GRATIOT COUNTY, MI – More wind turbines are coming to two townships in Gratiot County.
There are 75 wind turbines set for installation next year in New Haven and North Shade townships. The wind park will generate up to 150 megawatts of energy. The park is expected to be completed by 2020, according to Consumers Energy officials.
The utility announced on Monday, June 25, that the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy has entered into an agreement to own, construct and operate the Gratiot Farms Wind Project currently being developed by Tradewind Energy, one of the largest independent wind and solar project development companies in the United States.
“CMS Energy is committed to our triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity, and we are excited to support all three by increasing the renewable energy we supply using wind power,” said Patti Poppe, CMS president and chief executive officer.
Construction for the wind farm is set to begin in May 2019. There are currently 188 individual wind turbines in Gratiot County.
“They haven’t told us all the spots yet,” said North Shade Township Supervisor John Peck. “Three years ago, they showed us a layout and with that layout they were quite a ways away from any homes.”
A Development Asset Acquisition agreement will be executed where Consumers Energy acquires a development package and then manages the construction of the wind farm. The purchase requires approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Under the agreement to acquire the wind energy park, Tradewind Energy will continue to perform studies, secure permits, acquire real estate and carry out other functions needed to develop the project to the construction stage.
Before the wind turbines go up, the land will be studied to determine the best spots to plant the turbines.
“It hasn’t been determined yet, they’ll do studies with birds and other things,” said Jim Wheeler, president of Greater Gratiot Development.
Gratiot County has generated about $37 million in tax revenue since wind turbines were first installed in 2012, Wheeler said.
Peck said there were ” a few” opposers concerning the new wind farm being built next year, but more than 70 percent of the land is signed on for agreements.
“They told us revenue could go up $200,000 a year,” Peck said. “Schools would be getting revenue as well.”
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