BRECKENRIDGE — Invenergy Wind LLC and DTE Energy Tuesday welcomed more than 150 invited guests, including local, state and federal officials, and business and community leaders, at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Gratiot County Wind Project.

Once operational, Gratiot will be a 133-turbine, 212.8-megawatt project that will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 50,000 Michigan homes. DTE Energy will own and operate nearly half of the wind farm and purchase the remaining power from Invenergy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The wind project will help DTE Energy meet Michigan’s renewable energy goals.

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Said Michael Polsky, president and CEO of Chicago-based Invenergy: “We greatly appreciate the support for the project by citizens, area business and community leaders, and local, state, and federal officials. Invenergy looks forward to a successful future in Gratiot County.”

Added Steve Kurmas, Detroit Edison president and chief operating officer: “DTE Energy is making nearly $2 billion in renewable energy investments in the state to help meet our future energy needs, which also creates jobs and spurs economic development.” He also noted that Gratiot County would be the state’s largest wind farm.

“This wind project is part of our vision for a brighter economic future for our local area, and a greener future as well,” said Don Schurr, president of Greater Gratiot Development.  “We welcome the Gratiot County Wind Project and appreciate the investment in our community by Invenergy and DTE Energy.”

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Located on approximately 30,000 acres of private land near the town of Breckenridge in the townships of Wheeler, Bethany, Emerson, and Lafayette, the wind project:

* Is employing approximately 200 skilled construction workers.
* Will employ 14 full-time workers to operate and maintain the wind turbines.
* Will contribute to the area’s economic development through property tax payments, which can be used for schools, fire and police protection, road repair, and other improvements.
* Will support the local economy through yearly lease payments to more than 240 landowners.
* Will commence commercial operations in the first quarter of 2012.
* Will feature 133 1.6-megawatt GE wind turbines.
* Will interconnect into an existing 138-kilovolt transmission line owned by International Transmission Co.
* Will help the state’s utilities meet Michigan’s renewable energy goals.

Upon completion, 69 of the turbines will be owned by Gratiot Wind LLC, an affiliate of Invenergy, with 64 turbines will be owned by DTE Energy.

The farm is being constructed by Livonia-based Aristeo Construction. Long associated with its work in the auto industry, Aristeo began 10 years ago to diversify its focus by attracting non-automotive, industrial power generation clients. The Gratiot County project is Aristeo’s first wind project in its home state.

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