Wind power boosts Badger season

The growing wind power business is giving other areas a financial boost.

The S.S. Badger season is being extended due to the number of wind tower shipments. The Lake Michigan car ferry reached an agreement recently with GE to continue the sailing season until Nov. 20. The extra trips across Lake Michigan from Ludington will mean an additional 60 tower sections can be shipped. The S.S. Badger has transported more than 300 oversized wind tower loads so far this year.

Crews shipping the wind towers usually need to spend a day or more in the port cities of Ludington and Manitowoc, WI, due to the permit process. The time at the port cities means an added boost to local businesses.

"The extension of the Badger's sailing season shows the important role that the Badger plays as the short cut across Lake Michigan. The movement of wind towers between Wisconsin and Michigan is a great example of how important the Badger is to our industrial economy as well as our tourism industry," said Ludington Mayor John Henderson.

To encourage passenger travel during the extended season, a 40-percent discount on fares is being offered until Nov. 2.

Many of the tower shipments are 150 feet long and weigh more than 150,000 pounds. You can see the massive wind towers on the move on the Badger's YouTube channel.