DETROIT– DTE Energy is more than halfway to its renewable energy goal with a contract to purchase 120 megawatts from a wind farm in Tuscola, Bay and Saginaw counties.

The $485 million contract with Tuscola Bay Wind LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, was approved Thursday by the Michigan Public Service Commission. DTE Energy will purchase all of the energy produced at the 9,000-acre wind farm, which is enough to power more than 30,000 homes. The wind farm is expected to be operational late next year.

“This contract has pushed us over the halfway mark to our goal of 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity,” said Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy vice president of marketing and renewables. “We’re proud of the role that we have been able to play in energizing this new industry in Michigan and contributing to the economic revitalization of the communities that will host renewable energy facilities.”

The wind farm will be owned by NextEra Energy Inc., which has nearly 115 renewable energy facilities and is the largest wind energy developer in the country. The project is in the engineering phase, with construction expected to start next year and take six to nine months. NextEra expects a construction workforce of 250 to 275 people and 10 to 12 permanent employees.

The wind farm also represents a $250 million investment in the community that over 30 years is expected to generate $50 million in lease payments to landowners, $19 million in property taxes and provide $21 million in wages and benefits.

The 20-year, $485 million power purchase agreement is part of DTE Energy’s efforts to expand the company’s renewable energy resources.

To meet the state’s renewable energy goals, DTE Energy expects to add about 1,000 megawatts, or 10 percent of its power, from renewable energy sources by 2015. DTE Energy plans to own facilities to supply up to half of that power and contract with third-party producers, such as NextEra, for the rest.

DTE Energy expects the majority of its renewable energy to come from wind resources, but the company also has a pilot solar energy program that could produce approximately 20 megawatts.

DTE Energy also announced it has selected Southfield, Mich.-based Barton Malow Co. to build the three DTE Energy wind farms in Huron and Sanilac counties next year. The company also selected General Electric to provide the nearly 70 wind turbines to be sited at the wind farms, which will total about 110 MW. Initial delivery of the wind turbines is expected next summer.

The contracts will be filed with the MPSC for its approval.

The project is expected to result in 110 to 120 construction jobs lasting six to nine months, and 10 to 12 full-time permanent positions to maintain the wind turbines.

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading.

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