Chaska-based, Outland Renewable Energy LLC (Outland) announced today it plans to build a community-owned wind-generated power line focused on moving wind energy from the wind-belt of southwest Minnesota to the Twin Cities area.
Outland is a non-utility, private company and will finance the Minnesota Independence Line itself.
The company said the line will significantly increase the wind energy resources available to meet the increasing demand for clean, renewable energy and will help Minnesota meet its Renewable Energy Standard, which states 25 percent of the state’s electricity will come from renewable energy sources by 2025.
“Outland is proud of its mission to harness the power of wind, creating a clean, safe and secure energy future for our communities,” said Ingrid Bjorklund, vice president of government affairs and associate general counsel for Outland Renewable Energy. “We are tackling the transmission bottleneck with an innovative solution to get the state’s abundant wind energy to market sooner.”
The Minnesota Independence Line will be a high-voltage transmission line approximately 150 miles in length, running from the Buffalo Ridge area to the Twin Cities area.
The wind line will have the potential to move up to 3,000 megawatts of wind out of the wind-rich Buffalo Ridge region, said the company.
Outland hopes to have the line operational in 2012. The company says that this will help the state meet the first milestone in the Renewable Energy Standard, which is 12 percent by 2012.
Outland said its transmission line is also community focused. Outland envisions that landowners along the transmission route will embrace and participate in community ownership. That, it said, will enable those communities in Minnesota that do not have the same abundant wind resource that exists in southwestern Minnesota to share the economic benefits of the state’s wind energy resources.
“This is a community endeavor where we will actively reach out to our communities to discuss every step of the project,” Bjorklund said. “Outland has the expertise and financial strength to deliver the potential of wind energy to Minnesota and revitalize our rural communities.”
The transmission grid in southwest Minnesota is at its maximum capacity and cannot support the significant increase in new wind energy that will be needed to meet Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standard, said the company. It added that the transmission congestion in that area is causing a backlog of projects, which is inhibiting wind farms from fully developing.
By Pat Minelli
21 December 2007
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