Detroit-based utility DTE Energy says it has opened the Huron Renewable Energy Center in Bad Axe, Mich., bringing 25 renewable energy operations and maintenance (O&M) jobs to Huron County.
According to David Harwood, director of renewable energy for DTE Energy, the site has been a landmark in Bad Axe for years. Vacant since 2013, the facility formerly housed Normans Warehouse and was the site of the M-53 Drive-In Theater, which opened in 1952.
DTE says it renovated the building to transform the space into a fully functioning renewable energy operations headquarters, now including 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.
According to DTE, the center’s proximity to the company’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 under way and expected to be complete by the end of the year.
DTE says it 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.