CMS subsidiary’s 100-MW wind unit among latest to come online

CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS) subsidiary Consumers Energy is among the latest utilities to bring online a new wind power project as the production tax credit (PTC) faces an end-of-year expiration date.

The CMS unit said Nov. 22 that its 100-MW Lake Winds Energy Park has entered commercial operation. The $250m project consists of 56 wind-generation turbines, all located in Riverton and Summit townships in Mason County, Mich.

Consumers Energy, the largest supplier of renewable energy in Michigan,    is on track to meet a requirement in Michigan’s energy law that by 2015, 10% of the electricity it provides to its 1.8 million electric customers will come from in-state renewable sources.

Consumers Energy and other Michigan utilities recently banded together with certain power plant labor unions to defeat a ballot proposal that would have dramatically increased the renewable portfolio standard by 2025.

Completion of this wind project puts Consumers Energy on its way to meeting the 2015 requirement, the company said in a news release. The addition of Lake Winds should increase the company’s renewable supply to 7% of retail sales. “The completion of other projects under development will increase our renewable supply to 8 percent by the end of 2012,” said David Ronk, Consumers Energy’s director for transactions and resource planning.   

Mason County had granted its land use approval to its wind project in 2011.

Also in the Midwest, a MidAmerican Energy Holdings subsidiary is expected to achieve commercial operation of its 81-MW Bishop Hill II wind farm in Illinois by Nov. 30. MidAmerican is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A, BRK-B).

Under present law, the PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents/KWH for the production of electricity from utility-scale wind turbines. The PTC is set to expire on Dec. 31.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently said she favors renewing the PTC this time around – but would consider an eventual phase-out of the subsidy.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.