Tuscola County in Michigan’s Thumb Region will soon be home to the new 111MW Crosswinds Energy Park. Consumers Energy chose Motor City Electric Utilities Co. (MCEU) as the EPC contractor for the project.
Construction began in the fall of 2013. After building turbine site foundations and access roads during the spring of 2014, MCEU installed the first wind turbine generator and all 62 GE 1.79 MW wind turbines by fall 2014. The turbines generate enough capacity to supply electricity to about 31,000 homes. To prepare for the installation of the turbines, MCEU trenched and laid underground collection system cables, installed foundations for transmission lines, and grounded the turbine foundation. MCEU also constructed the substation and installed conduit and feeder cables that run to the turbine towers. Safety was a top priority during construction. MCEU completed the crosswinds project with no lost-time incidents or injuries.
Both companies responsible for the project also considered environmental factors in the planning and construction phase of Cross Winds. Wind turbines for the project were selected to maximize their generating capacity while resulting in sound levels below the ordinance levels. Consumers Energy undertook two years of studies to ensure that they minimized the impact on wildlife. The process included avian studies, including using the area by short ear owls and bald eagles, songbird breeding, and large bird migration. Consumers completed additional studies to identify the potential presence of endangered bat species, including the Indiana bat and the eastern pipistrelle, a species of particular concern in Michigan.
More than $100 million of the $250 million total investment in Cross Winds Energy Park went to Michigan-based vendors and suppliers. The project also benefited the state and local economies, as it created about 150 construction-related jobs and eight operating and maintenance jobs when the wind park began commercial operation. We are proud to have been a part of the team that created Cross Winds Energy Park.