Library from Minnesota

A towering impact

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.
14 Mar 2007

Minn. goals may aid N.D. wind energy

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.
5 Mar 2007

Green dreams of wind energy face a fickle future

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.
4 Mar 2007

Benefits of renewable energy standard doubtful

Recently, Gov. Pawlenty signed a renewable energy standard in Minnesota. While proponents claim this standard will protect Minnesota’s environment and resources and help reduce global warming is only rhetoric and not fact. This initiative will cost you the taxpayer millions and produce no positive impact in Minnesota.
2 Mar 2007

Wind energy shifting to community, farm projects

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.
2 Mar 2007

Twin Cities / Counties exploring wind power

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.
1 Mar 2007

Western states tackle warming

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.
27 Feb 2007

Lightning hits wind turbine, starts 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.
26 Feb 2007

Transmission-line project would benefit wind power, officials say

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.
24 Feb 2007

Task is to move green energy from drawing board to power grid

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.
23 Feb 2007

Community-based energy development to add 880 MW of wind

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.
21 Feb 2007

Minnesota House approves renewable-energy bill

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.
19 Feb 2007

Wind project neighbors voice concerns

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.”
16 Feb 2007

Minnesota sets ambitious RPS

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.
10 Feb 2007

Green utility bill closer to law

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.
8 Feb 2007

Minnesota Senate panel passes ‘25 by 2025′ renewable energy bill

Utility companies would be required to get at least 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025, under a bill approved unanimously by a Minnesota Senate committee on Thursday. Renewable sources include windmills, solar power, plant materials and hydroelectric power. Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility, would be required to hit an even higher standard of 30 percent by 2020. Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, the chief author of the bill, said she was amazed that every member of the energy and utilities committee supported the bill, which now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
2 Feb 2007
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