A few weeks ago, we passed a major milestone in the construction of our Meridian Wind Park: the team finished assembling and erecting all 77 wind turbine towers. This accomplishment is significant not only because it moves the project into the next phase of construction, but because it was achieved in just four months.
“We’re all incredibly proud to have reached this milestone safely, efficiently and in a quality manner,” said Josh Holmes, Meridian Wind Project Manager. “Our next big accomplishment will be when we reach commercial operation, which we expect to happen next summer.”
Meridian Wind Park is located in mid-Michigan’s Midland and Saginaw counties. When operational, the project will be the largest wind park in Michigan, with 77 turbines generating enough clean energy to power 78,000 homes.
Meridian Wind is a unique project in a variety of ways. To begin with, DTE has owned and developed the project from start to finish, unlike our last four wind parks which were purchased upon completion.
“We have a lot of ‘sweat equity’ in Meridian, because it’s completely self-developed,” said Josh. “To me, this is more significant than our previous projects because of the amount of energy we put into making it successful.”
Another unique aspect of Meridian is that our teams had to coordinate with three townships that had completely different wind ordinances to get the project approved and permitted. Jason Hannath, Meridian Wind Site Manager, has been working directly with landowners, public officials, and community members to educate them on the process and serve as a liaison between them and DTE.
“I’ve sincerely enjoyed working with the local communities and having the opportunity to be an involved partner in each of the organizations we support, from the school district to the non-profits to the local chamber of commerce,” said Jason. “But we especially have gratitude for our farmers who have worked through many challenges in the past year and continued to encourage and support us throughout the process.”
The communities within the footprint of Meridian Wind have truly been the focal point of this project. A critical component of project development has been keeping it entirely Michigan-made, using Southfield-based construction company Barton Malow and hundreds of local workers. Meridian has about 200 contractors on site every day, many of whom live right in Midland and Saginaw counties.
The next step in the project will be finishing Meridian’s electrical infrastructure, and the turbines will be turning as soon as early spring when the commissioning and testing phase begins.
“On a personal note, it’s been one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been a part of,” said Jason. “We’ve been working on Meridian for about four years now including preparatory time. It’s humbling to be a part of something of this magnitude.”
To learn more about Meridian Wind, visit empoweringmichigan.com/meridianwind.