The commission was satisfied with the setbacks which meet and exceed the existing and new county wind energy ordinance, the noise level the turbines will produce and other features of the project. The commission did include a list of specific conditions on the CUP to ensure the setbacks would remain as proposed, the state law governing noise would be met and other issues would be addressed.
The county board approved the CUP with all of those conditions.
ROCHESTER, MN -- It's been in the works for several months and many in the area still aren't warming up to the idea of a wind farm in their back yard.
Investors say the concerns are a bunch of hot air but some people won't give up the fight until they blow out of town.
The people who want to put up these giant turbines say the whole project is win, win, good for the environment and for Kenyon.
But several people who live in the area say they feel like the whole thing is being shoved down their throat and no one is taking them seriously.
Kenyon resident Chris Mallery says, "We all brought up these concerns and we were all told that these were inflammatory and that these issues don't exist."
Lyon County's planning and zoning commission is recommending county commissioners approve the largest wind tower project planned for the county.
The commission approved a continuation of a meeting Friday afternoon recommending approval of four conditional use permits for nine wind towers on sites in Sodus Township. Missouri River Energy will receive the energy and provide it to Marshall Municipal Utilities.
Commissioners meet Tuesday. Friday's meeting was a continuation of Wednesday night's commission meeting where several wind tower issues were raised and discussed.
"We're basing this on the best information we have at the time," county zoning administrator John Biren said Friday.
After the meeting, Biren said he will not ask the county board or the planning and zoning commission to make any changes in the new wind energy ordinance, although one county resident has asked the county to change the new ordinance.
Biren said the new ordinance is good, and the state will also have new legislation in January on wind energy.
A chicken in every pot and a wind turbine in every yard?
Xcel Energy is looking to buy more energy from locally owned wind projects to pump 200 more megawatts of electricity onto its grid by the end of 2008 and save ratepayers about $10 million a year.
The state's largest power producer put out a call Friday for wind-energy proposals for its Community-Based Energy Development, or C-BED, program, which the state Legislature created in 2005 to promote locally owned alternative energy.
The deadline for submissions is April 20.
MARSHALL - Investors are waiting to build nine wind towers in Sodus Township in Lyon County, and they will have to wait until at least this afternoon for one key decision from the county.
The county's planning and zoning committee continued its Wednesday night meeting to 1:30 p.m. today to consider four conditional use permit applications from the RAHN Group to build a total of nine wind towers in the Sodus Township.
The commission's job is to make a recommendation to the Lyon County Board on whether or not to approve the CUPs. The county board meets Tuesday.
County zoning administrator John Biren said Thursday the project is a large one for the county and it's OK to take some additional time.
"This is new to the board," Biren said Thursday. "This is one of the first projects. It's a large one, I think."
The CUP applications come as the county has revamped its wind energy ordinance. The new ordinance will take effect Monday
He doesn't want to stop the wind project, but he'd like the county to take more time to make a decision that could do more harm than good.
Scott Riddlemoser lives about a mile from at least one of the wind turbines proposed as part of a nine-tower project in Lyon County, about seven miles south of Minnesota Highway 23, near Lyon County Road 2 by Russell.
"I hate to see the county be reactive and that we don't look at everything that impacts people like me," said Riddlemoser, who owns about 10 acres with his house in the county.
Lyon County's planning and zoning commission will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the county boardroom at the courthouse to discuss the conditional use permit applications for the four proposed projects.
The county's existing wind energy project regulations do not very well address his specific concerns of setbacks, noise, wind wake and easements and visual impact, Riddlemoser said.
County zoning administrator John Biren said the county ordinance does address setbacks, noise, wind wakes and other issues.
Still, input from residents such as Riddlemoser will be considered by the planning and zoning board and the county, Biren said.
Minnesota’s new mandate requiring 25 percent of the state’s electricity to be derived from renewable energy sources by 2025 likely will boost wind-power development in North Dakota.
The so-called “25 by ’25” initiative sends a signal to regional power providers that demand for wind energy will grow significantly, said Brad Crabtree, of Kulm, N.D., director of an initiative by the Great Plains Institute to reach consensus about how to reduce greenhouse gases.
“I think the implications are large for North Dakota,” he said. Minnesota, especially the growing Twin Cities metro area, is a big export market for electricity generated in North Dakota, he said.
“The political sentiments are pretty obvious in Minnesota, and we need to provide a power mix that is customer-oriented,” Crabtree said.
The state is empowering the wind-turbine industry to crank up its efforts. But creating the electricity may prove to be easier than distributing it.
The volatile, unpredictable nature of wind is another problem. A recent study showed that in the summer, when winds tend to blow slower than in the other three seasons, 86 percent of the potential electrical capacity of wind turbines will be idle.
"Wind is like having a car that's out of fuel when you need it the most," Osborn said.
Farming the wind — a catchy phrase from the early days of wind tower projects on the Buffalo Ridge — appears to be jumping back into the mainstream of Minnesota energy talk.
Recent proof was a 63-to-3 vote by the Minnesota Senate on Feb. 7 in favor of S.F. 4, known as the Renewable Energy Standard. The bill says most Minnesota utilities will be required to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025.
That move would be even greater — and quicker — for the state’s largest electricity provider, Excel Energy Inc., which would be under orders to draw 30 percent from those sources by 2020.
