Earth Week 2020 is here and, to celebrate, DTE Energy announced the commissioning of its newest wind park, the 15th to join its renewable energy fleet. Located in mid-Michigan’s Gratiot County, Polaris Wind is now the largest wind park in Michigan and one of four new wind parks DTE will bring online this year. Polaris has 68 wind turbines capable of generating 168 megawatts of clean energy; this is enough clean energy to power more than 64,000 average size Michigan homes!

“DTE is leading Michigan’s clean energy transformation,” said Trevor F. Lauer, president and COO, DTE Electric. “Bringing projects like Polaris Wind online provide tremendous benefits for our customers, the environment and the state of Michigan. We are committed to continued growth of our renewable energy portfolio, including wind and solar, as we work to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.” 

In terms of its environmental benefits, Polaris will offset more than 355,000 metric tons of CO2e annually – the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking more than 76,000 cars off the road for a year.*

But renewable energy projects like Polaris don’t just help us protect the environment; they create jobs, provide a stable source of income for landowners who host turbines and help strengthen Michigan’s economy. Local communities also receive tremendous economic benefits, thanks to the additional tax revenue the turbines bring into their communities. Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. reports that between 2012-2018, the county received nearly $43 million in tax revenue from its wind parks. These funds can be used to support improvements in roads, schools, emergency services and other vital community needs.

“Wind development has unquestionably brought increased economic prosperity to Gratiot County,” said Jim Wheeler, president, Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. “In addition to tax revenue that benefits the County, townships, and schools, investment from wind development was used to leverage a grant for infrastructure in the Breckenridge Industrial Park, which now houses five companies and over 100 jobs. The area economy also benefits from increased consumer spending at restaurants and retail shops by temporary construction workers and permanent maintenance technicians, in addition to increased spending from local landowners who receive lease payments. Overall, wind development has offered Gratiot County a renewed drive toward the future with new opportunities for its citizens.”

Polaris will only be Michigan’s largest wind park until November of this year when DTE brings two other mid-Michigan wind parks online. The company also has big plans regarding solar energy and will be adding more solar parks to its portfolio in the next several years.

To learn more about DTE’s long-term carbon reduction goals, please visit dtecleanenergy.com.