12-turbine wind farm coming summer 2011

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Construction will likely begin next summer for 12 wind turbines north of Austin.

City Council members voted Monday to approve a wind energy contract between Austin Utilities and PNE Wind USA, Inc. The contract will allow Austin Utilities to help PNE Wind flow energy from the wind farm into the “electrical grid,” according to Austin Utilities General Manager Mark Nibaur.

Although plans for a wind farm are not official, PNE Wind officials are hoping to construct a small farm 14 miles north of Austin’s city limits. Andre de Rosa, director of power marketing at PNE Wind, said the farm would consist of about 12 turbines and could offer a positive economic impact on the town. De Rosa said the state, county and city could see a return of more than $3 million in tax revenue from such a wind farm.

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The project could benefit Austin Utilities financially, too. De Rosa said there are two utility companies looking to buy the power, and PNE Wind will pay Austin Utilities on an annual basis for their involvement in the farm.

At Monday’s meeting, de Rosa specified that Austin Utilities would receive more revenue if more turbines are constructed in the future.

“The state of Minnesota has a specific tax amount it levies on wind farms,” de Rosa previously said. “That is money that is going to go into coffers of the state and the county. Everyone will get a little taste of that money.”