While President Bush has suggested using more renewable energy and Minnesota lawmakers seek to press utility companies toward that goal by 2020, a task force of metro counties is wrestling with whether members can meet that challenge on their own.
Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties are among 22 counties weighing a plan to harness one of the cleanest forms of alternative energy and draw power from the wind.
Fed up with federal inaction and convinced of the dangers from global warming, five governors from Western states agreed Monday to work together to reduce greenhouse gases.
Their promise to target global warming was the latest of a rush of new ideas shared this week as states push ahead on climate change and clean or alternative energy.
A wind turbine near Dodge Center lost one of its blades Friday night when lightning struck it and started a fire.
A wind turbine near Dodge Center lost one of its blades Friday night when lightning struck it and started a fire.
The Rochester Fire Deparment was called to the fire because it had the closest long-ladder truck. Its 100-foot ladder was used to help extinguish the fire at 11:15 p.m.
One rotor blade was lost, but fire officials were uncertain if the fire reached the generator portion of the device, which could compound the loss.
MARSHALL — It’s a project designed to help carry wind power, but could also have some payoff for utilities customers in Marshall.
A proposed Xcel Energy transmission line project still in its early stages was the subject of a public information meeting in Marshall on Thursday night.
Representatives from Xcel Energy, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Marshall Municipal Utilities introduced the three 115-kilovolt transmission line project that would travel through southwestern Minnesota.
James Alders, manager of regulatory projects for Xcel Energy, said the project would have a significant benefit to wind generation in the Buffalo Ridge area and would help carry the energy load in the Marshall area.
Once the pats on the back subsided Thursday, the people involved in crafting a law pushing Minnesota to the nation’s renewable-energy forefront took stock of the task ahead.
By the time today’s newborns reach adulthood, utilities must generate a quarter of the state’s electricity from sources like the wind, sun, running water and burned manure. Only about 5 percent of Minnesota’s present power would meet the standard.
If the entire burden fell to wind, for instance, it would mean 3,000 additional turbines jutting out of the Minnesota prairie.
Community-based energy development projects are expected to add an additional 880 megawatts of wind power capacity in Minnesota during 2008, according to a recent study.
Minnesota has the fourth-largest installed wind power generation capacity in the United States, but it was the first to pass C-BED legislation in 2005. The text of the law established a framework for qualifying owners, namely residents or companies comprised of residents, to develop wind generation projects and negotiate Power Purchase Agreements with all Minnesota electric utilities.
The law also set a price for electricity that is based on the net present value of energy over a 20-year PPA. Proponents say NPV pricing stabilizes the cost more so than a production incentive.
Utilities would turn increasingly to wind, water and other renewable-energy sources for their electricity under a pace-setting bill that cleared the Minnesota House tonight.
After almost three hours of debate, the House voted 123-10 to join the Senate in requiring utilities to meet ambitious new requirements. The bill now goes to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is expected to sign it. Earlier this month, the Senate voted 63-3 to adopt it.
“It will be the strongest, most aggressive renewable-energy standard in the country,'’ said Rep. Aaron Peterson, DFL-Appleton, the bill’s chief sponsor.
KENYON — Hours after a state commission approved a draft site permit Thursday for a proposed wind farm in Goodhue County, local residents gathered here to question officials about it.
More than 125 people attended an informational meeting at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School about the 18.9-megawatt wind project planned by Kenyon Wind LLC. It seeks to build nine wind turbines east of the city of Kenyon in Cherry Grove and Kenyon townships to generate power that would be sold to Xcel Energy.
Earlier in the day, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued a draft site permit for the project, a preliminary step in the state’s approval process. The utilities commission has a deadline of June 15 to decide whether to issue a final site permit for the project.
John H. Daniels Jr., a Minneapolis attorney and chief manager for Kenyon Wind, told the audience at the high school that the benefits of the project included clean and renewable energy, increased tax revenue and jobs related to construction and maintenance of the project.
“We’re serious about wind energy,” Daniels said. “We care about this community, and we want to do this right.”
The Minnesota state Senate passed a new renewable energy standard Friday under which the utilities would be required to generate 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.
Initially, consumers may pay a slightly increased rate for their power, but the bill includes measures to protect consumers if costs get too high, The Fergus Falls Daily reported. In the long run, Sen. Dan Skogen believes the hike will power research into affordable alternatives.
“Utility rates will pick up because the cost of renewables is more expensive right now, so energy bills will go up,” he said. “But maybe that will be an incentive to do further research on renewables to improve the costs.”
This legislation has been in the pipeline for a while and since before that Minnesota Power was already requiring a minimum percentage of renewable generation, said representative for Minnesota Power at the 2007 Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit in San Diego.
Minnesota has historically been a major player in wind; it has one of the top five capacity potentials in the United States along the same lines of Texas and Washington. The first phase of Fenton, a major wind farm near Pipestone, was recently completed and the second phase is now under way and is expected to be operational by 2008.
Minnesota’s plan to pump more hydrogen, solar and wind electricity through its powerlines got overwhelming backing from the state Senate, where advocates touted it as the most aggressive renewable energy standard in the country.
Most utilities would have to generate a quarter of their power from renewable sources by 2025. The state’s largest electricity provider — Xcel Energy Inc. — would be under orders to draw 30 percent from those sources by 2020.