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Minnesota wind projects face opposition

March 11, 2018

BLUE EARTH, Minn. (AP) — The future of two wind projects in south-central Minnesota is uncertain as opposition from area residents grows.

Wind Locked is a group made up of farmers who oppose having a wind turbine on their land, Minnesota Public Radio reported .

“These are large industrial parks and we just don’t want them,” said Wind Locked’s president, Carolyn Zierke.

The group has more than 80 members in Faribault County who don’t want turbines taking up productive farmland and are concerned about noise from the machines. A Freeborn County wind farm is also facing opposition.

“They’re very proud of their land,” said Zierke. “They don’t want to give the control up of the land that they’ve worked so hard to get.”

The lack of an adequate transmission line has also slowed the development of new wind farms in the south-central part of the state, said Fairbault County Commissioner Tom Warmka. If the planned 345-kilovolt Huntley-Wilmarth power line is built, development could be reinvigorated.

The power line project would help reduce congestion on the existing electricity transmission grid, supporters say.

“This Huntley to Wilmarth project is an example of a project that’s alleviating a pinch point,” said Teresa Mogensen, Xcel Energy’s senior vice president of transmission. “That will really unlock a lot of additional capacity to move wind power from where it’s being generated to where it’s being used.”

Some farmers support the wind farms because they can earn thousands of dollars annually for each wind turbine built on their land.

“It’s good economic development for the farmer that wants to have a tower on his land and maximize his income from every acre,” Warmka said.

Minnesota lawmakers originally aimed to have a quarter of the state’s electricity produced by renewable energy by 2025. Gov. Mark Dayton recently announced that the state has already met that goal.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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