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Mower County gets $420,000 from wind energy company for road damage

Mower County will get $420,000 from a wind-energy company for road damage during the construction last year of 43 turbines north of Taopi.

County Coordinator Craig Oscarson told the county board on Tuesday that FPL Energy had agreed to the amount during talks with county leaders. The payment will cover damage done to county-owned and county-state-aid roadways, specifically Mower County Road 8, he said.

It’s a typical agreement for wind-farm projects, Oscarson said.

The FPL wind farm began operating in December 2006 and is in eastern Mower County in Bennington, Clayton and Lodi townships. Horizon Wind developed and sold the wind farm earlier that year to the Florida-based FPL.

Horizon Wind is developing the 61-turbine Prairie Star project just north of the FPL wind farm.

Prairie Star roughly will double the number of wind turbines in Mower County. There now are about 60 in operation on two wind farms owned by McNeilus and FPL Energy.

Construction on the Prairie Star farm began a few months ago, with the hope to complete the project by late this year. The 100-megawatt project involves land in Bennington, Clayton, Grand Meadow and Marshall townships.

Four other potential wind farm projects are on the horizon for the county, with three of them winning the county board’s approval to install meteorological towers to monitor wind levels.

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin

10 August 2007