The Thumb area will have over 600 wind turbines in place or planned this year, according to a Michigan Public Service Commission report.
Consumers Energy hosted a media day recently in Akron, which included a guided tour of the Cross Winds Energy Park. Dennis Marvin, Communications Director at Consumers Energy said, "We have been warmly welcomed by the community and moving along quite nicely with good weather."
AKRON TWP., MI -- Michigan's Thumb area is well know for the diversity of crop production, from carrots to strawberries to wheat, hay, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and some of the finest dairy herds in Michigan.
Now, this rich agricultural area is producing a new "crop". The Thumb is now becoming famous as the Wind Turbine Capitol of the state.
Consumers Energy 110-megawatt Cross Winds Energy Park is constructing a second wind farm consisting of 31 turbines. Construction of the $255 million park resumed in May. When the project is completed this fall, the farm will include 62 General Electric turbines and capacity of 110 megawatts, enough to provide electricity to more than 31,000 homes. Cross Winds Energy park has created 150 construction jobs this year and is expected to begin generating renewable energy for Consumers Energy customers this year.
"We have been warmly welcomed and moving along quite well with good weather," said Dennis Marvin, Communications Director at Consumers Energy.
Marvin also added, "You're all familiar with the fact that we have this state of Michigan renewable energy standard that we have to meet, that was originally passed in 2008. And, with this Cross Winds project, we're well underway to meeting that certainly by the end of the year."
Project Manager, John Bulloch said," The turbines are massive and the diameter of the blades on top of each turbine is 100 meters.
That is important, as it effectively captures the wind resource to generate as much electricity as possible."
A crane with a nearly 400 ft. tall boom is used to assemble the turbines. Crews can complete one turbine a day on the average.
"It takes a good crane operator to do all of the lifts but we have a good crew working out here," he said.
Marvin said," More that 300 landowners were involved in the making of this energy park by signing easements. We want to be where people wants us, and this area certainly reflective of that".
Marvin also said," There are a few things besides wind that a place must have to be conductive to a wind park, such as minimal environmental impact, proper zoning and the community support."
According to the Michigan Public Service Commission report the Thumb area will have in place or planned over 600 wind turbines this year. Michigan is ranked as 14th in wind power projects in the United States.
Also, on the West side of the Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Consumers Energy has the Lake Winds Energy Park which is a 100 mega-watt park that opened around Thanksgiving 2013.
Since July 12, the Caro Chamber of Commerce has invited the public to take guided tours of the $225 million wind park. Tours will be available through August 30.