Michigan Regulators: Wind Continues To Dominate Renewable Generation

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Wind generation continues to be the primary source of alternative energy in Michigan, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) ninth annual report on renewable power.

Utility-scale wind projects generated 69% of the approximately 3 GW of nameplate renewable capacity in 2018, representing the same amount as the previous year, according to the Report on the Implementation and Cost-Effectiveness of the P.A. 295 Renewable Energy Standard. Solar installations generated 4% of renewable power, up from 3% the previous year.

Among the other renewable energy power sources, hydroelectric facilities’ percentage was at 12%, biomass at 7%, landfill gas at 5% and municipal solid waste at 3%.

There are 25 utility-scale wind projects in Michigan, generating 1,925 MW of power. Four more are planned, totaling more than 555 MW of new wind generation:

  • Pine River Wind, Gratiot and Isabella counties, 161.3 MW, operational this year;
  • Cross Winds III, Tuscola County, 76 MW, operational in 2020;
  • Gratiot Farms, Gratiot County, 150 MW, operational in 2020; and
  • Polaris Wind Park, Gratiot County, 168 MW, operational in 2020.

The report finds that since the passage of Public Act 295 in 2008, $3.4 billion has been invested to bring more than 1.7 GW of renewable energy projects online through 2018. Under Public Act 295, electric providers were required to meet a 10% renewable energy standard based on retail sales by the end of 2015. Public Act 342 of 2016 increased the requirement to at least 12.5% for 2019 and 2020 and 15% by the end of 2021.

Further, according to the report, the Michigan Workforce Development Agency and the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives said there were 9,800 jobs in the renewable and alternative energy sector as of the second quarter of 2018.

The average price of renewable energy contracts is $68.27/MWh, which is considerably less than forecasted in initial renewable energy plans, the report adds.

The full MPSC report can be read here.

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