WORTHINGTON – Seven 196-foot meteorological towers will be erected early this spring in southern Nobles County to measure the wind.
The temporary towers will be constructed by Tower Associates LLC, a Juno Beach, Fla., company, to determine if the sites are suitable for future wind development.
Steve Stengel, spokesman for FPL Energy, which is conducting the project, said the meteorological towers will collect wind speed data for 18 months to two years before a decision is made regarding possible construction of wind turbines on the sites.
“What you’re seeing in (Nobles) County is the early stages of investigation,” Stengel said. “It certainly is not a signal that a wind project is imminent. It is really more of a recognition that we think there is potential for future development in the state of Minnesota, and that we are taking the steps to investigate that by the installation of some meteorological towers.”
Meteorological tower construction has been approved for locations in Grand Prairie, Westside, Indian Lake, Bigelow, Ransom, Little Rock and Worthington townships.
“There are a number of things that a wind project needs to be successful,” Stengel said. “One of the obvious ones is wind. If you don’t get it right from the beginning, that’s one of the things you can’t really fix. If you put up a wind farm and realize the wind isn’t as strong as you thought it would be, you can’t fix Mother Nature.”
Stengel said the data that will be collected from the meteorological towers will be sent via cellular data uplink to FPL Energy offices in Florida, where it will be analyzed using a variety of statistical techniques.
FPL Energy is the largest owner and operator of wind turbines in the U.S., and the second largest in the world, Stengel said. The company also owns power generation facilities in 25 states, including not just wind but solar, nuclear and gas.
“Part of our growth going forward is in continued development of wind power,” he said. “We have a number of wind turbines already in (Minnesota) that we own and operate.
“We view Minnesota as a potential location for additional wind development,” he added. “We view a number of states in the Midwest and throughout the Plains states as good opportunities for additional wind development.”
5 February 2008
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