US: Michigan’s largest onshore wind plant commences operations

Renewables developer DTE Energy has announced that its Polaris Wind park, which it says is the largest of its kind in the state, is operational.

Located in mid-Michigan’s Gratiot County, the 68-turbine, 168MW facility will provide enough clean energy to power more than 64,000 homes, and is the first of four new wind parks DTE will commission in 2020.

Polaris will offset more than 355,000 metric tons of CO2 annually – the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking more than 76,000 cars off US roads for a year – and represents a significant step toward the company’s goals of reducing carbon emission by 50% by 2030.

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“DTE is leading Michigan’s clean energy transformation,” said Trevor F. Lauer, president and COO, DTE Electric. “Bringing projects like Polaris Wind online provide tremendous benefits for our customers, the environment and the state of Michigan. We are committed to continued growth of our renewable energy portfolio, including wind and solar, as we work to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”    

Since 2009, DTE has driven investments of $3 billion in renewable energy infrastructure, and the company will invest an additional $2 billion in wind and solar assets over the next five years.

DTE wind projects provide more than clean energy for DTE customers – they also provide a stable source of income for landowners who have turbines on their property, jobs that help young people stay in the community, and tax revenue that can be used to support improvements in roads, schools, emergency services and other vital community needs. Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. reports that between 2012-2018, the county received nearly $43 million in tax revenue from its wind parks.

“Wind development has unquestionably brought increased economic prosperity to Gratiot County,” said Jim Wheeler, president, Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. “In addition to tax revenue that benefits the County, townships, and schools, investment from wind development was used to leverage a grant for infrastructure in the Breckenridge Industrial Park, which now houses five companies and over 100 jobs. The area economy also benefits from increased consumer spending at restaurants and retail shops by temporary construction workers and permanent maintenance technicians, in addition to increased spending from local landowners who receive lease payments. Overall, wind development has offered Gratiot County a renewed drive toward the future with new opportunities for its citizens.”