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County EDA receives towers to assess wind

Within the next week, the Winona County Economic Development Authority (EDA) could be the proud recipient of two meteorological towers on loan from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, according to EDA member Anne Morse. A meteorological tower, or “met tower,” is typically a structure between forty and fifty meters tall that provides a setting for an anemometer, a device that gauges wind.

The EDA, which was formed earlier this year, has been the motivating force behind the Community Winds of Winona County project, which entails the construction of a 2 megawatt wind turbine. The turbine, projected to cost $3 million, will be publicly owned and supported by entities such as the County Board, the Economic Development Authority, Winona State University, St. Mary’s University and Minnesota State College Southeast Technical.

According to EDA Coordinator Linda Grover, the loan of the met towers is a “major accomplishment” for the group. The EDA can keep the towers as long as they are needed and at no cost, she added.

The EDA plans to erect one of the loaned met towers in Mount Vernon Township, in the vicinity of the two potential sites for the community-owned turbine. However, an easement for the tower has to be secured first, Grover said, and the agreement has not yet been finalized. The second met tower will be placed within the county to measure wind potential at an additional site, but the specific location has not yet been decided.

While the placement of a met tower was not in the initial plans for the turbine project, it will provide “permanent data for... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The EDA, which was formed earlier this year, has been the motivating force behind the Community Winds of Winona County project, which entails the construction of a 2 megawatt wind turbine. The turbine, projected to cost $3 million, will be publicly owned and supported by entities such as the County Board, the Economic Development Authority, Winona State University, St. Mary’s University and Minnesota State College Southeast Technical.

According to EDA Coordinator Linda Grover, the loan of the met towers is a “major accomplishment” for the group. The EDA can keep the towers as long as they are needed and at no cost, she added.

The EDA plans to erect one of the loaned met towers in Mount Vernon Township, in the vicinity of the two potential sites for the community-owned turbine. However, an easement for the tower has to be secured first, Grover said, and the agreement has not yet been finalized. The second met tower will be placed within the county to measure wind potential at an additional site, but the specific location has not yet been decided.

While the placement of a met tower was not in the initial plans for the turbine project, it will provide “permanent data for comparison and analysis,” Grover explained. Having concrete data from the turbine site will increase the comfort level of project investors, including the County Board, she said.

In August, the County Board unanimously approved the exploration of a wind turbine project. The board later approved just under $50,000 to fund the development studies for the turbine and the grant application. In November, the turbine project was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, but the EDA has not yet accepted the grant. Grover, along with County Finance Director Blake Pickart, is currently analyzing four different models and two different financial scenarios to determine the most cost-effective plan.


Source: http://www.winonapost.com/s...

DEC 12 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/677-county-eda-receives-towers-to-assess-wind
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