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Michigan’s foray into wind energy is faltering as orders for turbines lag

Data released Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association show that Michigan’s efforts to diversify into wind energy face some significant headwinds

Orders for new wind turbines have slowed dramatically and the state lagged far behind others last year in the installation of wind turbines, the association’s report shows. And any hope that production of wind turbines and parts will pick up this year largely depends on what happens in Washington.

“The manufacturers are not at all that optimistic,” said Kathy Belyeu, AWEA’s manager of industry information services. “There’s a possibility 2010 could be a good year, but it could also be a slow year.”

Though installation of wind-generating capacity hit a record in 2009, Michigan only added 14 megawatts of capacity last year, ranking 26th out of 28 states.

Michigan has only 143 megawatts of total wind-generating capacity, compared with 1,809 megawatts in Minnesota.

This year, the state is supposed to gain 20.2 megawatts of capacity.

Nationwide, the number of jobs associated with wind power remained flat last year, at 85,000. In 2009, 38 new wind-power manufacturing facilities came online, were announced or were expanded, one-third fewer than in 2008.