Michigan Wind Energy

Michigan ranks 14th in terms of wind energy potential, but currently is far behind other states in terms of installed generating capacity.

Fossil fuels provide the vast majority of Michigan’s electrical power. Michigan utilities currently receive less than 5 % of their energy from renewable energy sources. Wind Energy Development in Michigan has been at a snails pace compared to other states with less wind potential.

There are many reasons as to why, such as:
Lack of stricter state legislation or a state RPS (renewable portfolio standard) that requires utilities to obtain a certain percentage of their power supply from renewable energy sources

Large utilities (Consumers, & DTE) not having friendly net metering or interconnection policy

Small government officials (County’s & Townships) not having zoning in place or have established anti wind regulation

Lack of public awareness & education programs for positive support and understanding of wind energy as a power source

Transmission lines (The Grid) being outdated and in need of upgrades

for Wind Energy Potential as measured by annual energy potential in the billions of kWh, factoring in environmental and land use exclusions for wind class of 3 and higher.
Rank State B kWh/yr Rank State B kWh/yr
1. N. Dakota 1,210 11. Colorado 481
2. Texas 1,190 12. N. Mexico 435
3. Kansas 1,070 13. Idaho 73
4. S. Dakota 1,030 14. Michigan 65
5. Montana 1,020 15. New York 62
6. Nebraska 868 16. Illinois 61
7. Wyoming 747 17. California 59
8. Oklahoma 725 18. Wisconsin 58
9. Minnesota 657 19. Maine 56
10. Iowa 551 20. Missouri 52
Source: An Assessment of the Available Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential in the Contiguous United States, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, August 1991. PNL-7789

These reasons and many others are slowly being acted upon and it is most wind proponents guess that many of these issues will be improved soon.

Michigan has had commercial scale wind power since 1996 when Traverse City Light & power constructed a 160foot 0.6 MW wind turbine with 72foot blades. Over the past 10 years it has produced enough electricity to power 160 homes per year.

In 2001 Mackinaw City erected two 0.9 MW each, wind turbines at 235 feet tall with 85foot blades. Together both turbines power 600 homes per year.

In 2005 Laker School in Pigeon Erected 3 refurbished 65 KW Wind Turbines. They started partial operation in January 2007.

In 2008 additional commercial scale wind farms will be going on line in many counties around our state. Bragging rights for the first commercial scale wind farm in Michigan will go to the Harvest wind farm project in Huron County, MI

Home and business scale wind electric systems have been in use for decades throughout our state.

A few well known systems are:
The Smiley/Kopka Residence in Suttons Bay, MI.
The Toy Residence In Lawrence, MI a 10 kw Bergy grid tie system.
Rudy’s home in Tustin, MI a 2400w off grid Jacobs system installed in 1985 and still operating today.

Michigan’s Wind Resource maps were updated and released in October of 2004. These maps were developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, The wind speed maps show the predicted mean wind speed (MPH) in Michigan at four different heights. 30m (98 feet), 50m (164 feet), 70m (229 feet) and 100m (328 feet). Four maps were produced because wind speeds vary and are greater at higher heights. These maps show Michigan as having good potential for wind energy production. Wind is measured on a scale from Class 1 through 7, with Class 7 wind speeds being the highest. For utility-scale turbines, Class 3 wind and above is needed for project development. Home and business size systems (small Wind) need class 2, 3 or greater for project development.

Click Here For Michigan Wind Energy Resource Maps

Michigan Wind Information Resources and Publications

Small Wind Electric Systems – A Michigan Consumers Guide to wind energy systems is a valuable guide to provide you with basic information about small wind electric systems. This publication can help you decide if wind energy will work for you. Click Here (PDF)

AWEA Guide to Small Wind in Michigan

Michigan Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth

Michigan Public Service Commission – Net Metering and interconnection policy

Michigan Wind Working Group

Michigan Wind Manufacturing Working Group

MSU Extension Wind Energy Home Page

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