The wind has been taken right out of a second wind energy project in the Thumb Area. Last month, Michigan’s first wind farm near Ubly was put on hold until next year.
Now a smaller wind energy project in the Laker School District near Pigeon has been shut down by DTE Energy. The utility company says safety is the reason, but others disagree.
Three wind turbines near Pigeon had been running for about a month. Everything seemed to be going well and those close to the project say maybe too well as far as DTE is concerned.
“We’ve been averaging about $100 to $150 of energy savings per day for the district,” said Brion Dickens.
Dickens estimates that’s the amount of electricity the three 80-foot wind turbines were producing.
That is until last week, when DTE Energy ordered the turbines shut down. The company claims it’s for safety reasons – a reason those in the Laker School District have trouble believing.
DTE Energy says if the wind turbines continue to feed power into the system during a major power outage, it could jeopardize its workers and service to customers.
But the turbines have an automatic shutdown system if there is a problem.
DTE wants to conduct a seven-week study before allowing the turbines to run again – a study that should have been done earlier, but DTE says it lost Dickens’ application to interconnect to the grid back in August.
This is the second time interconnection issues have scuttled a wind energy project in the Thumb.
A similar problem sidelined a wind farm project near Ubly until next year, but Len Singer of DTE denies his company is worried about lost income, and wants the projects to succeed.
The Michigan Public Service Commission and a number of elected officials are looking at resolving the situation so the wind turbines can start running again.
By Terry Camp
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