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New Ulm enters into wind energy agreement

A proposed wind project in Lafayette township was met by substantial legal hurdles.Fox Mankato’s Ryan Gustafson tells us how the city of New Ulm has decided to get their fix of wind power.Going all the way back to May of 2008, a wind farm to be constructed by the New Ulm Public Utilities Commission has met resistance by nearby landowners, and the decisions of state regulatory commissions.Stymied by the resistance, but still seeking to add wind to their power grid, the city went another route.Patrick Wrase says, “Elected to move forward with an offer from Heartland Consumers Power District who is our major supplier of energy right now. So we’ve entered into a 20 year contract that has been amended for this wind energy to step up.”That has upped New Ulm’s wind usage to 11 percent of their current electrical demand. In 2019, they expect that number to increase to 24 percent.That would put the city in line with requirements for the private sector, a move they expect to happen any time now.Wrase says, “We fully expect a state or federal mandate will come forward at some point in time. We at the public utilities commission tried to meet the state standard, that, that was a worthwhile goal and would prepare us for changing green energy requirements into the future.”The New Ulm PUC lost out on some investment. They expect to take down the meteorological tower they put up to test the efficiency of the original site.And they believe it could have brought a positive local impact.Wrase says, “The benefits of that local project was keeping dollars local. Tens of thousands of dollars and it is unfortunate in our view that we could have kept that money locally but instead it’s going to South Dakota.”Ryan Gustafson, the Fox Mankato News at Nine.