Huron Winds lies atop a long, sloping cliff near the shores of Lake Huron, giving it an ideal spot to capture the wind.
The turbines soar high over the trees and buildings, free of turbulence and perfectly positioned to take advantage of the lake breeze. When coupled with higher breezes, the prevailing winds climb the bluff, compressing energy for release at the summit. The wind turbine’s blades capture this energy and convert it to electricity.
The sun is responsible for the wind’s strength. On Earth, wind consumes one to two percent of the sun’s energy.
The sun heats the air in the atmosphere, causing it to rise, and this is how it works. The movement of the wind is influenced by a variety of factors, including temperature, geography, bodies of water, plants, buildings, and people. Winds can be pleasant or ferocious depending on the season when combined with other components.
HARNESSING THE WIND
In the mid-1990s, when the wind knocked down a privately owned 85-kilowatt turbine in its second year of operation, Bruce County’s first attempt to harness the wind for utility-grade power generation was unsuccessful. More safety elements have been added to the turbines as a result of the lessons gained and improving turbine technology to prevent this from happening again. In 1995, a 600-kilowatt wind turbine was installed and put into service in its place, and it now stands close to the Huron Wind site.
In Lake Huron, how many wind turbines are there?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Huron County, the “fingernail” of the Thumb, is the state’s top farming county. According to the USDA’s 2017 agricultural census, the county’s farms earned $610.8 million in revenue, putting it in 67th place out of 3,077 counties nationwide.
Corn, soybeans, potatoes, sugar beets, cereals, vegetables, and sod were among the crops grown on the average farm of 430 acres, with a total of 495,258 acres in production in the county. The county was second in the state in the sale of livestock, poultry, and allied items, and first in the production of cattle and milk.
Another type of farming that Huron County excelled at was wind farms. The 401 wind turbines in the ten wind farms that ring the county’s perimeter take use of Lake Huron’s breezes. In Huron County, the first wind turbine was built in 2009. DTE owns six of them, while the other four are privately owned but feed the DTE grid, producing 663.3 megawatts of electricity, enough to power nearly 292,000 homes, according to the firm.
DTE has four more wind farms in Michigan, all of which are located in Gratiot County. This year, the business will start construction on four new wind farms, one in the Upper Peninsula and three in mid-Michigan. With 76 turbines, the Polaris Wind Farm in Gratiot County will be DTE’s largest.
DTE also operates four solar-panel farms in Huron County, with a total of 8,640 solar panels capable of powering 316 homes.
In the thinly inhabited county, which had a 2010 census total of 33,118 persons, the turbines are spread out in a low-density way, two or three per acre of land. They rise from farmer’s fields and have been a financial boon to both farmers and public schools, municipalities, and libraries. Farmers often lease their land for more than 30 years.
DTE does not disclose how much it pays farmers, but in addition to leasing payments, it pays them a royalty on the electricity they generate. They keep 97 percent of their farms after the turbines are constructed on average.
The corporation does disclose the amounts it pays to local governments. Between 2014 and 2016, Huron County handed out a total of $27.4 million to various institutions, including $11.4 million to school districts, $7.6 million to the county, $7.3 million to various townships, and $725,449 to libraries.
Last year, DTE released a video on YouTube that included government officials and local farmers discussing the turbines.
“A lot of people were leaving our town fifteen or twenty years ago,” Pam Roestel, who owns a farm in the area with her husband Kevin, said in the video. “People were leaving as the carpet was being rolled up. This has changed, and it’s all because to these wind turbines. Having them here has been a huge help. It has improved our community.”
David Beck is the owner of a sod farm. In response to President Donald Trump’s assertions that dead birds, including numerous bald eagles, may be found piled up beneath wind turbines, he said: “Every day, we work around the turbines. I’ve never seen a hit-and-run bird laying in the field.”
“I recall when my township got $40,000 to invest on roads,” said county commissioner Steve Vaughn. “I currently live in a township with a road fund of $1,750,000.”
Pine River Township assessor Doug Merchant stated, “We’ve been able to go out and undertake more road repairs and more fire department projects, and it’s cut millage rates.”
Do the Great Lakes have any wind turbines?
According to the paper, wind off the Great Lakes’ shores may deliver electricity to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Because its offshore energy potential is in the Atlantic Ocean, New York was left out of the Great Lakes region.
According to the analysis, offshore wind could generate three-quarters of Michigan’s estimated electricity usage by 2050 if the state is fully electrified.
According to Hannah Read, a co-author of the paper, full electrification implies switching the entire state to electric power from buildings to transportation to industry.
According to the analysis, the next closest Great Lakes state in terms of coastal power generating potential in 2050 is Wisconsin, which has a 27 percent potential.
This is technological potential, which implies the total amount of energy that can be generated from wind in that area. That doesn’t imply all of the energy would be harvested, according to Reed, who is a Go Big on Offshore Wind program associate at the Environment America Research & Policy Center.
In Illinois, where are the bulk of wind turbines located?
The Twin Groves Wind Farm is located in McLean County, Illinois, near the villages of Arrowsmith, Saybrook, and Ellsworth. It has 240 operational wind turbines. Each wind turbine has three 120-foot-long (39-meter) blades and is 280 feet (80 meters) tall. Between 2007 and February 2008, the wind farm was built. Upon completed, Twin Groves was the largest utility-scale wind farm east of the Mississippi River.
Who owns all of Michigan’s windmills?
69 of the turbines are owned by Invenergy. DTE is the owner of 64 of them. All of the energy generated here is fed into the DTE Energy infrastructure, which means that energy created in central Michigan is sent to southeast Michigan.
A total of 212.5 megawatts of renewable energy is generated by the wind farm. By 2015, all power firms in the state must generate 10% of their energy from renewable sources.
In Michigan, where are wind turbine blades manufactured?
A large-scale wind turbine maker hopes to settle in Saginaw, according to the Detroit Free Press. Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vt., plans to build its next-generation big wind turbines in Saginaw, which will be the first in the United States to use 100 percent American-made parts.
Is it possible to build offshore wind turbines on the Great Lakes?
Offshore wind turbines have not been installed in waters that freeze during the winter, with the exception of a modest experimental program off the coast of Finland. Storms and unpredictable currents can push moving ice against masts that support spinning blades, acting as a battering ram. A large test in Lake Erie near Cleveland could be coming up soon. If the Icebreaker Windpower project’s six turbines are erected, they might usher in a new era of offshore power in freshwater lakes rather than saline coastal waters, something that has never been done before.
Icebreaker, which will be built by the charity Lake Erie Energy Development Corp, has received preliminary permission from the Ohio Power Siting Board (LEEDCo). The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has also determined that the installation meets federal water pollution limits. If objections from concerned groups are addressed, final approval might come this fall, and the turbines could be operational in three years.
Icebreaker would be the United States’ second offshore wind farm. In December 2016, the Block Island Wind Farm, located 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, began generating power. Fred.Olsen Renewables in Norway, which has 23 active and proposed wind farms (onshore and offshore) in four European nations, would eventually own the $126 million project in Lake Erie. The Lake Erie turbines would generate around 21.7 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 7,500 households. At its greatest point, the 200-foot blades would rise 479 feet over the water’s surface.
Shallower floor depth, smaller waves, no storms, electrical networks close to shore, fewer affects on commercial fishing, and competitive wind speed, according to supporters, are some of the advantages of Great Lakes wind generation versus Atlantic coast locales. They believe that if Icebreaker succeeds, hundreds of Lake Erie turbines will follow.
Icebreaker’s ability to deal with the “ice shove,” as Ohioans describe it, will be crucial to their success. Winds and sea currents sweep thick ice sheets around in the winter, building them up 30 to 50 feet high along the shore. The sheets are notorious for wreaking devastation on the infrastructure around the water’s edge. Will wind turbines be able to survive?
Do you know if there are any wind turbines on Lake Michigan?
In Mason County, Michigan, there is a wind farm called Lake Winds Energy Park. Consumers Energy manages the farm, which started producing in August 2012. It is home to 56 wind turbines that generate a total of just over 100MW of electricity. Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc. built the turbines, which harness the western winds provided by Lake Michigan to generate electricity.
How big are Michigan’s windmills?
Although planning a wind farm can take several years, the actual construction process usually takes six to nine months. Wind farms can last for at least 20 to 25 years, according to Hecht.
Wind turbines are easily the highest structures for miles around, dwarfing farmhouses, grain elevators, churches, and even the tallest trees.
Wind turbines come in a variety of sizes. The highest point of some turbines, according to DTE, is 479 feet. The Statue of Liberty is 174 feet taller than the Michigan State Capitol, which is 212 feet taller. The 164-foot blades are about the length of a football field and the width of a football field.
Landowners like Larry and Jennifer Gillis join up to host wind turbines on their property in exchange for land lease payments, making the wind farms possible.
Jennifer Gillis, seated across from her husband at their dining room table, explained, “You have an actual, functioning relationship and it doesn’t just end with the turbine going up and the money coming in the mail.”
The Gillises live in Isabella County, near Shepherd. In both Isabella and Gratiot counties, they possess farmland. They have one turbine on their property in Gratiot County, which is part of the Gratiot County Wind park built by Invenergy and DTE Energy, and they are so happy with the arrangement that they are hoping to get a second turbine close to where they reside.
The Gillises wouldn’t specify how much they get paid to have a turbine on their property, but a representative from NextEra, a wind farm developer with projects in Michigan, said a single turbine can pay a landowner $10,000 to $14,000 per year. That means a few wind turbines on one’s land may pay as much as or more than the per capita income in some Mid-Michigan counties.
The Gillises, on the other hand, claim they didn’t do it for the money. They did it for the sake of their community, referring to it as a “win-win situation.”
Larry Gillis said, “(The Invenergy representative) highlighted that these things pay large amounts of money to the township for roads and schools.” “If you travel into Wheeler Township, the roads are really magnificent.”
Is it possible to farm near wind turbines?
Wind turbines, according to Iowa State University experts, have a typically good impact on crops cultivated beneath them. Wind turbines in farm fields, according to Iowa State University experts, are beneficial to the crops that grow nearby.