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Michigan's first wind project breaks ground

Ground has been broken in Michigan on the state's first utility scale wind project with John Deere Wind Energy now installing more than 30 Vestas 1.65 MW turbines in Huron County's Oliver and Chandler Townships near Elkton and Pigeon. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), output from the 52.8 MW Harvest Wind Farm will go to Wolverine Power Cooperative, which will resell it to its six member companies and their retail customers. More wind development is on the way in Michigan, the 14th windiest and fourth most populous US state with nearly 16,560 MW of wind power potential and nearly ten million people, but just 2.4 MW of wind capacity from three turbines. "It's been way longer than we ever thought it would be," says Rich VanderVeen of Mackinaw Power, a home-state developer. "We put up two turbines in Mackinaw City in 2001 and we thought, here we go. But the whole country has moved forward and we haven't." Next year Mackinaw is joining with Illinois-based Invenergy to construct a 140 MW project of GE Energy turbines in Oceana County. A PPA has been signed. The state's other upcoming development, Noble Thumb Windpark, recently received permission from Huron County to add nine turbines to its total. When completed next spring or summer, the project's 41 GE machines will have a combined capacity of 61.5 MW, says Anna Giovinetto of Noble Environmental Power, a New York developer that will own and operate the project.

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