DTE gearing up Echo Wind project

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) said Oct. 23 that it has commissioned almost one-fifth of the wind turbines at the 112-MW Echo Wind Park in Huron County, Mich.

The first 13 wind turbines have been commissioned, DTE said in a statement. The entire facility should begin commercial operation by the end of November.

DTE is rapidly approaching compliance with Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 10% by 2015. In November 2012, Michigan voter soundly rejected a proposal to raise the standard to 25% by 2025.

 The wind project, primarily in Oliver and Chandler townships, is sited on nearly 16,000 acres. The Echo Wind Park is the third to be owned and operated by DTE Energy.

The 110-MW Thumb Wind Park reached commercial operation in December 2012. In addition, DTE Energy has an ownership stake in the Gratiot County Wind Park. The Gratiot wind park is a 212 MW project. 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 purchases the power from Invenergy’s turbines under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

DTE Energy also announced recently it will purchase the energy from the 20-MW Big Turtle Wind Farm, which will cover 2,800 acres in Rubicon Township in Huron County. Big Turtle is expected to be operational by late 2014. It will comprise a minimum of 50% Michigan content and feature new technology advanced by Ventower Industries of Monroe and other Michigan suppliers.

The Big Turtle Wind Farm will have 10 2-MW turbines and will be the first wind park in Michigan to incorporate all Ventower towers. The owner, Big Turtle Wind Farm LLC, is a subsidiary of Heritage Sustainable Energy, a Michigan wind energy producer.

The Big Turtle contract is part of DTE Energy’s efforts to expand the company’s renewable energy resources and meet the state’s renewable energy goals. DTE Energy expects to add more than 900 MW, or 10% of its power, by 2015. The Big Turtle contract will bring DTE Energy’s renewable energy portfolio, with contracts signed or projects in operation, to 9.8%.

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.