The Harvest Wind Farm completed its fifth year of operation in 2012, generating 136,806 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity. Total generation in 2012 was slightly lower compared to 2011 output of 142,819 MWh. Wolverine Power Cooperative, of Cadillac, is buying the total output of the wind farm’s 32 turbines under a long-term contract and supplying that electricity to its members.
Weather conditions and wind speeds in the state’s Thumb area, where the wind farm is located, drive the operation of the turbines. A minimum wind speed of eight miles per hour is needed to generate electricity at Harvest.
“This is the first year since Harvest began generating electricity that we’ve seen a reduction in annual output,” says Tim Martin, manager of energy operations for Wolverine. “It’s a direct reflection of weather conditions near Elkton where the turbines are located.”
Wolverine and its electric co-op members rely on generation from the Harvest Wind Farm to meet the state’s renewable energy requirements. Public Act 295 of 2008 requires Michigan electric providers to have 10 percent of their total power supply come from renewable resources by the end of 2015, and in years thereafter.
Wolverine’s long-term commitment to purchase power from the Harvest Wind Farm, in addition to power it buys from a small hydro project, allows the cooperative and its members to meet the current requirements of Public Act 295.
“We committed to Harvest prior to the passing of Public Act 295 because we believed then and continue to believe today that renewable energy has a place in our power supply portfolio,” Martin explains.
Harvest, the state’s first commercial-scale wind farm, is owned and operated by Exelon Wind. Each turbine stands 393 feet tall—from its base to the tip of one of three blades—and is capable of generating 1.65 megawatts of electricity.
Wind Energy Stats for Our State
Under Public Act 295, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) must issue an annual report on implementation of the state’s renewable energy requirements. Highlights from the most recent report, completed in February 2013, include:
- Michigan had 978 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from 14 operating wind farms at year-end 2012.
- More than 800 MW of new wind capacity was added in 2012.
- Energy from renewable resources, including wind, is approximately 5 percent of Michigan’s total power supply portfolio.
- Nearly $1.8 billion has been invested in renewable energy in Michigan since the passage of Public Act 295.
Electric providers in the state are on pace to meet renewable energy targets required by Public Act 295.
Visit michigan.gov/mpsc to view the MPSC report in its entirety.