Category Archives: Wind Energy

Tour Michigan Wind Farms in the Upper Thumb

The question was simple enough. “Does anyone offer a Tour of the Michigan Wind Farms in the Upper Thumb?” We had been to a wind farm tour during the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival in August but we were unsure about getting a tour the rest of the year. So we were pleased to discover that DTE Energy has a Discovery Center in Michigan’s Upper Thumb. Touring a Wind Farm can be another thing to do if you’re visiting Caseville, Port Austin or Harbor Beach this summer. 


Wind Farm Tours Available from Harbor Beach 4th of July Weekend

Michigan Wind Farms

We also found that tours are going to be available from Harbor Beach’s Maritime Festival on July 6 and 7th.  DTE will offer free guided tours leaving Friday and Saturday at 10 am-Noon and 2 pm. You will tour the Sigle Wind farm in the eastern Upper Thumb. Sigel is one of three DTE Energy’s first wholly-owned and constructed wind parks and was energized on Dec. 21, 2012.

The facility is located on 15,000 acres spread over roughly 600 square miles in Huron and Sanilac Counties in Michigan. The total generation facility includes 69 wind turbines, three electrical substations, and associated electrical collection system. The parks generate 110 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, capable of powering 25,000 homes in Michigan. 


Group Tours of Michigan’s Upper Thumb Wind Farms

If you have a family, a workgroup or a bunch of friends that would like to explore and tour a wind farm, tours can be scheduled by calling Michael Sage at 989.269.5805.

Michigan Wind Farms
DTE Discovery Center Bad Axe

Hands-On Exploration of Michigan’s Renewable Energy

Michigan Wind Farms
From DTE Discovery Center

The Discovery Center is equipped with state-of-the-art multi-media capabilities and renewable energy education videos. You can make your own wind turbine and actually create your own electricity with some hands-on interactive displays. You can also view the operations control center that manages all the wind farms that DTE operates in the Thumb. The Discovery Center is located within the Huron Renewable Energy Center, a management and operation center created from a closed retail store that DTE renovated and opened in 2016.

The Discovery Center’s also offers educational videos focus on how renewable energy came to be such a major part of Michigan’s Upper Thumb and how the technology is contributing to Michigan’s economy. The Discovery Center is located at DTE’s Huron Renewable Energy Center at 1000 S Van Dyke Avenue in Bad Axe.

Related Articles on Michigan Wind Farms


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Huron Continues to Lead in Wind Incidents in 2017

Huron County industrial wind farms continue to have the most number of incidents than any other county in Michigan.

2017 data obtained from Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, a global incident collection group in the UK showed that since 1990, Huron County continues to lead Michigan in terms of wind farm accidents and incidents. The first mishap recorded in the county was in 2010.


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Blade failure was the number one incident statewide with Human Health coming in second due to lawsuits for health issues. Most of the legal health issues occurred in Mason County on Michigan’s west coast against Lake Winds Energy Park near Ludington.

In December 2016 Michigan had its second reported fire at Stoney Corners Wind Farm totally destroying a wind turbine. It was the second fire incident at the industrial wind park since 2011. Fire is the second most common wind farm incident globally.


The ThumbWind Michigan Wind Farm Accident Map has been updated with the latest reports from 2017.


Blade Failure – By far the biggest number of incidents found was due to blade failure. “Blade failure” can arise from a number of possible sources, and results in either whole blades or pieces of blade being thrown from the turbine.

Human Heath – Incidents include reports of ill-heath and effects due to turbine noise, shadow flicker, etc. Such reports are predicted to increase significantly as turbines are increasingly approved and built in unsuitable locations, close to people’s homes.

Miscellaneous – Component or mechanical failure has been reported here if there has been no consequential structural damage. Also included are lack of maintenance, electrical failure (not led to fire or electrocution) etc. Construction and construction support accidents are also included, also lightning strikes when a strike has not resulted in blade damage or fire.

Environmental – Includes oil spills and wildlife death due to turbine placement

Structural/Mechanical failure – “Structural failure” is assumed to be major component failure under conditions which components should be designed to withstand. This mainly concerns storm damage to turbines and tower collapse. However, poor quality control, lack of maintenance and component failure can also be responsible.

