NEW ULM - A few years from now, District 88 may begin to reap some benefits from wind energy.
The school district is registered as an "interested party" in a federally funded program that would potentially provide it with a revenue source from the sale of wind energy produced at a wind farm in western Minnesota, Superintendent Harold Remme told the Board of Education last week.
The school district will be participating in a Phase II grant process facilitated by Johnson Controls.
All costs associated with the project are covered by a federal grant. The grant will pay for 10-year interest-free bonds to fund the wind farm project.
Anticipating a higher demand for wind energy, Benton County is making it easier for landowners to erect taller windmills.
The county board Tuesday changed its land-use ordinance to allow the county's planning commission to decide how tall an energy-producing wind turbine can be.
Previously, the ordinance set strict limits on how tall such structures could be - generally no higher than 100 feet in industrial areas and 60 feet in business or farm areas. Exceptions required a variance from the Board of Adjustment.
The rule change removes the limit, allowing the planning commission more flexibility when deciding appropriate height, said Chelle Benson, county development director.
The Mower County Planning Commission has endorsed the first farmer-owned wind farm cooperative in Mower County.
It may also be one of the first wind energy ventures in the state by farmers who want to invest in producing electricity by wind energy and selling it themselves.
The key words are "farmer-owned."
The first major wind turbine project in Yellow Medicine County has received approval from the county commissioners.
During the Yellow Medicine County board meeting Tuesday, the board voted to approve the proposed project that would see 20 megawatts developed in Fortier Township near Canby.
Jeff Hemish of Canby received support from the Yellow Medicine County Planning and Zoning board during the June 19 meeting which helped get the 20- megawatt project approved by the county commissioners.
The 20-megawatt project will be spread over 10 wind turbines Hemish said.
A Mower County resident is seeking to build what he calls the first farmer-owned wind farm in the region.
James Hartson, a farmer in Waltham Township, along with his wife, Jane, got support for an initial step Tuesday night from the county's Planning Commission.
The commission voted unanimously to recommend the Mower County Board approve a conditional-use permit for the Hartsons to build a meteorological tower on vacant farm land, east of Minnesota Highway 56. It will gather data for a potential wind farm.
Community Wind Development Group, based in Bingham Lake, Minn., is the petitioner for the tower. It mainly focuses on assisting communities, farmers and small businesses with renewable energy projects, according to its Web site.
The county board will hear the request July 10.
Xcel Energy is asking Minnesota regulators for permission to build and own a 100-megawatt wind farm in the Grand Meadow area.
Xcel Energy has contracted with enXco Development Corp., which develops, operates and manages wind-energy projects throughout the United States, to build the wind farm on 40 square miles of land in central Mower County, including in Grand Meadow, Clayton and Pleasant Valley townships, about 20 miles east of Austin. The city of Elkton is also within the study boundary.
The proposed Grand Meadow Wind Farm would be the first wind farm Xcel owns in Minnesota, and would consist of 67, 1.5-megawatt wind turbines.
MINNEAPOLIS - Electricity and natural gas company Xcel Energy Inc. on Monday asked state regulators for approval to build and own a 100-megawatt wind farm in southern Minnesota.
Xcel Energy has contracted with enXco Development Corp., an EDF-EN Co., to build the wind farm in Austin, Minn., which will have 67, 1.5 megawatt wind turbines on 40 square miles. The farm is expected to be operational by the end of 2008.
The company said enXco filed a separate permit application.
Construction of nine wind turbines in Goodhue County is expected to begin this summer now that a state commission has approved a final site permit for the project.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday to issue the permit to Kenyon Wind LLC for the 18.9-megawatt large wind-energy conversion system east of the city of Kenyon in Cherry Grove and Kenyon townships. The power generated will be sold to Xcel Energy.
The commission's decision at a meeting in St. Paul came after more debate on the project involving Kenyon Wind investors and a group of township residents who opposed the plan, the Citizens for Environmental Rights and Safety.
More wind turbines are expected to pop up this year in farm fields in several Mower County townships.
Construction trailers and equipment have been moved into place during the past week in preparation for the upcoming installation of 61 wind turbines in eastern Mower County, said Brenna Gunderson, project coordinator for Horizon Wind Energy.
ST. PAUL - After the dust clears on Minnesota's legislative session, 2007 will go down as the year of wind and smoke.
More homes and gadgets will eventually run on electricity cranked out by wind turbines under an ambitious green energy standard approved by legislators. And smoky bars and restaurants will become history once a statewide smoking ban takes effect.
