News Story

Granholm Wind Scheme Lauded At First, But Then Fell Into Obscurity When It Failed

In 2008, then Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced the state of Michigan would give taxpayer money to a Nevada-based company’s scheme to build a $2.2 million wind power project in Manistee County. This was one of many renewable energy ventures that received taxpayer dollars during Granholm’s two terms as governor.

The Nevada firm, Mariah Power, brought on a Michigan company, Mas-Tech Wind, to build “residential windmills.” These turbines are much smaller than the 380-foot tall industrial wind turbines that have since sprung up in many rural Michigan townships. They were designed for residences and at the time cost $18,000 to install.

The developers stated the project would create 141 jobs, according to a press release issued by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s corporate subsidy arm. The MEDC gave them a $400,000 grant in 2008.

In July 2009, state media outlets picked up a story that Mariah Power had donated a wind turbine to be installed on the grounds of the semi-official governor’s residence in Lansing. Other stories promoting the project were done in 2008 and 2009. “Learning to soar with the wind” was the headline of one such story, published Dec. 13, 2009 by the Detroit Free Press.

In November 2010, the Detroit Free Press reported that MasTech employed 15 people, down from 35 in 2008, when the project began, and nowhere near the 141 jobs that had been promised.

After the minor flurry of publicity that followed the first two years of the project, there has been a media blackout.

The project was promised by Granholm to help “end our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.” However, finding out how the project fared after the first two years is not easy.

The Ludington Daily News reported in April 2010 that Mariah Power had changed its name to Windspire Energy. And there’s very little media coverage after that report.

Windspire Energy filed for bankruptcy in Nevada in 2012 and then two years later was involved in a lawsuit in Nevada.

Royall Products, located in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, stated in a phone call with Michigan Capitol Confidential that it bought Windspire Energy and now sells turbines under that brand.

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.