Library from Minnesota
Wind power looks increasingly like a rising economic star for western Minnesota. But before the three-bladed turbines rise in their local skies, representatives from communities in Swift, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties went looking to the University of Minnesota-Morris for help. There, wind power research being conducted by the West Central Minnesota Research and Outreach Center is helping find the answers they seek on the economic and logistical challenges of tapping this energy source.
The road to the development of wind energy in Kandiyohi County is paved with giant tasks: Finding investors. Doing a wind study. Doing a study of energy transmission lines. Negotiating power contracts. Local organizers believe it’s feasible, however — and they’re taking initial steps to explore it further.
"The package is what makes it work,'' said Brian Zelenak, manager of regulatory administration for Xcel Energy, contending the approach has economic and environmental advantages. Xcel would buy 375 megawatts of power from Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2015 and buy or generate 380 megawatts of wind power by 2015. Wind power, which is not always available, would complement the Manitoba Hydro power, which would be 95 percent hydroelectric and would be available during peak hours.
Purchasing wind turbines seems to be the popular move for campuses across Minnesota. Following in Macalester’s footsteps, Carleton and St. Olaf built 1.65 Megawatt turbines on their campus properties in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Macalester installed an urban wind turbine on campus April 23, 2003. In the next few weeks, David Wheaton, Vice President for Administration and Finance, will decide whether Macalester will purchase a second wind turbine that would be located in Stevens County, in western Minnesota.
Storden — If you have driven down Highway 30 about two miles east of Storden you would have seen a lot of heavy equipment working in the fields both south and north of Highway 30. A new farmer owned wind farm is being built along the Red Rock Ridge. According to a contractor supervisor, there will be twenty 2.5 megawatt Clipper turbines.
CANBY — If it’s going to be approved, the people want it to include wind. During a public hearing Thursday on the conditional use permit for the Big Stone II transmission line project, a number of citizens expressed a desire to see at least some wind energy included as a requirement for the permit. The Big Stone II project would include a 600-megawatt coal burning plant added to an existing site near the Minnesota border in South Dakota. The proposal also includes a transmission line upgrade between Canby and Granite Falls.
A large wind farm that’s being built in Brookings County, South Dakota, and Lincoln County, Minnesota, must be operating by the end of next year so it can qualify for federal tax credits.
MILWAUKEE - Large turbines generating electricity in a radar line of sight can harm the ability of air defense radars to detect and track aircraft or other aerial objects, the U.S. Department of Defense said Thursday in a new study. The only way to make sure that U.S. forces can perform their air defense missions is to avoid putting the wind turbines in the line of sight of the radars, said the report submitted to the Senate and House Armed Services committees. Efforts have started to find other ways but they "require further development and validation" before they can be used, given that some turbines with rotating blades reach 500 feet high, the report said. "The numbers, height and rotation of these wind turbines present technical challenges to the effectiveness of radar systems that must be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure acceptable military readiness is maintained," the report said.
With all the wind in South Dakota, seeing more wind turbines on the horizon would only seem to make sense. Xcel Energy Spokesman, Kent Larson, says “As you all know South Dakota has been called the Saudi Arabia of wind with tremendous potential to provide clean, reliable energy to our customers. ” Thursday’s announcement of a new 150-Megawatt wind power project, set to share the border between South Dakota and Minnesota, is significant because that potential is slowly becoming reality. Gary Hanson, with South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, says, “This means the breaking of the ground and the pioneering on the eastern side is just going to grow exponentially.”
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration has given the go-ahead to three Minnesota wind power projects after concluding they don't interfere with military radar.
People traveling west on Tracy Road in Spring Valley just past the city limits on the first hill in the country will spot a new crop growing in the distance - wind turbines. About a dozen wind turbines are visible in spots with a clear view to areas southwest of Spring Valley in Bennington Township. They are part of a massive project in Mower County, where Florida Power & Light Energy, LLC, Juneau Branch, Fla., has leased approximately 6,240 acres, or approximately 9.75 square miles, for an alternative energy project. The wind turbines are also being placed in Lodi and Clayton townships.
Fourteen Minnesota school districts are joining forces hoping to create a revenue source and an educational experience for students by tapping the font of renewable energy. The districts have signed on to a plan that would give schools cooperative ownership of a wind farm.
Redwood Falls, Minn. Schools across Minnesota are hoping to create a revenue source and an educational experience for students by tapping the font of renewable energy.
Great River Energy has signed a purchase power agreement with Horizon Wind Energy to purchase 100 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from a wind power project under development in Mower County, Minnesota.
Separately, the commission on Wednesday gave regulatory approval for FPL Energy to build an electric substation and 532-foot stretch of new power line in Oliver County. The utility is developing a wind turbine farm near Center. When completed, the wind development will use 22 turbines to generate 50 megawatts of electricity, which is being sold to Minnesota Power of Duluth. The power line and substation are needed to transmit the energy east, Commissioner Susan Wefald said.
Minnesota trails only California, Texas and Iowa in current wind energy capacity. The state has 744 megawatts of installed power, enough to serve up to 223,000 homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The future for wind energy looks bright, but a number of factors — including manufacturing shortages, government regulations and not-in-my-backyard sentiment — are casting shadows over the industry.
AUSTIN, Minn. - The federal government has given the green light to a major wind energy project near Austin that had been held up over concerns that it might interfere with military radar systems. Construction crews began building the first of 43 wind generators near Austin this month after FPL Energy received a "determination of no hazard" letter last month from the Federal Aviation Administration.