Wind in the future?

Published 10:25 am Friday, August 24, 2012

Dexter wind company changes name, readies for more turbines

EnXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company with an office in Dexter, Minn., announced a name change to EDF Renewable Energy. The new brand name is a natural integration process with the EDF group, which claims to be a leading electricity company in the world.

EDF Renewable Energy specializes in wind, solar, biomass and biogas project design, development, construction, operations and maintenance. It develops, builds, owns and operates renewable energy projects in the U.S. for its own account and third party ownership. EDF has been developing the Lodi Wind Project, of which 90 percent of the needed land is in Mower County. Jinnie Hall, EDF outreach coordinator, said much of the logistics with the project are complete and lease contracts for the land have been approved. The new wind towers will produce 50 megawatts of energy to be stored on the energy grid and sold to whatever company wants to purchase the power.

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“We are about 9/10 of the way there,” Hall said of the entire project.

However permits for the wind towers still need to be obtained before construction. Hall could not offer a timeframe of when the towers will be constructed. Neither Hall nor several Mower County officials could confirm if all the towers will be in Lodi Township. Commissioner Ray Tucker said talk within the county about the Lodi project has been quiet for several years.

When construction does begin, however, there could be a positive economic impact. Hall said construction could span several months and require 50 to 75 workers. Furthermore, when all is complete, EDF Renewable Services, formerly enXco in Dexter, may need anywhere from three to five extra full-time maintenance workers.

“There are a number of significant impacts in the community,” Hall said.

Ten years ago, EDF Energies Nouvelles, the EDF subsidiary specializing in renewable energy, acquired enXco. At the time, the EDF group (Electricité de France) owned 50 percent of EDF Energies Nouvelles. EDF acquired the remaining 50 percent of EDF Energies Nouvelles in August 2011, and enXco is now fully integrated within the group under a new name, EDF Renewable Energy.

With more than 6 gigawatts of power under contract, EDF Renewable Services is the leading provider of third-party operations and maintenance services in North America. EDF Renewable Energy has more than 500 MW in operating wind projects in southwest Minnesota.