DTE Energy today celebrated the grand opening of the new Huron Renewable Energy Center in Bad Axe, bringing 25 renewable energy operations and maintenance jobs to Huron County. The facility, vacant since 2013, has a long-standing history in Huron County as the former Normans Warehouse and the site of the M-53 Drive-In Theater, which opened in 1952. DTE’s renovations of the building transformed the space into a fully-functioning renewable energy operations headquarters.
“We are excited to breathe new life into a building located on a site that has been a landmark in Bad Axe for years, and to provide yet another example of how renewable energy provides economic benefits to the local community,” said David Harwood, director of Renewable Energy for DTE Energy.
The newly-renovated Huron Renewable Energy Center includes new offices, garage facilities, warehousing and a maintenance shop area. The facility also has an unfinished 3,000 square-foot space that DTE plans to develop into a community space to serve as an area for renewable energy education and hosting wind park tours, meetings and other community activities. Plans are expected to be finalized this year, with completion of the space in 2017.
The center’s proximity to DTE’s wind parks and solar arrays in the Thumb region enables the operations team to respond more quickly to maintenance needs. The new location also increases accessibility of the operations team to the community and landowners, especially during the construction of the Pinnebog Wind Project, an expansion of DTE’s Echo Wind Park, which is underway and expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“DTE has served Huron County residents as its energy provider since 1936 and as a renewable energy developer in the county since 2011. The opening of the Huron Renewable Energy Center deepens our commitment of service to this region as both an energy provider and corporate citizen for many years to come,” said Harwood.
DTE is Michigan’s largest investor in clean energy, including wind and solar, having driven investments of more than $2 billionsince 2008. DTE currently owns and operates four wind parks and three solar arrays in Huron County, and owns two wind parks and 23 solar arrays in other areas of the state.
Today, DTE’s entire renewable energy portfolio is capable of providing enough clean energy to power more than 400,000 homes. The portfolio includes facilities owned and operated by DTE, along with contracts to purchase power from third-party developers in Michigan. All of the power generated by these facilities is fed into the energy grid and distributed to those who need it.