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DTE Wraps Up Work On Gratiot County Wind Project

BRECKENRIDGE - DTE Energy said Wednesday that it had completed construction and started full commercial operations on its Gratiot County Wind Project.

The wind park is a 212.8-megawatt project featuring 133 1.6-mw GE wind turbines. Easily visible from US-127 in the Alma-St. Louis area, it generates enough renewable energy to power more than 50,000 Michigan homes.

Sixty-four of the turbines are owned by DTE Energy, while 69 turbines are owned by Gratiot Wind LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy Wind LLC. DTE Energy will purchase the power from Invenergy's turbines under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

The wind park is part of DTE Energy's plan to meet Michigan's renewable energy goals. DTE Energy expects to add about 1,000 mw of renewable power to meet its goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2015. The company plans to own facilities to supply up to half of that energy and contract with third-party producers for the remainder.

"Through this partnership, Michigan's largest wind farm now is fully operational," said Steve Kurmas, Detroit Edison president and COO. "This investment proves that Michigan's existing renewable energy law is working and the state is aggressively implementing its renewable commitment."

Located on approximately 30,000 acres of private land in the townships of Wheeler, Bethany, Emerson and Lafayette, the wind project was constructed by Livonia-based Aristeo Construction. The project is Aristeo's first in the state.

DTE Energy announced last month that it plans to build another wind park in Huron County, which will add another 110 mw to the company's renewable energy portfolio.

The wind park in Oliver and Chandler townships will add to the more than 500 mw of DTE Energy's renewable energy projects already producing, or in the planning or construction stages.

The wind park will be built on nearly 16,000 acres and host up to 70 wind turbines. DTE Energy will file for approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission later this year. If approved, construction would begin next year.

The wind park will be on some of the 80,000 acres in Huron County where DTE Energy has acquired easements. The company has started construction this year on three previously announced wind parks, totaling another 110 mw, on 15,000 acres in Huron and Sanilac counties.

Total investment for all four farms in Huron and Sanilac counties will be about $500 million.

DTE Energy expects the majority of its renewable energy to come from wind resources. However, it also has a solar energy pilot program that could produce approximately 20 mw. The utility's renewable energy projects under contract will provide about 7 percent of retail energy sales by 2015.

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