About 15,000 homes and businesses in Michigan’s Thumb will get their electric power from wind energy by next spring, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, utility and business officials announced today.
A $90 million joint venture between Wolverine Power and John Deere Wind Energy means 32 wind turbines will be built on a 3,200-acre parcel in Huron County this year and will generate 53 megawatts of electricity by March of 2008.
“This wind plant will be the first, we hope, of many,” Granholm said. “Investments in the alternative energy industry are key to our economic future.”
Also today, House Democrats announced a package of bills to encourage investment in various forms of alternative energy
The measures would offer tax incentives and make the regulatory environment friendly to wind, solar and other types of alternative energy. They would require major power producers to get 10 percent of their energy from such sources by 2015. The state now gets 3 percent of its energy from alternative sources.
Updated construction codes and consumer tax credits to promote energy efficiency also are included in the proposals.
Prospects for passage of the legislation are uncertain. Lawmakers and Granholm are battling budget troubles right now.
Twenty-three other states and the District of Columbia have alternative energy requirements. Wisconsin, one of those states, drew nearly $500 million in renewable energy investments this year alone, said promoters of the plan.
“We must catch up and we must do it quickly, said Rep. Robert Dean, D-Grand Rapids, one of the sponsors.
The project in the Thumb is supported with a state tax incentive package worth $6.5 million over 12 years. The wind farm also will get $5 million in sales tax exemptions as well as local tax breaks on equipment.
Wolverine is also developing a wind farm in Rogers City at the tip of the Lower Peninsula that will generate 10 times the power planned for the Huron County project, said Eric Baker, president and CEO of Wolverine.
By Mark Hornbeck
Detroit News Lansing Bureau
11 June 2007
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