Federal Grant for Ishpeming Wind Turbine

Planning work for a wind turbine at Pioneer Bluff Apartments in Ishpeming began in 2005.

City residents have been waiting since then, through lawsuits and financial problems, and then a new company taking over the project.

But now that new company has the funding it needs to wrap things up and get the turbine prototype into production.

The U.S. Department of Energy has just given Clean Green Energy, LLC a grant of more than $750,000 to finish the turbine.

Clean Green Energy president and CEO Bryan Zaplitny says he wants to thank the Ishpeming Housing Commission because the group has taken it on the chin repeatedly as the project has endured long delays.

Zaplitny says when his company took over the project early last year, it promised the people of Ishpeming it would see the turbine through to completion.

Housing Commission executive director Evelyn Valente-Heikkila was Ishpeming’s mayor in 2005 when the groundwork for the project began.

She’s thrilled it’s almost done, saying that with something like this — a first-of-its-kind prototype design — it simply can’t be expected to work if it’s rushed.

Zaplitny agrees, saying that CGE has needed to run extensive tests to make sure the turbine will work — and that now they’re sure it’ll work.

The turbine design is unique because it doesn’t have a minimum wind velocity in order to work.

It can capture any speed of wind from any direction and convert it into electricity.

In exchange for the senior apartment complex buying and using the turbine’s power, CGE was willing to build it at a huge discount.

Valente-Heikkila says it won’t cost the city or the Housing Commission a dime — CGE is covering the entire cost through its own cash and through grants like this one.

She says that’s an important point, saying she’s heard from many people in the city who don’t believe that’s the case.

Zaplitny says CGE intends to get the turbine running permanently by the end of the year and then get the design into more widespread production sometime next summer.