.

The facility, which could open as early as March 2008, will be built on 6,500 acres near Cadillac in central Michigan. When fully built out, the facility is projected to generate more than 100 mega watts of renewable energy. That's enough to power approximately 30,000 homes.

Entrepreneurs have proposed similiarly ambitious wind projects. Rich VanderVeen's 21-turbine facility proposed in Oceana County, on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, would span 8,000 acres and generate enough power for all 27,000 people in the county, according to a July 2005 report in the Detroit News. But that project has yet to get off the ground.

Before this week, the Harvest Wind Farm scheduled to be up and running in Michigan's Thumb region by spring 2008 was poised to become the state's largest commercial wind field. Located on 3,200 acres in Huron County, the facility is projected to generate 52.8 mega watts and power some 15,000 homes.

But now, even as elected officials drag their feet on formalizing a modern energy strategy for Michigan, the 8th largest state in the union by population, Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC, a small renewable energy business, is set to break new ground in Michigan's infant green power industry. The firm just inked a 10-year deal to provide wind power to DTE Energy Company, which provides electricity to some 2.2 million people in southeastern Michigan.

"Heritage is very excited to move forward in partnership with DTE Energy to bring clean, renewable energy to Michigan," said Marty Lagina, president of Rock Management Group, the managing partner of Heritage Sustainable Energy.

"It is particularly gratifying that DTE Energy is purchasing renewable energy credits on its own initiative prior to Michigan legislative action on the issue. DTE Energy's decision to partner with us will get us started. We look forward to the state of Michigan taking additional action to encourage the growth of the wind energy business in our state."

In related regional news, Sky Generation, based in Lion's Head, ON, is erecting six more wind turbines on the shore of Lake Huron. Other wind farms already operating on the Lake Huron coast include the 22-turbine Kingsbridge project and a 38-turbine wind farm under construction near Ripley, according to the London Free Press.