Among the 8.3 GW of wind turbines brought on line in the US last year were two Fuhrländer 2.5 MW turbines from Germany. The direct drive machines made their debut at Heritage Sustainable Energy's Stony Corner Wind Farm in Michigan. Back when demand for turbines was outstripping supply, Heritage discovered Fuhrländer through Lorax Energy Systems, the German company's North American distributor. "The big turbine manufacturers wouldn't talk to guys like us unless we had a 100 MW project," says Heritage's Rick Wilson. "Fuhrländer was willing to sell us just the two machines." The turbines stand on 100 metre towers, which are about 20 metres taller than most modern turbines installed in the US. That meant two six-section towers had to be specially made by a Canadian company and installation required an extra-large crane. From Germany, the turbines arrived in Baltimore, from where they were shipped to Michigan. Stony Corner is the pilot phase of Heritage's first wind project. A second phase is ready to begin construction and should add 15 MW this year or next, although turbines are not yet acquired. Fuhrländer's plans to build a $25 million turbine manufacturing facility near Butte, Montana, are moving slowly forward. Although construction was originally scheduled to begin in the fall, work was reportedly delayed in large part because the company was focused on completing a plant back in Germany. Michigan is expected to experience a flurry of wind installations due to the state's recently passed renewable energy law. It requires utilities to get 10% of their electricity from clean sources by 2015 -- which translates to roughly 3000 MW within the next six years.
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