Darren Owens, the project engineer for the Lake Winds Energy Park, was killed in a motorcycle crash over the weekend, according to Consumers Energy.
In a letter to community leaders this morning, the utility notified local officials of Owens’ death.
“We are saddened to inform you of the death of Darren Owens, a member of Consumers Energy’s employee family,” the letter states. “Darren died in a tragic vehicle accident this past weekend. Darren served as the lead project manager for Consumers Energy’s Lake Wind Energy Park currently being constructed in Mason County. Darren provided outstanding leadership for this projects. His unique blend of exceptional technical expertise and his ability to work well with others truly made a difference.
“We ask that you keep Darren, his wife, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.”
White Construction Project Manager Rex Roberts said bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people “and he was a good person.”
Roberts said Owens was the top authority on the project, representing Consumers.
“We were good friends,” Roberts said. “He was one of the team captains. He took care of us, supported us and made good decisions.”
It is not known what Owens’ death will mean for the project schedule.
“We’re going to adapt and move forward just like he would have wanted us to,” Roberts said.
Work on the Lake Winds Energy Park has been proceeding quickly through the last month. Today, winds and weather permitting, crews are expected to finish constructing the last turbine on two of the project’s five circuits.
The 56-turbine project is arranged with five circuits, three that are arrayed roughly east-west south of Chauvez Road, Kinney Road and Hawley Road, one that parallels Brye Road an another that parallels Stiles Road. Although the completed turbine count is at 22, it is expected to eclipse 28 turbines this week, bringing the project halfway to completion, at least structurally.
After a turbine is standing, there’s still much work to be done connecting the individual turbines to the energy collection system and putting wiring and powered lifts in the turbines.
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