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DTE Energy Company (DTE - Analyst Report) announced that the construction of Thumb Wind Park in Huron and Sanilac counties has been completed. Moreover, the wind park with an electric generation capacity of 110 megawatt (“MW”) has come online and has started providing commercial operations.
The Thumb Wind Park project consists of 69 1.6-megawatt General Electric Company (GE - Analyst Report) wind turbines and is operated at Bloomfield, McKinley and Sigel townships in Huron County, and Minden and Delaware townships in Sanilac County. The wind project generates renewable energy that can power 25,000 homes in Michigan.
Being a wind project, the project is eco-friendly and also supports the state and the local economy. Located on 15,000 acres of land, the project contributes to the area's economic development through property tax payments. Moreover, it supports the local economy by annual royalty payments to participating landowners. During its construction period, the project employed 100 workers and post completion it employed 10 full-time workers to operate and maintain the facility.
The completion of this project will bring DTE Energy’s wind investment to more than 700 megawatts of company-owned or contracted projects. By 2015, the company expects to add approximately 1,000 MW of renewable energy with its various wind projects and solarcurrents program.
Another project that would add 110 MW to the company's renewable energy portfolio is the Echo Wind Park in Huron County. The project, operated on a 16,000 acres area, would incorporate 70 wind turbines of General Electric. The Echo Wind Park will be constructed primarily in Chandler, Oliver, and McKinley townships in Huron County by Barton Malow Company. This project is expected to come online by December 31, 2013.
Apart from wind, solar energy would also bring renewable energy to DTE’s portfolio. Currently, the company is running a solar energy pilot program that has a capacity of 22 MW. DTE Energy’s SolarCurrents Program makes solar energy more affordable for customers and helps in meeting the state's renewable energy goals.
The second phase of the SolarCurrents program will offer an additional 2 megawatts of capacity over the next two years. The first phase of the SolarCurrents program has approximately 600 solar energy projects with 5 MW of capacity. The company is looking forward to begin the next phase.
Apart from helping the company in achieving its renewable energy goals, sales of electricity would undoubtedly boosts the company’s top and bottom line.
Another utility company, NRG Energy Inc. (NRG - Analyst Report) is also moving toward its renewable energy goals. Recently, NRG Energy announced that its Avra Valley Generating Station, located about 20 miles west of Tucson, Arizona has come online. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, NRG Energy will supply the solar power generated from this facility to Tucson Electric Power (“TEP”), a subsidiary of UNS Energy Corporation (UNS - Snapshot Report).
Detroit, Michigan-based DTE Energy is a holding company with subsidiaries engaged in regulated and unregulated energy businesses. Detroit Edison Company and Michigan Consolidated Gas Company are its largest regulated subsidiaries.
Going forward, key growth driver for the company include its stable and growing utilities and its complementary non-utility businesses. The growth momentum will be maintained by beneficial regulatory policies in Michigan, higher authorized rates for its regulated business, growth opportunities in its un-regulated businesses and an industry-high dividend yield. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) that corresponds with our long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock.