Letter to the Editor: With renewable energy, Minnesota’s future is bright

Published 6:09 pm Friday, March 4, 2022

As we celebrate National Minnesota Day this month, it is important to recognize the progress the Land of 10,000 Lakes has made in delivering clean power and renewable energy benefits to residents across the state. According to the American Clean Power Association, Minnesota ranks eighth in the nation for energy capacity in wind, solar, and storage. As the Operations Manager at EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA)’s Prairie Star Wind Farm, I see firsthand the benefits it provides the community and Minnesota families. As the renewable energy industry continues to grow, the economic opportunities for Minnesotans follow suit.

Over the past two years, the pandemic’s impacts have been felt by residents across the state. However, renewable energy projects have offered a helping hand with job creation and economic investment during these tough times. The Prairie Star Wind Farm alone has created 44 permanent jobs, which is more than just a number—these jobs help provide a stable paycheck and put food on the table for Minnesota families, including my own.

Likewise, Prairie Star represents a capital investment of approximately $221 million and has disbursed more than $3.3 million to local governments. These payments fund community projects, roads, bridges, schools, and other public services. Renewable energy projects also offer an economic safety net through a source of income to landowners who house turbines or other infrastructure on their land. Through harvesting the wind like any other crop, Mower County landowners and farmers have received more than $9.1 million in land lease payments from the Prairie Star Wind Farm. Agriculture is the heart of Minnesota, and our farmers are critical for the entire economy. However, during a poor harvest season, the payments from the wind farm can add a guaranteed source of stability.

I have witnessed the economic opportunities that renewable energy presents: the benefits of job creation, local investment, and landowner and government payments, to name a few. I am proud to be a Minnesotan, and it is my hope that our state continues to pave the way for a bright future in renewable energy.

Craig Wiste

Pioneer Prairie/Prairie Star Wind Farms

LeRoy, MN