News Story

1,400 Michigan Wind Turbines Needed To Replace The Palisades Nuclear Plant

Michigan also plans to shutter all its coal plants

The Palisades nuclear power plant in South Haven is scheduled to close in 2018. That single facility puts out around 720 megawatts of electricity. A typical wind turbine in Michigan has an average output of about half a megawatt of electricity. So it would take around 1,400 wind turbines to replace the energy produced by the Palisades plant. There are currently 883 wind turbines working in Michigan, most in the Thumb region.

Wind energy is intermittent and needs backup sources like natural gas turbines for when the wind doesn’t blow. Michigan's big utilities have announced they plan to close all their existing coal-fired power plants and replace them with gas-fired power plants and renewable sources, which includes wind. The federal government gave the wind industry $5.9 billion in subsidies in 2013, the most recent year data is available from the federal Energy Information Administration. By comparison, nuclear power received $1.6 billion in federal subsidies that year.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.