In the county of Gratiot, Michigan there is a concerted effort to dramatically increase the total wind capacity of the state with the growth of the Beebe Community Wind Farm. The wind farm is in partnership with Nordex and Exelon Generation and it is a project that will continue to be under development for the next few years to become a significant supplier of electricity sourced from the wind.
The construction and installation of 34 wind turbines in the Beebe Community Wind Farm was completed in December 2012 to provide 81MW of electricity. This wind farm is located in Emerson, North Star and Hamilton townships and is referred to as phase 1A. A second phase (referred to as phase 1B) will add a further 18 more turbines to bring the capacity up to 125MW.
There is also a planned phase 2 to the project that will see an additional 50 more turbines added to the Lafayette Township and this will create an additional 120MW of electricity. Beebe wind has 35,000 acres under contract.
The final aim is to commission a wind farm that has an operating capacity of 300MW and the entire project will be furnished by Nordex wind turbines. The turbines are the Nordex N117-2.4 MW turbines and they have been specifically designed for low wind sites. The N117 has the longest rotor blade in its category and this gives it an average 15% yield increase over the previous similar turbines.
The Beebe Community Wind Farm has been developed while taking a community-based approach to all aspects of its design and management. The economic benefit has been spread among local land owners using leasing arrangements that benefit all landowners and tax revenue from the project will benefit the entire community.
The project has interconnection positions on a 345 kV line, and has been granted its Special Use Permit from the county. A 20-year power purchase agreement has been reached between Exelon and Consumers Energy.
With the completion of phase 1A in 2012 the second phase (1B) has been slated for completion in 2013 and the final phase is expected to be completed in 2014.
The Beebe Community wind farm is the second wind farm to be located in Gratiot County joining the 212.8MW Gratiot County Wind Farm which was completed in June 2012. The Gratiot County Wind Farm is located on approximately 30,000 acres of private land near the town of Breckenridge in the townships of Wheeler, Bethany, Emerson, and Lafayette.
For a complete list of the wind farms that are either completed, under construction or planned for the state of Michigan you can visit the Wind Power In Michigan page.