Albert Lea council approves variance for Riverland turbine

Published 7:36 am Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Albert Lea City Council on Monday approved a variance that will allow Riverland Community College to build the planned wind turbine for its alternative-energy program.

The turbine, which will be in an R-1 district, will be used in training Riverland students in alternative energy. It will be located between Albert Lea High School and the college. Wind turbines are not typically allowed in an R-1, or residential, district.

It will be part of a program that addresses the growing demand for qualified personnel to service and maintain turbines in the foreseeable future.

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For this, the college specifically will install a 40-kilowatt electric and wind turbine tower system and a 3.5-kilowatt electric solar photovoltaic system, City Manager Victoria Simonsen said.

Councilor Vern Rasmussen said though he does not usually agree with variances, he thinks it’s important for the college to do what it needs to expand its programs in Albert Lea.

Councilor Larry Baker said the turbine will be to the southeast corner of Riverland. He said there are a line of trees nearby that buffer the noise.

The variance was reviewed and approved by the Airport Advisory Committee and the Board of Appeals.