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City planning to erect wind turbine  

Move over ear of corn. A new landmark is about to tower over the city of Olivia.

Olivia is now in the process of identifying possible sites for a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine that will be erected to serve the community, according to Mayor Bill Miller. The city is hopeful of seeing the project launched this year.

It will involve erecting an approximately 200-foot-tall tower at the chosen site.

Miller said the city has three or four sites in mind. It will be up to an engineering firm to determine which holds the most potential wind energy.

Olivia is among 11 members of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which is spearheading the wind turbine project. The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency plans to erect 11 1.5-megawatt wind turbines, one in each of its member communities. It would make it the first municipal power agency in Minnesota to develop wind projects in each of its member cities.

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency was successful in obtaining $23 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance the projects. The bonds offer federal tax credits that allow entities developing renewable energy projects to obtain zero-interest financing.

The costs for the project are not yet known, but the financing is expected to cover a large share of the total, according to Minnesota Municipal Power Agency employee James Larson. He said the no-interest bonds help make the project possible. Early calculations indicate that the wind power should provide competitively priced electricity to benefit electric customers in the member communities, he said.

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency is looking for ways to meet the Minnesota renewable energy standard, which sets a goal of obtaining 10 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015. Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and its members currently obtain electricity from a mix of sources, including hydrogenation, natural gas and coal-fired generation plants, according to Larson.

In a news release announcing the project, Miller said the wind turbine’s electricity will be fed directly to the power distribution system in Olivia. It will replace electricity the city would otherwise import from the regional transmission grid.

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency has retained Avant Energy Services, Minneapolis, to oversee the wind turbine developments.

Larson said Avant Energy Services will engineer each of the wind turbine projects to the needs of the individual communities.

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency member cities include Anoka, Arlington, Brownton, Buffalo, Chaska, East Grand Forks, Le Sueur, North St. Paul, Olivia, Shakopee and Winthrop.

Tom Cherveny West Central Tribune
Published Wednesday, February 07, 2007


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