GARDEN – Residents traveling West on U.S. 2 before June 24 will likely come across one of the estimated 130 semitrucks carrying parts to 13 Garden Wind Farm turbines. According to a press release from Heritage Sustainable Energy, the company responsible for the farm, up to 10 trucks per day will be hauling turbine blades, nacelles and tower components.
Heritage, a Traverse City based company best known for its nearly 2,000-acre Stoney Corners Wind Farm Project near Cadillac, Mich., leased approximately 10,000 acres of land throughout the Garden Peninsula to house their 295-foot wind turbines. A total of 14 turbines are expected to be in operation by the end of August or early September, said Delta County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Vicki Schwab. One turbine has been operational since early spring, and the rest will be constructed throughout the summer, she added.
According to Garden Township Supervisor Morgan Tatrow, the second turbine is currently being erected, and the bases of all 13 have been completed.
“I don’t know what problems they will run into or not, but they plan to progress as long as the weather cooperates,” he said.
In the press release issued by Heritage, the company explained that each truck traveling through Delta County will require a special escort to assist hauling the 200-foot components, but that the trucks will take an alternative route to avoid traffi c problems.
“Moving these components is no small feat and we appreciate the support from all of the communities and areas we will be passing through,” Rick Wilson, Heritage vice president stated in the release. “We are looking forward to this exciting phase of construction, our goal is to continue with the progress of the project as well as maintain communication with the communities that may be affected throughout this process.”
Only one traffic mishap has been encountered thus far, said Schwab.
“What happen was a truck inadvertently took the wrong route, so they tried to go over the Gladstone bridge,” she explained. “Officials responded quickly, though, and rerouted the truck and got it back on the road.”
Despite any unexpected circumstances in the transport and/or set-up of the turbines, Schwab notes that the economic benefit to both Delta and Schoolcraft counties is undeniable.
“It will have a great economic impact,” she said. “They have begun and plan to spend over $10 million.”
According to Schwab, this includes both short-term revenue from sources such as construction-related jobs, lodging, meals, materials, equipment rental, subcontracts, lease payments, and turbine site payments to people leasing their land to Heritage. More long-term revenue will come from payments to the townships, county and state, full-time positions for maintenance and operation, as well as royalty payments to landowners, based on production and energy prices, she added.
“There are currently around 75 people working on construction of the turbines,” Schwab said. “Heritage also has an office presence in Garden, which serves as a corporate headquarters for the Garden project, and also a place where people can go with questions.”