More wind power for Mower County MN

Source: By Rochester Post Bulletin • Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

HAYFIELD — After seven years of planning and construction, planners of the Pleasant Valley Wind Farm expect it to be completed later this month.

The 200-megawatt wind farm project based in Hayfield will consist of 100 wind turbines — 88 in Mower County and 12 in Dodge County — and is expected to provide an estimated $950,000 in annual local tax revenue, split pro-rata between the two counties and townships.

The new Vestas V100-2.0 megawatt turbines being installed generate approximately 13 percent more energy than earlier models at medium wind speeds, according to Renewable Energy Systems, the project developer.

“RES worked very closely with the community for more than seven years to successfully develop this project,” a company spokesperson said. “We are pleased to share that more than 172 landowners are participating in the project and that emphasizes the scale of commitment.”

Construction began in July 2014 and wind turbine generators were erected this past May.

Wind turbine blades capture energy from the wind and as the blades rotate, they trigger an internal shaft to spin. The shaft is connected a generator, which creates electricity, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The Mower County board voted in March 2014 to approve conditional use permits for the project’s transmission line and substation.

“The residents who have towers on their land receive annual income from the wind company so they benefit financially,” said Mower County Commissioner Polly Glynn.

Most wind turbines have a steel tubular tower — about 325 feet tall — which supports a hub that holds together the blades and housing for the turbine’s shaft, gearbox, generator and controls. The wind turbine also has wind assessment equipment that will automatically rotate with wind and angle, or “pitch” its blades for the best energy capture.

More than 15 percent of the state’s electricity was produced by wind in 2014 — equivalent to powering about 831,000 homes — with at least 24 active manufacturing facilities in Minnesota, according to American Wind Energy’s most recent statistics. Wind power investments also supported between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs in 2014, along with a total capital investment of $5.7 billion and annual land lease payments of $9.1 million.

The state of Minnesota ranked No. 7 in the country for electricity generated by wind in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“It is expected that the cost of energy generated by the Pleasant Valley Wind project will be competitive with or below wholesale power prices in the region,” the Renewable Energy System’s spokesperson said.