Library from Minnesota
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.
This document includes studies in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
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.
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.
Xcel Energy Inc., the biggest distributor of wind power in the U.S., said it plans to build a $210 million wind facility in Minnesota to meet rising demand for clean electricity.
A commercial wind farm scheduled to go online this year near Kenyon will be one of the state’s largest.
A local wind energy project is stepping up to the next level — moving from ideas and concepts into investment and financial risk. The project stems from the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission agribusiness and renewable energy committee. The so-called “wind group” is moving ahead to capitalize its project, according to Bob Meyerson, committee member from Atwater. Last fall, the group set a goal of building at least one 20-megawatt wind energy project in the county within three years. At this point, the group is being spun off into its own organization. The group is seeking investors and discussing a suitable name for itself, he said. Meyerson expects the process to move slowly, as the investment for wind turbines is significant. Because of the high demand, the wait for the equipment is long — up to two years. “The hurdles are immense,” he told the committee.
Minnesota would get a $7 billion economic development boost and surge toward energy independence if it adopted a requirement that 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, DFL legislators and wind industry promoters said Tuesday at a State Capitol news conference. DFLers have introduced similar legislation over the past six years, but newfound support for the concept from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty — plus November elections that installed big DFL majorities in the Legislature — greatly enhance its chance of becoming law. “The stars are aligned and the bill’s going to pass this year,” said Senate sponsor Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul.
ST. PAUL - Democratic leaders on Tuesday renewed their push for legislation to increase the use of renewable energy in Minnesota, saying they will be able to find common ground with a plan set forth by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The Democrats' proposal would require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity with renewable sources, such as wind or biomass, by 2020.
If all goes as planned, two more sections of land in this area will soon be dotted with 10 wind turbines. Both the Cottonwood and Watonwan County Board of Commissioners recently approved conditional use permits for construction of five wind turbines in each county. The entire project includes eight wind farms, which are separate Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), each with a different combination of investors. There a total of 10 investors involved in the entire project. Of these eight farms, three are in Cottonwood County with two turbines each on farms one and two, and five wind farms in Watonwan County with one turbine each on farms four through eight.