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RED WING – Hundreds of towering wind turbines might soon be sprinkled across the landscape in southeastern Minnesota, according to proposals filed with the Federal Aviation Administration in recent months.
The FAA has determined that at least three new wind projects pose “no hazard to air navigation” in what is believed to be a precursor to filing for a construction permit with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
The two smaller projects, which are being developed by National Wind, will be near Mantorville and Vernon, which is just east of Hayfield. They’re both phases of the High Country Energy project , which has been under development for about 3 years.
National Wind, which is also developing the controversial 50-turbine AWA Goodhue project in Goodhue County, has applied for 115 and 114 turbine site permits for the projects. For now, the company has filed documents calling for 479-foot-tall, 2-megawatt turbines, although company officials say that is not final.
There’s no current construction timeline, although the company may file for the PUC permit late in 2011, said Chuck Burdick, who is the lead developer on the AWA Goodhue project, and also is working on the Mantorville and Vernon projects.
The FAA filings were applied for “much earlier than necessary” because of potential FAA concerns with proximity to airports in Rochester and Dodge County, he said.
“It’s one of the permitting steps that we need to do before we can begin construction,” said Burdick, talking about the FAA filings. “It’s separate from but complementary to the public utilities (commission) process.”
Although both of those projects would be among the largest in the state, they pale in comparison to the third.
Horizon Wind, a Texas-based company, has applied for 223 turbine site permits that would span six cities and three counties. The 460-foot tall turbines are believed to be a part of what might be an enormous 500-megawatt project.
More than 100 of the turbines are sited in Goodhue County, while Dodge and Rice County are also involved. Read about it in Thursday’s print edition.
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