Check out the Gratiot County Wind Story
The Gratiot Situation
True to its renewable nature, wind development has assisted in reinvigorating Gratiot County. During the “Great Recession,” the Gratiot Community came together to find new opportunities for economic growth. Gratiot County was presented with the possibility of wind development due to its flat, open areas and collaborative nature. Leaders in the county made the two wind farms possible by creating Michigan’s first countywide model wind energy ordinance. The county is now home to two wind farms: Beebe Community Wind Farm, LLC (55 turbines) and Gratiot County Wind, LLC (133 turbines). Gratiot County Wind, LLC is the state’s largest wind farm!
Wind development has unquestionably brought increased economic prosperity to the county. In 2016, Gratiot County’s tax base increased by $299 million due to wind development. Gratiot County government, townships, and schools realized a total of $30.38 million in new tax revenue since 2012 from wind development. The local economy is also directly and positively affected by land payments to 350 families and 19 permanent full-time jobs at the new maintenance and operations facilities for each company.
In addition to the direct economic benefits, Gratiot citizens have also experienced a number of indirect benefits. Wind investment was used to leverage a grant to complete infrastructure for the Breckenridge Industrial, Technology and Agribusiness Park, where there are currently over 100 FTE positions. Additionally, due to necessary electrical transmission upgrades and the construction of four new substations, the entire Mid-Michigan area has increased power reliability. Finally, production agriculture, a crucial part of Gratiot’s economy, has been ensured through careful placement of the wind turbines.
Perhaps the most significant benefit that wind development has offered Gratiot County is a renewed drive toward the future with new opportunities. The wind farms have increased awareness of Gratiot County in the areas of increased manufacturing possibilities and wind tourism. As a result, Gratiot County has been appropriately identified as a forward-looking community that continuously positions itself for a successful future.
Estimated investment to date: Approaching $500 million
$30.38 million in additional tax revenue since 2012
Temporary construction employment: 200
Projected permanent full-time maintenance employment: 18
Projects constitute largest investment in Gratiot County history
“Invenergy is delighted that the Gratiot County Wind project is generating clean, homegrown energy in Michigan. We appreciate the strong support for this project and look forward to a long and successful relationship with our host community.”
– Michael Polsky, President & CEO, Invenergy
Large projects require a significant collaborative approach.
“Greater Gratiot Development, Inc. focused on defining ‘community’ as something that goes beyond individual municipal borders. That was a very important starting point.”
– Rich VanderVeen, Founder & President, Wind Resource LLC & Mackinaw Power
“GGDI is helping build a stronger community with stronger families. They were instrumental in facilitating the process that has now become the national model for other communities to accommodate major wind projects.”
– Mark Hull, Founder & President Beebe Renewable Energy
Specific Gratiot County Wind Development Information
(click on the links to view/download the information)