Transport – Most accidents involve turbine sections falling from transporters, though turbine sections have also been lost at sea. Transport is the single biggest cause of public fatalities.

Fire – Fire is the second most common accident cause in incidents found. Fire can arise from a number of sources – and some turbine types seem more prone to fire than others.

Ice Throw – These are listed here unless they have caused human injury, in which case they are included under “human injury”

Human Injury – Involved wind industry or construction/maintenance workers, and involved members of the public or workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g. fire fighters, transport workers)

Fatality – Wind industry and direct support workers (divers, construction, maintenance, engineers, etc), or small turbine owner/operators.  Public fatalities, including workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g. transport workers)


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Thumbwind’s 2011 Wind Farm Predictions for Huron County Proved True

BladeBack when Thumbwind was launched about six years ago we undertook the the the 2011-2012 Thumb Wind Survey. It was one of the most viewed articles we posted in the early days. We predicted a total of 466 turbines in the thumb by 2017.

As of March 2017 the Huron Daily Tribune reported 473 wind turbines operational in Huron County.  ThumbWind’s popular Wind Farm Map serves to track wind farms being planned or in operation throughout Michigan. We also added Wind Farm Accidents to our page.

Needless-to-say this is well beyond our expectations in 2011. The recent moratorium of new wind farms  has halted several large projects in Huron County but  projects in Tuscola and Sanilac continue to proceed. Development of new wind farms has turned to Mid-Michigan as of the projects are being proposed in Isabella County.

Thumbwind.com will be consolidating its  tracking of projects this Fall and projecting a 2018-2020 projection by January 2018.

Michigan Thumb Reject Wind Projects

IMG_0740Voters in Michigan’s Upper Thumb rejected proposals that would have allowed two wind farm projects to proceed in Huron county.

In referendum held May 2, 2017 voters defeated a proposal for a renewal energy project by DTE Energy extending just under 17,000 acres. 70 turbines would have been placed with landowners holding wind lease agreements with DTE in Lincoln, Sigel, Bloomfield and Dwight Township. (1,110 yes to 1,923 no) On the same ballot voters also defeated a proposed project by NextEra Energy Resources in Sherman and Sigel townships. (1,120 yes to 1,934 no)

Other communities voting to restrict wind development include Lincoln Township who will be forming its own planning commission and Sand Beach Township who passed a strict sound ordinance restriction that effectively prevents wind farm development in the township.

Huron County Michigan hosts the largest concentration of wind turbines in the Great Lakes region. Currently there are 443 turbines in operation with 29 more expected completed this year. The vote now prevents landowners in the 16 affected townships from working with wind farm developers on any new projects. The restriction affects Bingham, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Dwight, Fairhaven, Gore, Grant, Hume, Lincoln, McKinley, Rubicon, Sebewaing, Sheridan, Sherman, Sigel and Winsor townships. It’s unclear if new wind development projects will be planned in the other 12 townships.


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2012 – Wind Secessionists Looked to Carve Up Lake Township in Huron County Michigan

This post was published in May 2012 at the hight of new zoning in Lake Township. While the split did not occur, it denotes the deep wounds that wind development can incur on a community.

Huron County, Michigan – Twenty-one large landowners, unhappy with the outcome of a public referendum vote in February which curtailed the unbridled development of wind turbines in the shoreline community are looking at succeeding from Lake Township. This move looks to attempt to circumvent the result which was 207 to 128 opposing development. There are approximately 320 families living in Lake.

The secessionists have hired attorney William Fahey of Okemos to request Lake and Chandler Townships form an arrangement utilizing Michigan Public Act 425 to conditionally transfer their properties to Chandler Township. This would allow energy companies such as DTE to use their land for wind energy development. If allowed, Lake Township’s area would shrink by 40% by ceding the land to Chandler Township. It’s also unclear if those not wishing to leave the township will be forced to also move to comply with the provision of contiguous borders outlined in the Act. The patch work of  landowners who wish to succeed are denoted in Pink in the map below.

Secessionist are denoted in Pink.

The issue will be discussed in a special meeting this evening, May 21st, at 7:30pm at the American Legion Hall at 4995 N. Caseville Road, Caseville, MI.