If all goes as planned, two more sections of land in this area will soon be dotted with 10 wind turbines.
Both the Cottonwood and Watonwan County Board of Commissioners recently approved conditional use permits for construction of five wind turbines in each county.
The entire project includes eight wind farms, which are separate Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), each with a different combination of investors. There a total of 10 investors involved in the entire project.
Of these eight farms, three are in Cottonwood County with two turbines each on farms one and two, and five wind farms in Watonwan County with one turbine each on farms four through eight.
Farms one through three will be located in the west half of Section 36 in Cottonwood County and farms four through eight will be in the western half of Section 30 in Watonwan County. The two sections meet at the corner, which lies on the Cottonwood and Watonwan County line in Odin Township and one mile north of the Jackson County line..
The LLCs are part of a small, community-owned project fitting into a Community-Based Energy Development local ownership structure.
The cropland on which the turbines will be built is owned by Noel Rahn of Edina, who is a partner in charge of the ownership structure Rahn Group Investment Firm.
“The entire project is going well, but takes time and money,” said Rahn, who has been working on the Odin Wind Farm for more than three years.
The project is anticipated to begin at the end of this month with completion expected by the end of 2007.
The turbines are expected to look similar to those in the Trimont Wind Farm. Each will be 80 meters high and 88 meters in rotor diameter.
“The best wind in the state is in southwestern Minnesota, which also has some of the best wind in the country,” said Rahn, who calls the wind “oil above ground.”
Auditors throughout the state have gathered together to estimate the tax revenue turbines generate. Rahn said according to these figures, each turbine should produce an average of $1,250 annually in tax revenue. The actual amount will vary depending on production. If these numbers hold true, that amounts to an annual tax revenue of $6,250 for each Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties.
Rahn is quick to add that the turbine industry will also generate many jobs and industrial opportunities in southwestern Minnesota.
“Each turbine costs about $2.5 to $3-million to build and it takes people to maintain these turbines. Many companies are opening up facilities to produce blades and parts. Wind energy is here to stay and growing larger,” said Rahn.
The Odin Wind Farm is just the first of many Rahn has planned for the future.
“I plan on setting up additional wind farms on other property I own. I foresee another one in two to three years that will be twice this size. If I could do it faster I would. With all the red tape and regulations from front to end it takes about three years,” said Rahn, noting the turbines are a tremendous opportunity for farmers.
For the local County Commissioners its thrown a new learning curve their way. The Odin Wind Farm was first approved by the Planning Commissions in both Counties and then brought before the Boards for final approval.
Cottonwood County approved the conditional use permits on Dec. 12 and Watonwan County approved its portion on Dec. 27.
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