Michigan Lands Its First Large Wind Turbine Assembly Plant


Tue Dec 07, 2010 at 08:40:57 AM EST

Yeah baby! More details will be announced later today, but the Freep has the story for us now.


In a major boost for Michigan's emerging wind-energy industry, Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to announce today that the state has attracted its first large wind turbine assembly plant.

Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vt., intends to use a facility in Saginaw to manufacture its next-generation large wind turbines, expected to be the first ones built in the U.S. using 100% American-made parts. Plans call for sourcing as many parts as possible from Michigan companies.

100% American. That's amazing. With former auto parts manufacturers looking to diversify their product lines, a company like this will be just the ticket for them to produce demand for their goods. Northern already has a deal to supply 13 turbines to a wind farm in Escanaba, and they are working on next-generation technology as we speak.


Northern Power said its large turbines use a design and technology that make them more efficient, quieter and less costly to operate than what is on the market today. Each of these turbines can generate 2.2 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 2,200 homes.

Working with Saginaw-based Merrill Technologies Group, Northern Power has already produced three of the turbines, one of which was bought by DTE Energy, according to Andy Levin, acting director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth.

During the recession, new wind farms were put on hold as investors had a hard time coming up with the money to move these projects. Now that we are starting to see recovery, chances are it is going to pick up again in a big way. Do we need a federal RPS? Maybe not. States are taking the initiative on their own.


The investment in Michigan comes at a tough time for the U.S. wind-energy industry. In the first nine months of this year, new wind project installations have dropped 72% from last year's record levels because of the economy and other factors.

But in the long run, companies such as Northern Power and state officials say they believe the underdeveloped U.S. wind-energy market holds enormous potential for both profits and new jobs. Although the federal government has yet to enact policies that would foster the industry's growth, many states are pushing ahead with their own plans. For instance, Michigan requires that at least 10% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2015, which is expected to spur demand for more than 1,000 new wind turbines.

Great news. Maybe we will make it through the storm after all…

UPDATE: Gongwer/MiTech has more details.    


Comments from Soap 


*[new] And yes 
I'm watching the Obama Wars – I just don't know what to say about it. Mostly I cry.

So, if someone has some great idea about how we get elected officials to actually stand up for the good of the American people for a change, please get it out there. I'm beyond anger, and at this point just trying to save the artist that lives in my soul. She's damn near dead after all of this.

[ Reply | ]

 *[new] Oh, and please start a new diary
I didn't mean to hijack my own thread – just a bit preoccupied right now. ;-)

[ Parent | Reply | ]

 *[new] Great news!! (
Just more proof that Gov. Granholm's strategy to diversify the economy is working.  It's a shame that she won't be in office to see this company open its doors.  

The article didn't mention tax incentives but I'm sure they were involved.  Given the incoming governor's dislike of tax incentives, this may be one of the last big projects Michigan attracts.

Anyway…it's great to see something made in the US, using US parts.

[ Reply | ]

 *[new] I have a feeling
That we will see Republicans drop their dislike of incentives as soon as they see other states get all the business. Or, we will repeat the mistakes of Engler and fall behind, one or the other. Either way, Granholm did great at getting this off the ground, and it is all on the Pubs if they screw it up. Nothing we can do about it now.

As I spelled out in this diary, we might be looking at a great opportunity if the teabaggers elected in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, etc. actually stick with their campaign rhetoric and deny these companies. But, since we are already seeing that bluster fade as the Republicans line up for sweet lobbyist cash in DC, my guess is we will see the same at the state level as well. The "Tea Party" is a colossal joke – these are your standard, garden variety Republicans here. They will be focused on their own self-interests, which would entail making big economic deals to trumpet to the press.

All these new Republican governors are actually caught in a Catch-22. Keep your economy down and try to blame Obama, which might backfire on your own approval ratings, or, get the business going (and good luck with that, as there really isn't all that much that you can do at the state level) – and watch Obama's approval ratings climb as the national economy climbs.

How do they spin it? It will be interesting, to say the least.

[ Parent | Reply | ]

 *[new] NPR has a good point too 
The national tax incentives expire this year – which could be a problem going forward.

But, 35 states plus DC already have standards they have to meet, which still should drive demand to some extent.

Depends on Congress and Obama to keep the national credits in place. Since so many big money players (BP, GE, etc and so on) are involved and invested in renewables, I think we may see it happen.

Really hard to tell right now, given all that has happened…

[ Parent | Reply | ]



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