John Deere to open 3 large wind farms in Michigan.

29 Jun 2010

Some wind turbine blades measure over 150 feet long (half the length of a football field). Photo credit: f_shields at Flickr.

John Deere Wind Energy announced on Friday that it plans to open three new wind farms in Michigan — two of which will be the largest in the State. The new projects, to be located in Lenawee County, Sanilac County, and Huron County, are expected to increase the State’s wind power capacity by 61% to 374 megawatts (enough to generate electricity for more than 84,000 households).

John Deere’s announcement is a huge boost for wind energy in Michigan; however, the real key is who is producing the wind turbines (each of which contains over 8,000 parts). As the auto industry recovers, it is critical for Michigan manufacturing companies to tap into the renewable energy industry since there is no state in the country better at manufacturing than Michigan.

We are already seeing examples of innovation and diversification. Former suppliers of automotive parts are now making gear boxes and other components for wind turbines. A fiberglass boat manufacturer in Holland is now producing fiber composite commercial-sized wind turbine blades. Hopefully Michigan can establish itself as the wind turbine hub of North America since our economy would sure benefit from having every one of those 8,000 parts manufactured right here in the State.

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