28,000 acres secured for wind energy

Consumers Energy has secured more than 28,000 acres of easements in Michigan for potential wind generation development and is starting the process of testing sites.

Construction started today on four meteorological towers in Mason County and three towers in Tuscola County. Construction of the towers, which are about 180 feet tall, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. In addition to the seven towers being constructed, Consumers Energy also will be refurbishing two existing Mason County towers it has purchased.

“The purpose of the meteorological towers is to collect wind data over a two-year period. We’ll be measuring wind speed, wind direction and air temperature to determine if the sites are suitable for wind turbine generators and the best location for them,” said George Hass, executive director of new generation for Consumers Energy.

Construction of the meteorological towers is part of Consumers Energy’s Growing Forward strategy, which calls for investing more than $6 billion in Michigan, including investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental and customer service enhancements, and new power generation.

Comprehensive energy reform legislation signed into law October 6 by Governor Jennifer Granholm includes a renewable portfolio standard. That standard requires Consumers Energy and other utilities to provide 10 percent of their electric supplies from renewable energy by 2015. Approximately five percent of Consumers Energy’s electric supply is from renewable energy sources.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.