- Consumers Energy plans to complete construction of the 105-megawatt (MW) Cross Winds® Energy Park in Tuscola County by the end of 2014. Designs for the wind farm will meet or exceed the requirements of local zoning, permitting and building codes. They also will comply with applicable federal, state and local requirements to protect human health and the environment.
- Consumers Energy signed a contract with GE to supply 62 1.7 MW wind turbine generators for the prouject, which is the most efficient turbine for the region's wind speeds.
- Consumers Energy will also select a major engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project. It will consider competitive pricing, experience and history of good working relationships with landowners and communities during the construction phase of previous wind park projects.
- We will design the project to comply with, and in many cases exceed, the requirements of local wind zoning ordinances. Development studies indicate the project will comply with local zoning for the protection of public health, safety or welfare and will have minimal evironmental and local wildlife impacts.
- We are planning carefully to minimize the impact of sound levels produced by the wind turbines by first completing studies of the background sound levels for the proposed project area. With completion of these studies, we were be able to match the sound levels with our wind data to aid in selection of a wind turbine that is best suited to operate the Cross Winds® project to maximize its generating capacity and also minimize sound levels for our neighbors.
- We have also considered how to minimize shadow “flicker,” a strobe-like effect that may, under certain conditions, be caused by the shadows of rotating wind turbine blades, in locating wind turbines. We will complete detailed studies to ensure we are in compliance with local zoning requirements and to design the project to help minimize the potential of shadow flicker for residents.
Consumers Energy is undertook two years of wildlife studies based on recommendations from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources when considering placement of a wind energy farm in the project area. These studies included two years of avian studies, including use of the area by short ear owls and bald eagles, song bird breeding, and large bird migration by Dr. Joelle Gehring of Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Additional studies were also completed to identify the potential presence of the Indiana bat, an endangered species, or the eastern pipistrelle, a species of special concern in Michigan. The studies were completed by Dr. Alan Kurta of Eastern Michigan University.
Map of project boundaries and wind turbine locations