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No new wind for Consumers Energy

COLDWATER – Greg Moore, Community Affairs Manager for Consumers Energy said it is “not out buying land or leasing land for wind or solar. We’ve got what we need.”

Speaking to a men’s breakfast last month at the H.C. Burnside Senior Center he noted that from 2005 to 2016 CE increased its renewable power from 3 to 5 percent.

“We want to balance it out to make sure we are not caught from price spikes,” he said.

Consumers Energy started development of the Cross Winds wind farm in 2013 in the Thumb area of the state. It now provides enough electricity to power nearly 30,000 homes with 62 turbines that are spread across 51,000 acres.

The wind operated by CE comes under strict regulations in many areas which it operates.

“Under most ordinances there are times when we have to shut them down. One is icing when you can’t risk them throwing ice for hundreds of yards. Or, when there is sun just right they create a flicker like motion picture for people who live nearby. Or, when the wind it too fast,” he explained.

Most of the wind turbines today are automated Moore said.

Moore was asked because of the DTE move to lease land for wind farms in northwest Branch County.

Moore said CE is investing $9 million in Branch County with construction of a new service center on Jonesville Road just east of Michigan Avenue. The company closed its Jonesville operation and will close the Bronson

Service Center once the new project is complete.

“The Bronson facility was small and older,” Moore said. “We are looking at a bigger yard with more equipment. When we bring in crews from out of state, we need a place for them to stage and meet, get their duties and responsibilities and then head out.”

The center will have an indoor facility for trucks, to protect them from weather, plus a pole yard.

Moore said CE would likely keep a pole yard in Bronson “and sell off the front part of that facility.”

“That’s a very prominent location. We have had some calls about it already. We would like to get it back on the tax rolls for the city (of Bronson),” Moore said.

“We have heard there is some interest from Bronson as well,” he said. “No matter what happens, they have been a great partner with us, a great community to be in.”

The final decision will come down to a recommendation from the CE real estate office.