Winds of change could be blowing into Douglas County in the near future.
The possibility of a wind farm could tower on the horizon if there’s enough interest ““ and a strong enough wind.
Bob Mostad of Osakis has watched wind farms develop across the country for nearly 15 years and believes the clean, renewable energy source could be feasible here.
“Wind power is absolutely non-polluting,” Mostad said during an interview last week. “It’s just using something that we might say is going to waste.”
Bev Bales, a Carlos resident and a county commissioner also interested in the project, agreed. “We need alternative energy sources,” she said “Wind is clean, and the towers need no infrastructure. It’s the future.”
Together, the two have organized an informational meeting about the possible wind farm for 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, at Douglas County Public Works.
If enough interest is generated, a wind study would be conducted to determine the available wind speed and how high the turbines would need to built. Mostad estimated the study ““ and construction of the turbines ““ would take about three years if a wind farm is found feasible.
Building a wind farm isn’t cheap. Each turbine costs roughly $2.6 million, and the most efficient farm has 10 of them.
“That’s a little more than pocket change,” Mostad said.
However, they would be paid for by a group of investors, such as electric companies from across the country.
Such is the case in Grant County, which is paving the way for wind farms in west central Minnesota. Construction on a 10-turbine farm is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed by December 1. It’s being funded by a group of 20 investors, including Con Edison, an East Coast power company.
That county’s wind study determined there was an average wind speed of 17.6 miles per hour at an elevation of 279 feet. Mostad and Bales hope Douglas County’s wind speed is similar.
“The western part of the state is second only to the southwest [Buffalo Ridge] for wind,” Mostad said.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you’re interested in learning more about the possibility of a wind farm in Douglas County, attend the informational meeting scheduled for next week.
It will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 22 at the Public Works building in Alexandria, 509 3rd Avenue W.
Dr. Ed Persons, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota and development manager for Grant County Wind, will be at the meeting to answer questions.
Runestone Electric Association will also provide background and general information about wind energy.
For more information, call Bob Mostad at (320) 352-3272 or Bev Bales at (320) 852-7335.
By Erin Klegstad
Alexandria Echo Press
16 February 2007