With the ongoing discussion of renewable energy in Michigan, some members of AMP have asked: What are the real benefits of wind power for Michigan?
A Brief History: From Then to Now
Michigan began generating power from wind in 1996 when Traverse City Light & Power constructed a 160-foot, 0.6 MW wind turbine (enough to power about 600 households) with 72-foot blades. In 2013, wind power accounted for 2.4% of the state’s electricity production.
As of February 2015, Michigan has 21 wind farms in operation with one under development. Together, these wind farms produce 1,523.7 MW of electricity—placing Michigan “18th among U.S. states for wind energy generation.”
Incorporating Wind While Balancing a Range of Priorities
Now and in the future, wind energy will continue to serve as a vital component of Michigan’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, especially as we work to meet new federal clean energy mandates.
Responsibly developing our state’s wind resources will help encourage more large-scale projects like the Gratiot Wind Farm, which produces a total of 212.5 MW of renewable energy, enough to power 50,000 homes.
As we expand the role of this renewable resource, we must do so in a way that addresses the particular challenges related to wind energy when it comes to maintaining reliability, affordability, and fairness for all Michiganders:
In order to integrate wind power in a way that protects Michigan consumers, our state needs flexible policies that encourage investment in a full range of renewable technologies to meet Michigan’s energy needs in the lowest-cost way possible.
The Value of Wind Power
As nine our state’s coal-fired plants retire over the coming year—with a total of 25 slated to be retired by 2020—continuing to develop and integrate wind power will provide an array of benefits for all Michiganders, even with some of the drawbacks discussed above:
What do you think about wind energy in Michigan? Let us know your thoughts today.