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Windy Kenyon gets attention  

Another company has shown interest in harvesting wind from southwestern Goodhue County.

Officials from Clear Wind met with Kenyon area residents in March to discuss the possibility of putting up windmills in part of Kenyon Township.

The Minneapolis company is looking at a number of wind energy projects in Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska but “nothing is definitive” in this area, said Heather Wayne, Clear Wind project coordinator.

Goodhue County Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel, who represents the Kenyon area, said the wind farm would be relatively small – under 25 megawatts.

“I think wind energy is one piece of the puzzle and we’re getting quite a bit of it our way because there’s wind resources here,” Rechtzigel said.

Kenyon and Cherry Grove townships already are slated to become home to an 18.9 megawatt, nine-turbine wind farm operated by the company Kenyon Wind, LLC.

Construction on the $20 million farm was supposed to be begin last fall. As of Wednesday, no equipment had been moved to the site.

A call to John Daniels Jr., Kenyon Wind’s chief manager, was not returned as of press time.

Another company, Horizon Wind Energy, was given permission last year to construct a temporary meteorological test pole in Kenyon Township.

The 197-foot pole – which can remain on the site for up to five years – is on land owned by Lois Herrlich. It will provide a preliminary assessment of local wind sources.

Company officials are looking to garner four years of uninterrupted wind data but have not said whether they intend to build a wind farm in Goodhue County.

Not all residents are pleased that Goodhue County may become a wind farm hot spot.

A grassroots group called Citizens for Environmental Rights and Safety has fought Kenyon Wind’s nine-turbine farm from the beginning and, despite state approval of the project, still continues to battle construction of the wind farm.

Other residents, including Rechtzigel, see wind as the way of the future.

“Just like when the power lines or telephone lines went up, it’s just the way things are going,” he said. “The same thing is true with wind or cell towers. If we all want electricity to come to our home, these are things we have to put up with.”

The American Wind Energy Association announced last week that Minnesota has overtaken Iowa as the nation’s third-largest producer of wind energy, behind Texas and California.

The organization says Minnesota added 405 megawatts of wind power production last year and had 1,299 megawatts of wind energy at the end of 2007. That edged Iowa’s 1,271 megawatts.

Under legislation passed last year, Minnesota set a target of generating 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind by 2025.

“If we could all have it our perfect way we would get our energy from a source we would never have to look at or be around,” Rechtzigel said. “But that’s not the way the world works.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Jen Cullen

The Republican Eagle

10 April 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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