The emerging wind industry in the United States recently surpassed Germany as the largest market for installed turbines and there are more than 35 companies in Michigan supplying components or services to the wind energy industry, a number that is quickly growing.
Last March in Detroit, European wind turbine companies Vestas, Nordex, and Siemens expressed their needs for more domestic suppliers to manufacture critical components at the 2009 Michigan Wind Energy Conference. Northern Power, an energy based company in Vermont which focuses on community wind projects, is considering a contract manufacturing facility that will build wind turbines in Michigan and use components from companies located within the state.
Across the country, wind energy companies are racing to meet the US Department of Energy’s outlined report which requires that 20% of the country’s energy come from wind energy by 2030. Meeting this goal will require an increase from 15,000 wind turbines currently installed in the U.S. to 140,000 according to Dan Radomski, Vice President of Industry Services for NextEnergy, a non-profit organization and one of the nation’s leading catalysts for alternative and renewable energy located in Detroit. This will create thousands of new jobs.
Recently, the Michigan Wind Energy Resource Zone Board selected four regions highly suitable for wind energy; three of them in West Michigan and one in the state’s thumb. The regions were chosen from preliminary findings in a report prepared by Public Sector Consultants Inc. and the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute based on wind resources, land availability, and energy production potential.