BAD AXE – DTE Energy will be acquiring 50 percent – 44 turbines – of NextEra’s Pheasant Run Wind Project in the next month, according to DTE officials.
DTE has been working with Jeff Smith, Huron County director of building and zoning, to draft decommissioning bonds to legally transfer the ownership from NextEra to DTE.
Matt Wagner of DTE updated the Huron County Board of Commissioners about the language of the drafting.
“One of the important details as you all know and we know very well, is to make sure that the decommission bond is in place,” Wagner told commissioners.
Once acquired, Wagner said DTE’s portion of Pheasant Run will be named Brookfield Wind Farm. The turbines are in Brookfield, Winsor, Sebewaing and Grant townships.
The energy from Pheasant Run Wind Project was sold to DTE Energy to help the company meet its clean energy goals. By 2015, all utilities must reach a 10 percent renewable energy goal required by Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard.
In the drafting, Wagner said he is assuming the maximum cost for decommissioning given that salvage value of turbines is not included, and that DTE is trying to “be consistent with the agreement that (the county) had already approved through NextEra.”
A priority for DTE is to affirm that the decommissioning bonding meets zoning requirements, he said.
“It is definitely in favor of Huron County. It far exceeds $1 million and it does contain a replenishment obligation,” Wagner said.
Commissioner David Peruski said the drafting looks consistent and seems to follow the same pattern the energy company uses for other wind farms. The cost to decommission translates roughly to $161,000 per turbine, he said.
“We’re going to assume that you’ll pick up any blades that fall,” Peruski said.
“You know, I knew we weren’t going to get out of here without one of those comments,” said Wagner after laughing. “Yes, you bet. You will not see any in the ditch. If one ends up in the ditch, it will be removed promptly.”
Wagner said the 44 turbines produce 75 megawatts of power, and that wind energy is “the most economic way to do renewable energy.”
The county’s corporate counsel will review the documents before commissioners make a decision.
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