Windmills May be a Breath of Fresh Air For Michigan Businesses

In almost every part of the world, countries are being asked about their energy consumption and how more energy resources can be used to ease the strain on resources available.

From September 10-11, over 300 gathered to discuss Wind Energy Systems in Michigan and around the world at Michigan State University.

According to Michigan State University Land Policy Institute (MSU LPI), the demand for wind systems have increased globally during recent years. The supply of wind systems have just not been available for those who are interested in having them. Currently there is about a 2 1/2 year wait for wind machines in the worldwide market. Demand has definitely outpaced supply.

MSU LPI believes that given the current economic issues that Michigan is having especially in the areas of auto manufacturing that in a new energy environment; Michiganders would have the opportunity to capitalize on a promising energy resource.

As in many states, Michigan relies on coal and nuclear fuel baseload generation units for over 80 percent of its annual electricity production.

Since ancient times, people have harnessed the wind’s energy. Ancient Egyptians used wind to sail ships on the Nile River. Later, people built windmills to grind wheat and other grains over 5,000 years ago. The earliest known windmills were in Persia (Iran). These early windmills looked like large paddle wheels. Centuries later, the people of Holland improved the basic design of the windmill. They gave it propeller-type blades, still made with sails. Holland is famous for its windmills.

Wind power plants, or wind farms as they are sometimes called, are clusters of wind machines used to produce electricity. A wind farm usually has dozens of wind machines scattered over a large area. The world’s largest wind farm, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas, has 421 wind turbines that generate enough electricity to power 230,000 homes per year.

Unlike power plants, many wind plants are not owned by public utility companies. Instead they are owned and operated by business people who sell the electricity produced on the wind farm to electric utilities. These private companies are known as Independent Power Producers.

Those attending the conference feel as with the domination of the automotive industry in Michigan, the wind industry has the same growth capacity.
MSU LPI believes that Michigan manufactures can profitably join the nationally evolving wind industry supply change.

Wind machines can also offers rural landowners and farmers an opportunity to lease space. Crops can still be grown and livestock can graze right up to the base.

The conference covered a wide range of topics. The conference covered wind industry supply chain manufacturing opportunities, issues, experiences, resources, and networking, as well as wind turbine siting and development opportunities in the state.

Property tax payments bring in revenue from utility scale wind projects.

Soji Adelaja, Ph.D. and John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy and the Land Policy Institute Director believes that there has to be collaboration while building teams to effectively look at how Michigan will redefine itself.

One of the goals of MSU LPI is to make the term ‘land use’ a part of Michigan’s strategic plan for success.

For more information about MSU LPI’s other dynamic programs log on to or call 517-432-8769.