DTE and Invenergy-affiliated partnership operating Michigan wind farm


DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) announced the completion of construction and the start of full commercial operations for the Gratiot County Wind Project. The wind farm is a 212-MW project  generating enough renewable energy to power more than 50,000 Michigan homes.

Sixty-four of the turbines are owned by DTE Energy, while 69 turbines are owned by Gratiot Wind LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy Wind LLC. DTE Energy will purchase the power from Invenergy’s turbines under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Invenergy is a Chicago-based wind energy developer that has been in the news lately for cancellation of 2013 construction projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere due to the uncertain status of the federal production tax credit for wind energy.

“Through this partnership, Michigan’s largest wind farm now is fully operational,” Steve Kurmas, Detroit Edison president and chief operating officer said in a statement. “This investment proves that Michigan’s existing renewable energy law is working and the state is aggressively implementing its renewable commitment. The proposed 25-by-25 Constitutional amendment that places a $10-billion bet on Michigan’s future power generation needs is clearly unnecessary.”

That last comment is aimed at a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution, opposed by DTE, whose proponents say is needed to ensure eventual compliance with green energy goals and to expand a clean energy manufacturing base in Michigan.

The project employs 133 1.6-MW GE wind turbines located on approximately 30,000 acres of private land in the townships of Wheeler, Bethany, Emerson and Lafayette. The project was constructed by Livonia, Mich.-based Aristeo Construction, its first in Michigan.

The wind park is part of DTE Energy’s plan to meet Michigan’s renewable energy goals. DTE Energy expects to add about 1,000 MW of renewable power to meet its goal of 10% renewable energy by 2015. DTE plans to own facilities to supply up to half of that energy and contract with third-party producers for the remainder.

DTE Energy announced last month that it plans to build another wind park in Huron County, which will add another 110 MW to the company’s renewable energy portfolio. DTE said it expects the majority of its renewable energy to come from wind resources. However, it also has a solar energy pilot program that could produce approximately 20 MW.