CHICAGO — At Monday’s American Wind Energy Association conference in Chicago, leaders of the newly-formed Michigan Energy and Technology Center (METC) announced their multi-faceted plan to generate economic activity in the Great Lakes State.
METC is a consortium comprised of officials from Michigan State University, the Grand Rapids sustainable energy construction firm Rockford Berge, Consumers Energy and other Michigan-based clean technology and services companies. Their mission is to accelerate the global market growth for clean technology and services.
The consortium objectives are to support the development of a Michigan-based supply chain, develop new markets and enhance the infrastructure needed by the next Michigan economy.
METC is currently focusing on two projects. The first, is a multi-year effort to enhance the infrastructure at the Port of Muskegon, the only deep water port on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan, and expand its potential for exporting Michigan manufactured products and agricultural commodities to markets throughout North America and the world.
The Port of Muskegon is already used to export and import components for the wind industry and has developed a vision, branded “43 degrees North @ Muskegon,” which includes plans to work with Muskegon-based companies, community leaders and Muskegon Lake front property owners to improve on that success.
Consumers Energy has made a commitment to “43 degrees North @ Muskegon” to allow access to its coal port at its Cobb generating plant, which the company plans to idle within the next three years.
“We strongly support the METC ’43 degrees North @ Muskegon’ vision for expanding the Port of Muskegon because it will give us greater access to source wind turbine manufacturers located in Canada, Europe, South America and potentially Asia,” said David Slikkers, CEO of Energetx, a company already exporting wind turbine molds to Spain through the port.
The second project entails a pilot program at Michigan State University. The pilot will address the challenges in developing clean energy technology, scaling up manufacturing, and transporting products.
“Michigan State University is proud to bring its world-class expertise in composite materials, logistics, and green energy to Michigan’s emerging economy,” said Brice Nelson, associate director of Michigan State University Business-CONNECT. “We believe we are in position to help achieve the goals of METC.”
METC Founding Members:
Consumers Energy: Energy Services
Energetx Composites: Advanced composite manufacturing
Rockford Berge: Integrated logistics/construction management services
Sand Products: Port/Marine Services (West Michigan Port Operators)
Verplank: Port/Marine Services (West Michigan Port Operators)
METC Affiliate Members:
Astraeus: Automated manufacturing, composite blades
Ventower: Wind turbine tower fabrication