Scandia Wind Offshore was formed in response to the attributes of West Michigan for offshore wind farm development. Scandia is pitching a plan to conduct studies to develop a 500 MW wind farm in Lake Michigan, outside of Muskegon and Ottawa counties. A 150-MW onshore wind farm at the Wastewater Management System in Muskegon County is also under consideration. The Aegir Project is proposed based on years of offshore wind-farm developments with its Norwegian partner, Havgul Clean Energy AS. Technical analysis is underway as well as an information exchange with the local communities, local government officials, and the State of Michigan. Some community groups, however, are objecting.
The Aegir Project, if built, will harvest the outstanding wind resource on Lake Michigan to produce clean, renewable energy while addressing the current need for job creation in Michigan.
Aegir Project officials say Muskegon and Ottawa counties present the following set of circumstances in terms of supporting the case for large-scale offshore wind farm development:
- Grid access: the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant is north of the proposed wind farm. The Aegir Project could provide off-peak power to the plant—fill its reservoir by wind power—while the plant would continue to generate and sell its power during peak consumption hours. Aegir could, in effect, recharge this giant “battery” and combine two renewable energy resources to deliver baseload power. Also, the 345 kV transmission lines on shore provide a substantial backbone to move power to major population centers. The B.C. Cobb coal plant in Muskegon could serve as a point of interconnection for the Aegir Project.
- Wind resource: The area is well positioned to harness the strong prevailing South/Southwest winds, winds that normally register only in states such as North Dakota and Texas. Officials say wind speeds range from 8 to 9 m/s (about 20 mph) at 100-m up. These are an excellent, clean resource to be farmed for substantial power production.
- Proximity to major load centers: The efficiencies associated with locating near two major load centers (areas of significant energy consumption, i.e., Detroit and Chicago) materially contribute to the economic viability of a wind farm such as the Aegir Project. Producing wind power for delivery to major population centers near the generation source could result in lower energy prices.
- Water depths in Lake Michigan outside of Muskegon and Ottawa Counties: Technology advances in wind turbine foundations indicate wind turbines can be sited in water depths up to 80 m.
The developer says the Aegir Project serve as a catalyst to enhance Michigan’s prospects of developing such a manufacturing cluster— an opportunity to gain market share in a growing industry.
Scandia Wind Offshore LLC