Library from Minnesota
Catastrophic equipment failure at the wind energy facility near Lake Wilson, MN in September and November 2006.
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.
The trend is upward elsewhere, too. Utilities in 36 states offer some form of green pricing, and last year 430,000 households bought green power - up 20 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Energy Department reported.
A mix of federal and tax incentives, not to mention high fuel prices, are drawing local investors into the wind market. The federal government, for instance, offers a 1.9 cents-per-killowatt hour tax credit; in Minnesota, the state offers another1.5 cent credit. Small investors in Minnesota can negotiate with utility companies for further production credits. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, one or two turbines can generate profits of $100,000 per year, once the capital expenditures are paid off.
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers from Minnesota and Wisconsin are urging the federal government to quickly resolve delays on wind energy projects caused by a Department of Defense study of whether wind turbines interfere with military radar.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An upgrade of the state's power grid would include a $600 million high-voltage transmission line from the South Dakota border to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area - and that's just part of the plan proposed by a coalition of utility companies. The plan also calls for a second high-voltage line from Fargo, N.D., to the St. Cloud area, a third line from the Minneapolis-area to Rochester and then to La Crosse, Wis., and a smaller fourth line in the Bemidji area.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has signed into law H.F. 3718, the nation’s first law promoting plug-in hybrid, flexible-fueled vehicles. The legislation – inspired by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's report A Better Way that proposed an electricity-alcohol transportation energy strategy, and several articles by ILSR staff published in the Star Tribune in late 2005 – sailed through both houses by a unanimous vote.
The typical Xcel Energy customer paid an extra 20 cents a month to the utility company for wind power the company paid for but couldn't transmit from wind farms from February 2004 to May 2005, the state Commerce Department said.
Voegeli eventually drifted back to an acronym-littered update. “We need a CUP for the PUC,” he said, meaning that the turbine needs a conditional use permit before the Public Utilities Commission, which oversees Xcel Energy, will vote on approving any agreement.