Wind farm proposed for northern Mower County

Published 7:07 am Friday, February 19, 2010

A public meeting is being held Monday at the Windmill Hotel & Conference Center in Dexter about a proposed wind project in northern Mower County.

Pleasant Valley Wind, a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc., is proposing a 300 megawatt wind farm of 130-200 turbines.

Two public meetings will be held: at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday. People can attend the meeting to learn about the permitting process or comment about the potential wind farm. Representatives with RES Americas will be available to answer questions. Open houses about the project will be held a half hour prior to each meeting, at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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The project area is located north of Interstate 90 into Dodge County west of Hayfield, and east Highway 56. The site will be about 70,000 acres, and about 52,000 acres are currently under the RES Americas control through easements. The site includes Hayfield and Vernon townships in Dodge County and Waltham, Sargeant, Pleasant Valley, Red Rock and Dexter townships in Mower County.

RES Americas plans to begin commercial operation by 2012.

Before the wind project can move forward, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission must approve a site permit and a certificate of need.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners will approve the transmission line permit.

Before the project can move forward, the county would need to discontinue a microwave beam path near Waltham, according to Mower County Coordinator Craig Oscarson.

There’s currently a county ordinance that a wind turbine can’t be erected where it will impair the microwave beam path for the Mower County Sheriff’s Department’s radio system.