More than 100 wind turbines could be built in northern Mower County if a power company constructing a meteorological tower there finds good conditions. Depending on the wind data, construction could begin in late 2008 or 2009, said Jeff Broberg, an official with the Rochester-based McGhie & Betts Environmental Services Inc., which is working with Renewable Energy Systems.
RES, based in Austin, Texas, and with an office in Minneapolis, got approval Tuesday from the Mower County Board for a conditional-use permit to build and operate a 190-foot tower in Sargeant Township for wind data.
More than 100 wind turbines could be built in northern Mower County if a power company constructing a meteorological tower there finds good conditions.
Depending on the wind data, construction could begin in late 2008 or 2009, said Jeff Broberg, an official with the Rochester-based McGhie & Betts Environmental Services Inc., which is working with Renewable Energy Systems.
RES, based in Austin, Texas, and with an office in Minneapolis, gained approval Tuesday from the Mower County Board for a conditional-use permit to build and operate a 190-foot tower in Sargeant Township for wind data.
The future site of an electricity substation on Rochester's far west fringe likely will become more than a junction for transmission lines.
It's windy enough for a pair of power-generating turbines. A fuel cell research project now under way with the University of Minnesota could expand there. An environmental education center heated and cooled by solar power also could be constructed there, a planning team from Rochester Public Utilities envisions. Prairie restoration could beautify the land.
RPU also could place as many as four natural gas turbines on the 50-acre site to generate power for sale to other utilities, RPU's director of power resources said.
The Minnesota landscape will look a lot different if the state's renewable energy plan becomes reality. The 25 by 25 goal as it's known would have renewable sources provide a quarter of the state's electricity by 2025. That could mean thousands of windmills with solar, biomass and even hydrogen facilities mixed in. Another feature of the state's new skyline will be many miles of new power lines. Exactly how many miles is under debate.
Among Iron Rangers, it's known as "the hill." Perched above the city of Virginia, near the Laurentian Divide, U.S. Steel's Minntac Mine churns out about 14 million tons of iron pellets a year.
Beginning in 2008, a project at the mammoth taconite plant will produce something new: electricity.
Minnesota Power officials will announce today that the company intends to build, own and operate the first commercial wind-energy facility in Northeastern Minnesota.
Two wind power projects under consideration in Swift County won support Tuesday from the Swift County Board of Commissioners.
A new group is trying to block the Kenyon Wind project, a proposed 18.9 megawatt wind farm in southeastern Minnesota.
Citizens for Environmental Rights and Safety filed a petition last week with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. President Mike Chase said members don't oppose wind energy but want more time spent on examining the proposal.
As it stands right now, Granite Falls gets 36 percent of its power from "green" sources, well within the recent legislation that was signed into law mandating 25 percent of renewable energy resources to be in place by the year 2025.
Nonetheless, the city is looking at wind generation as another possible power source.
(AP) Bismarck, N.D. A proposed new wind farm near Langdon, North Dakota, will be supplying power for Minnkota Power Cooperative and Otter Tail Power Company.
When it's finished, the Langdon project will be North Dakota's largest wind farm. It's planned to have 106 wind turbines -- generating 159 megawatts of power.
Fergus Falls, Minnesota-based Otter Tail Power will own 27 of the turbines and get 40 megawatts of electricity from the project.
The rest of the wind farm's output is being sold to Minnkota Power Cooperative of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Minnkota supplies wholesale power to eleven electric cooperatives in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.
Public Service Commission President Ken Norman said he sympathizes with environmental concerns.
"I've got grandchildren," he said. "I think long term, anything we do to clean up the environment" is good.
But he's also concerned about the implications of the measure. Wind power is one of the primary renewable power sources now available, though there are other renewables such as solar power and the burning of biomass. But the reliability of wind power - or the lack thereof - is an issue. Wind power only works when the wind is blowing, Norman said. There are no giant batteries to hold the power. It has to be used as it's produced.
When the temperatures reach 30 below zero as they do in this area, the power source has to be there, Norman said. "Up here, it's a matter of survival."
Complicating matters is the proposed Global Warming Mitigation Act in Minnesota. A provision of that bill would block the Big Stone II coal-burning plant project, State Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said. Lanning and State Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, supported the "25 by '25" initiative, but also say that plants such as Big Stone II are needed to supply the on-demand power availability that wind can't.
The Big Stone II project includes construction of transmission lines that could also be used to transmit wind power, Lanning said.
The kind of renewable sources of energy production proposed by the "25 by '25" initiative are more expensive to operate than coal-burning plants, MPSC officials say. And a great deal of infrastructure will be necessary to supply the requirements of the "25 by '25" legislation.