Newsletter: This Month in Wind: Michigan Farmers Praise Wind, Consumers Energy Wind Powers GM and Switch

This wind newsletter was originally published on March 16, 2018.

Michigan Farmers Praise Wind

Residents of the counties with the most investment in wind energy – Huron and Gratiot counties – highlighted the benefits of these projects in a new video.

The Yale Climate Connections monthly “This is Not Cool” video featured Michigan farmers’ praises of their communities’ investment in wind, as well as expert opinions from University of Michigan researcher Sarah Mills, PhD.

Mills’ research found that farmers with wind turbines on their property are more likely to invest in their property and pass their land on to future generations than those without income from wind energy.

Wind development helps keep farmers on their lands, helps attract and retain younger people, and helps provide diversified funding streams.

And the communities benefit too. Another recent story from Pigeon, MI lays out the local benefits and relationship to community. According to the former director of the state’s energy, labor and economic growth program quoted in the video, Huron and Gratiot counties received $45 million in wind energy tax revenues over a two-year period to support townships and community programs.

Get the full story by watching the video here.


Consumers Energy Wind Powers GM and Switch

Consumers Energy and General Motors announced this week that two General Motors plants in Flint will be entirely powered by wind energy through Consumers’  renewable energy program for corporate purchasers. A similar agreement was reached between Consumers Energy and Switch last year to power the Switch data center in Grand Rapids with renewable energy.

“The collaboration among a tech company and an automaker demonstrates that environmental leadership can be driven from all business sectors,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of operations.

A subset of Consumers’ proposed green rider tariff program (“Option A”) was conditionally approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission in August 2017. The program aims to provide stable costs for renewable energy as corporations seek to fulfill demands from their customers, meet sustainability goals, and decrease long-term costs. Through this program, GM will offset all of the electricity used at its Flint Metal Center and Flint Engine Operations facilities using electricity from Cross Winds Energy Park II, a new Tuscola County wind farm. Together, both facilities are expected to use about 110,000 megawatt hours a year.

Although Switch and GM are the only two companies to sign up for the program so far, it is anticipated that more companies will follow, because there is significant corporate demand for renewable energy. In addition, the Michigan Public Service Commission is currently undertaking contested case proceedings to finalize the rest of Consumers’ proposed program as well as a similar program provided by DTE Energy. Michigan EIBC is an intervening party to both cases.


Wind Newsclips

In Michigan
Across the Country
  • Wind turbines keep getting bigger, and that’s a good thing, according to Vox’s David Roberts.
  • A boom in energy storage is good news for wind, because it helps extend the availability of renewable energy.
  • Researchers explore how cultural attitudes affect whether people perceive wind turbines to be a thing of beauty or an eyesore.
  • The Midwest’s wind energy industry can’t thrive unless transmission infrastructure improves, experts say.
  • Utilities and advocates in Iowa debate the impact that wind projects are having on the grid.
  • state-by-state report from the Energy Information Administration highlighted Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia has having the most potential for offshore wind development.
  • Even without subsidies, wind energy is now cheaper than natural gas and coal in Minnesota.
  • Farmers in southwest Minnesota discuss the financial benefits of including wind turbines on their land.
  • Rural property owners in Missouri property owners should work together to harness renewable energy rather than blocking transmission lines that are needed to carry wind power, says an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • Michigan EIBC member company Invenergy’s joint project with GE Renewable Energy, the Wind Catcher wind farm, received overwhelming support from the people of Oklahoma.
  • Xcel Energy announced a deal with rural electric cooperatives and others that could help it gain regulatory approval to build two massive wind farms on the Texas and New Mexico border.
  • General Electric plans to build the world’s largest wind turbine off the coast of France, measuring 853 feet tall. 
  • Mystery dark money was found behind opposition to a wind energy project in Arkansas.
  • An eastern Illinois town extended a moratorium on large-scale wind and solar projects indefinitely as regulations are developed.


Events to Watch:

EUCI invites you to its Renewable Energy 101 Forum, March 12-13, in Portland, Oregon. Learn more and register here.

EUCI invites you to the Renewable Energy PPAs conference, April 3-4 in Denver, Colorado. Register here.

AWEA invites you to the Powering Forward conference May 7-10 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference, entitled WINDPOWER, will create an opportunity for the industry comes together to plan for the future and keep this success story growing. Register here.

You’re invited to present, advertise, exhibit, or sponsor at The Energy Fair, June 15-17 in Custer, Wisconsin. Learn more and register here.