The Willmar Planning Commission on Wednesday night approved a conditional use permit for the Willmar Municipal Utilities to erect two wind turbines on Willmar School District property north of the Senior High School.
Information on the turbine project was presented by Wes Hompe, utilities’ staff electrical engineer. The commission’s action will be forwarded to the City Council on Monday night in the minutes of the commission’s meeting.
The minutes will be considered under the council’s consent agenda.
The Willmar School Board approved a lease in January to allow the utilities to erect the turbines.
The Internal Revenue Service has approved $5 million in interest-free financing under the Clean Renewable Energy Bond program for half of the estimated $9.5 million to $10 million cost of the two turbines.
Also, utilities officials hope to erect two turbines on land near Ridgewater College.
Utilities officials have said the turbines will help Willmar comply with state renewable energy requirements. By 2025, all utilities – except for a few municipals – will be required to have at least 25 percent of energy needs met by renewable sources.
Wind studies indicate the four turbines could generate up to 10 megawatts of power, providing up to approximately 9 percent of Willmar’s electrical needs.
By David Little
13 March 2008
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