DTE Energy has commissioned the first 13 wind turbines at the 112MW Echo wind park in Michigan and expects to begin full commercial operations at the plant by the end of November 2013.
The project, which is estimated to have a net capacity factor of 47%, will feature 70 GE 1.6MW turbines being built around 16,000 acres in portions of Elkton, Chandler and Oliver Townships in Huron County.
The company has filed an application with the Michigan Public Service Commission for ex parte approval of the proposed plant in mid-August 2012 and received consent in September 2012.
The commission has approved DTE Energy's request for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Barton Malow and a turbine supply agreement with GE for the proposed Echo Wind project.
The company has fully assembled all 70 turbines, completed 30 out of 70 restoration walkdowns, and finished 95% of the collection system works by the end of September 2013.
As the owner's engineer, Black & Veatch had developed technical specifications and drawings for the EPC document and supported the company in the EPC bid evaluation, as well as participating in design reviews, weekly progress meetings with the EPC contractor, and providing overall wind development consulting services.
Once operational, the project will significantly contribute to the company's goal of adding more than 900MW, or 10% of its power, by 2015.
The company's wind portfolio also includes the 110MW Thumb Wind Park, which started operations in December 2012, and the 212.8MW Gratiot County Wind Park (partly owned). Additionally, the company will purchase the output from the 20MW Big Turtle Wind Farm.
Image: Turbine blades are 160 feet long and weigh about 7 tons each. Photo: courtesy of DTE Energy.